Nwoya District Local Government has embarked on tracking and digitising gender-based violence (GBV) cases across the district, Daily Monitor has learnt.
The initiative was compelled by the surging number of cases during lockdown and it is the first time the district is introducing a formal record management system for GBV.
The district community development officer (CDO), Mr Joseph Komakec, at the weekend, said a prototype of an interactive web-based dashboard to track cases has been built and that the necessary data is being fed into the system.
Mr Komakec said a budget has been approved by the district to procure smartphones and other associated gadgets for the sub-county community development officers to document and submit the records to feed into the database.
"Until recently, we did not have any organised records about GBV because sub-county CDOs did not bother to gather information for submission. Whenever stakeholders demanded them, we simply referred them to police but with this digital platform, we are sure to revolutionise everything," he said.
To build the website, the district partnered with Handle Uganda, a local non-governmental organisation to secure the services of Patira Data Science, a US-based data firm to carry out the design.
Mr Komakec noted that many cases of assault resulting from such violence went unsolved as follow-ups were not made due to lack of records.
"At times we get reports on GBV but we cannot track these cases due to transport and financial constraints," he said.
Since the lockdown in March, the district has registered more than 560 GBV cases, with sexual crimes against juveniles and women topping the list.
In Purongo and Anaka sub-counties, hardly a week goes without a case of defilement being filed at Purongo Police Post, unlike before lockdown when there would be months without any case recorded.
How it works
The digital platform classifies data per sub-county and accommodates every category of violence related to GBV.
It also helps in identifying hotspot areas for GBV, most affected gender and age groups, as well as determine what type of resources are needed to address the problem.
To ensure effective case management and referral of cases, the platform offers a multi-level stakeholder approach that engages different offices, including the district probation and social welfare offices, police and other justice actors as required. Under the initiative, the district with the support from the partner organisations, has made an effort to put in place the GBV clusters, as well as community structures to report GBV cases, and empowered the local authorities and the police to handle GBV cases.
Mr Richard Okwera, a data scientist with Patira Data Science, said every case fed onto the platform must have every detail, including telephone contacts of the victim.
"Every social welfare officer, village and sub-county chairpersons, CDos and probation officers will be educated on this as they will be the ones to collect and coordinate the data," Mr Okwera explained.
To submit the information collected, the CDOs will need smartphones or tablets through which the information is sent to the district digitally.
"In our budget for this financial year, we plan to buy smartphones for all our CDOs at the sub-county. At the district level, the Ministry of Gender already gave us tablets," Mr Komakec revealed.
Mr Stephen Oryema, a programme manager at Handle Uganda said sexual and GBV remain a challenge across the district because the pandemic has forced many to become jobless and unproductive.
"Last month (August), Anaka Town Council recorded 25 cases when the district started collecting data for the project," he said.