In August, Microsoft South Africa announced an initiative to use technology to address gender-based violence (GBV) in the for of its [email protected] hackathon.

Earlier this week, the initiative reached its conclusion, with a panel of local technology experts and media listening to a handful of the best entrants presentations, and naming a winner.

That winner was Combat against GBV, which developed a fit-for-purpose, technology-based solution designed to protect vulnerable women and children and give them a safer way to reach out for help.

With an estimated 40 percent-plus of South African women experiencing sexual and/or physical interpersonal violence in their lifetime, it’s clear that solutions like Combat against GBV, as well as the others that participated in the [email protected] hackathon, are much needed. 

The South African hackathon, which has run since August, has been incredibly successful and we have seen a wealth of creative and sustainable ideas from our developer teams who have grappled with the unique issues and challenges surrounding gender-based violence in South Africa,” noted Lillian Barnard, MD of Microsoft South Africa.

“The winning solution takes these into account and is a solution that the judges agreed would effectively be able to help South Africa’s most vulnerable and at-risk,” she added.

Further explaining why Combat against GBV won, the panel says that it clearly met the criteria for the hackathon – feasibility, creativity, quality of prototype, and desirability.

“Technology plays a big role in assisting women and children instantly, and it is vital that these technology-based solutions are accessible to the people who need it and when they need it most to make a difference. Using technology to prevent more violence, abuse and deaths is definitely a step in the right direction,” highlighted Mara Glennie, founder and director at TEARS Foundation, one of the NGO partners for the hackathon. 

“Technology provides numerous opportunities to help keep women and children ‘[email protected]’, and I’m looking forward to exploring these possibilities with the winning solution as well as working together with Microsoft and our other partners to continue tackling gender-based violence in South Africa,” added Tina Thiart, founder of 1000 Women, another NGO partner.

Combat against GBV was not the only winner on the day, with iWitness claiming second place, and Report Matters coming in third place.

To find out more about the solutions, as well as the [email protected] initiative, head here.