Microsoft SA launches [email protected] hackathon to address GBV with tech

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Earlier today Microsoft South Africa held a media briefing to discuss one of the initiatives it will be launching during Women’s Month – [email protected] This initiative will take the form of a hackathon aimed at finding technology solutions to address the growing issue of gender-based violence in the country.

Registrations for the hackathon open today, with the virtual portion of the project running from 22nd September to 19th October.

Microsoft SA has also partnered with two local NGOs, 1000 Women Trust and TEARS Foundation, in order to ensure that the solutions presented and developed will be fit for purpose.

“Gender-based violence is one of the most pressing and critical challenges South Africa faces: President Cyril Ramaphosa identified it as the second pandemic our country is currently battling and a war that is being waged against our women and children, with over 40% of South African women experiencing sexual and/or physical interpersonal violence in their lifetime,” notes Lillian Barnard, MD of Microsoft South Africa.

“Violence against women and children is escalating under the current circumstances, with many South Africans confined to their homes. This indicates a clear need to take action to address gender-based violence in South Africa,” adds Tina Thiart, founder of 1000 Women.

In the latter stages of the hackathon, Microsoft SA says its intention is for winning idea to be developed into a full application that will be deployed to support women across South Africa who need help. The firm adds that the top three teams also stand a chance to win cash prizes, with the winners being announced on 26th October.

“Our goal is to find real, sustainable solutions to help South Africa’s most vulnerable and at-risk.  Ensuring that we are able to build these kinds of fit-for-purpose technology-based solutions will require partnerships with developers, NGOs in the gender-based violence space like TEARS Foundation and 1000 Women, government, corporate South Africa and other technology players,” explains Barnard.

“Together, we will provide the support needed as we call on developers across the country to come together, understand the issues surrounding gender-based violence, and create and develop technology-based solutions that can help save lives,” she concludes.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.