Leonora Tima

Gender Rights in Tech (GRIT)

What does your company do?

Gender Rights in Tech or GRIT (formally Kwanele - Bringing Women Justice) is a feminist-based NPO in the anti-gender-based violence space. Our mission is to enable access to justice for those experiencing violence through innovative technology, data-informed reporting, and capacity-building. We do this by leveraging co-created inclusive technology to offer comprehensive assistance and resources. The GRIT app is both data-free and free to use, making it accessible to a wider audience. It features a panic button linked to an armed response team for immediate emergency assistance. Additionally, the app includes a safe vault for secure storage of evidence related to GBV incidents, ensuring the safety and privacy of sensitive information. Zuzi, our generative AI chatbot integrated into the GRIT platforms, guides survivors through various processes in the justice system, sexual and reproductive health, and access to abortion services. This chatbot communicates in everyday language, making it easy to understand. It is integrated with WhatsApp and Facebook, ensuring widespread accessibility and user convenience. GRIT also operates a WhatsApp line that links survivors with necessary services, including medical, psychological, and legal support. This line connects users with a pro bono legal team that offers free legal assistance to help survivors navigate their journey to justice, including in-court support. Beyond these direct support services, GRIT is actively involved in advocacy and lobbying for policy changes related to GBV. GRIT aims to influence and change policies by engaging in these efforts and creating a safer and more supportive environment for survivors.

What is your biggest success?

Our biggest success has been the successful launch and national deployment of the GRIT app, along with the beta deployment of the Zuzi chatbot. Zuzi has facilitated over 1,000 test conversations nationwide, providing invaluable insights and support to users. We are proud to have won the Mozilla Responsible AI Challenge and to be recipients of the Bill and Melinda Gates Grand Challenge for Ethical AI. Additionally, we have provided over 1,000 hours of legal advice through our services, significantly impacting the lives of many in need. These achievements highlight our commitment to leveraging technology for social good and supporting vulnerable communities.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

Our biggest hurdle has been addressing the digital divide and varying levels of technological literacy in South Africa. Ensuring our technology is user-friendly and secure while protecting user privacy has been a significant challenge. The varying levels of tech literacy make it difficult to strike a balance between security and usability, often requiring innovative solutions to ensure that our services are accessible to all users, regardless of their familiarity with technology. Overcoming these challenges remains a continuous effort as we strive to make our platform as inclusive and effective as possible.