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UWC students’ app makes campus safer

Four female University of the Western Cape (UWC) students have designed a Sistahood Watch app to address safety, health and security challenges for women on campus.

The four BCom Information Systems students - Janine Anthony, Sibabalwe Kweza, Noluthando Ntshaba, and Yandisa Citwa, known as the Sistahood - believe that technology can be used to empower women and help them live better lives.

“Women have to endure unhealthy feelings of fear in our society, and that drove us to initiate this idea,” says Citwa. “Where can we go if we don’t even feel safe at home? So we put our minds together and the Sistahood Watch app was born.”

Their app makes a significant contribution to women and their everyday concerns with safety.
The app has an SOS button that will be linked to campus security and connect to GPS via data, wi-fi and airtime.

"We plan on giving campus security a device that alerts them to an emergency whenever female students tap on the SOS button,” says Citwa.

There are also tabs for multiple channels on the app’s homepage, such as the “Help A Sista Out” icon that leads to a donations corner.

“If any lady needs an essential item like sanitary pads or food, she can speak out to the other ladies or to an admin person anonymously,” Ntshaba notes. "Then other ladies or our funder could donate those essentials.

“There’s also a “Sistahood Rocks ICT Network” tab, where we upload the latest trends, articles, tech devices, and so on,” she adds, “where we can keep each other updated about the industry and opportunities that arise.”

Some of the other tabs installed on the app include:

  •     Safety Net
  •     Speak Out
  •     #WomenInCharge

The app is still in the developmental stages, but their hope is not just to have it available on all campuses, but eventually in all communities where women are most at risk.

“Rape  is still one of most pressing problems in our country,” says Citwa, “and it can destroy a woman’s life and confidence; it can break them down completely. If we can do something to stop that...how can we not?”

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