Omowumi is a legal practitioner whose best friend was raped at the age of 12, and lost her life in the course of procuring an abortion when there were no effective channels to report and access legal, medical, and trauma counseling services. Omowumi later came to realize that her friend’s death could have been avoided, when she found herself in the same situation. Thankfully though, Omowumi had a channel to report to through a family support system. Her survival inspired her to start Gender Mobile to fill in the gap in existing interventions in sexual and domestic violence cases.
Gender Mobile is based in Nigeria where the UN reports 23% of women had reported experiencing physical or sexual violence from a previous husband. The same study revealed that 17.3% of women had experienced such violence from a relative. Such issues are sadly also reflected in the younger population of Nigeria, with one in four girls experience some form of violence. Concerningly, of those children who reported experiencing violence, less than 5% received any support.
To help combat these statistics, Gender Mobile manages a 24/7 dedicated mobile telephone helpline and a web platform where potential victims and survivors can reach specialised agents, ready to provide the required help for a variety of victims’ and survivors’ cases. Gender Mobile earns money primarily through the use of their helpline, which they can provide thanks to funding from nine different agencies and non-governmental organisations who leverage their call centre infrastructure.
Omowumi participated in the 2018 yher Africa program and was awarded $10,000AUD to expand their services, work towards proof of concept and develop their financial sustainability. They have so far reached more than 3,500 women and girls through their service.
This year, Gender Mobile is developing a mobile app dedicated to bringing their services to schools and campuses across the country. Additionally, in response to COVID-19, the Gender Mobile team have developed a contactless hand washing device and leveraged their call centre to provide food to vulnerable women and children during this time.
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