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WARIF tackles gender-based violence in Nigeria with mobile SMS platform

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Dr. Kemi DaSilva

One year after launching a pioneering SMS service used by traditional birth attendants to fight gender-based violence in Nigeria, Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF) is doubling down in her efforts to help vulnerable populations in rural Nigeria.

WARIF founder, Dr. Kemi DaSilva, says: “By having a platform to identify, report and address the pressing issues or rape, human trafficking and other forms of violence against women and girls, we are raising awareness that there are organisations such as ours that can provide valuable services to support victims.”

WARIF is a non-profit organisation that combats gender-based violence against women and girls in Nigeria. In 2019, WARIF partnered with SAP and incorporated the SAP People Connect 365 mobile service into its Gatekeepers project. The organisation has since trained over 500 traditional birth attendants from 15 local government areas in Lagos State to use the software. Many users report cases in real time, allowing quicker responses from healthcare teams.

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“We are getting active cases faster, allowing us to intervene more quickly and in real-time, which we couldn’t do before,” says DaSilva. “We are also receiving positive feedback from traditional birth attendants as well as the women and girls they have helped.”

Gender-based violence is a major concern in Nigeria. According to a study by the UN and the Nigerian government, 28 per cent of Nigerian women aged 25 to 29 have experienced some form of physical violence since age 15.

To ensure its mobile platform met the needs of healthcare providers working in remote communities, WARIF participated in a series of design thinking workshops with SAP. Rohit Tripathi, Head of Products and Go-To-Market at SAP Digital Interconnect, which worked closely with WARIF, says: “We made certain that birth attendants, regardless of where they are, could easily access this service without having to compromise on any of the functionalities. This also helped us enhance the service.”

Aside from the stigma associated with gender-based violence, healthcare providers in Nigeria also battle cultural norms. “The perpetrator is usually well-known and might even be a family member,” says DaSilva. “Many families and communities in Nigeria don’t discuss these issues out of concern for protecting the dignity of the family name, instead of making sure the young survivor receives adequate care.”

SAP People Connect 365 mobile service is a text-messaging platform that fosters ongoing conversations among healthcare providers and others across WARIF’s education and community service programmes.

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Dr. Kemi DaSilvaWARIF
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