The Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) took a significant step in the fight against gender-based violence (GBV) with the launch of a "Distress App". 

This initiative aims to provide crucial support and assistance to individuals facing GBV incidents.

The app, named the Distress Application (D-App), holds special significance as it was launched in memory of Delia Maasdorp, whose tragic death earlier this month shook the nation. 

Maasdorp, aged 40, served as the executive director of research, innovation, and partnership at the university.

The launch ceremony was graced by Minister of Justice Yvonne Dausab, who emphasised the importance of such technological solutions in combating GBV while also calling on the media to play an inclusive role in curbing GBV.

"Now more than ever, we must stand together in solidarity to confront all forms of GBV and femicide head-on. We cannot afford to remain complacent in the face of such senseless brutality. It is only through collective action and unwavering determination that we can hope to effect meaningful change."

nbc 's Namibia Connects spoke to Nust Director of Research and Partnership, Dr. Anna Matroos-Goreses, who provided insights into the prototype app and its functionalities. 

While the app is currently in its initial phase and not yet fully operational, it will be made available to the public, free of charge, once its development is complete.

"To improve the response time if someone is in need, for instance, the critical thing is for people to trust the app because whatever information is set into the app is confidential and that the people will feel safe using it."

Key features of the D-App include access to counselling support, educational resources, and an emergency reporting function. 

Dr. Matroos-Goreses highlighted that the app's response is tailored to the type of distress reported, directing users to appropriate authorities, such as the Ministry of Gender Equality, the Namibian Police (NamPol), or counselling professionals.

The Namibian police reported 10,478 cases of GBV.

This marked a significant increase when compared to the 5,122 cases recorded between 2020 and July 2021, highlighting the urgency of addressing this societal challenge.

As the D-App moves closer to its full launch, it holds promise as a crucial resource in the ongoing fight against GBV, offering support and protection to those in need across Namibia.

Indeed, Helini Onesmus, Lena William, Frieda Amadhila, Chriszelda Kawarie, Berverly |Nanus, and countless others have not been forgotten.



Johanna !Uri#khos