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  2. Dr Lara Schibelsky G Piccolo

Dr Lara Schibelsky G Piccolo

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Externally funded projects

Gendering a smart community: an integrated support system for tackling gender-based violence in Sierra Leone
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Co-investigator11 Mar 202111 Mar 2022Royal Academy of Engineering

This project engages with the smart community agenda in the context of women’s safety and gender-based violence (GBV), by connecting and empowering gender organisations with a curated digital platform to transform the quality of women and girls in significant and positive ways in Sierra Leone. GBV is a major public health problem affecting the health, safety and livelihoods of 70 percent of women and their limited roles in building inclusive and smart communities in Sierra Leone. Manual evidence gathering and referral systems along with the lack of a well-coordinated multisectoral collaboration, communication and data management systems impede effective response to GBV, resource mobilisation and women's access to timely services, learning materials and support. New and innovative strategies involving the use of appropriate technologies to address these challenges are needed. Digital technologies such as mobile and internet solutions are recognised as essential drivers for tackling gender-based violence, with significant potential to strengthen the decision-making process, enhance the support care and provide effective routes for GBV survivors’ safety. The aim of this project is to take advantage of these technologies to develop an integrated user-designed technology support system (ITSS) to assist efforts to combat GBV through improving evidence gathering, communication, data sharing and coordination between the healthcare, police and support service providers. The project will bring together an interdisciplinary team and potential users in a collaborative way to design the ITSS. Project activities will include: i) an exploratory phase to understand the socio-technical contexts, challenges, technology needs and facilitators; ii) analysis phase to develop the requirements needed for creating the digital solutions to assist GBV response and prevention efforts; iii) conceptual engineering design phase to develop a prototype of a proof of concept solution; and iv) feasibility analysis phase to assess the usability and potential for learning, scalability and sustainability of the application. Our approach will lay the foundations for strong partnerships and provide critical learning for collaborative technology designed solutions in developing countries