Girls Code to Walk Freely in Kosovo

Canadian Ambassador Daniel Maksymiuk presented certificates to the girls who have developed the app.

In Kosovo, 47% of people are subject to harassment but from 2013-14, only 7 cases were reported.

In Kosovo a lot of women who experience harassment don’t go report it directly to the police, because the police may not take one incident of harassment on the street so seriously. If we have more reports, I believe they’ll take it more seriously.”
–Walk Freely Programmer, Albana Dulaj

To address the issue of under reported gender-based violence, the Canadian Embassy to Croatia, through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, supported the development of an app “Ec Shlirë,” which means “Walk Freely” in English. The Embassy was proud to help fund this initiative in collaboration with the U.S. Agency for International Development, Kosovo’s Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, and R.I.T./A.U.K.

Walk Freely: an anonymous way to report sexual harassment

Walk Freely is designed to improve the institutional response to sexual harassment through data-driven and evidence-based decision-making, and increase youth engagement through new technologies.

Leveraging the high potential of digitally connected populations around the world, Open Data Kosovo partnered with Women’s Network Kosovo, Girls Coding Kosovo, and the Kosovo police to develop Walk Freely. Young women learned practical skills to develop the application during eight days of computer tech workshops over four months.  The two most promising participants were given internships as a result.

The workshops provided the young women with skills to help gain employment in the technology sector. The development of Walk Freely helped address the lack of women in Kosovo’s workforce. According to a study conducted by Democracy for Development, in Kosovo only one in ten women has a job and another one in ten is looking for one. Encouraging young women to code can help achieve equal employment between young men and women.

The app is free on Android’s Play Store and enables anyone in the world to report sexual harassment of all kinds anonymously and efficiently. This app provides a clear reporting mechanism to encourage men and women to report harassment, and to demonstrate that reporting will bring about change in society.

The app will make guys think twice before harassing anyone. And also, women can learn from this. Because they should not support guys and say, 'Oh, harassment, it’s nothing, it’s a casual thing.'”
– Walk Freely Programmer, Vjosa Preniqi

Canada is proud to support this project that addresses the inter-related problems of sexual harassment, a lack of reporting mechanisms, and young women’s high unemployment.

Snapshots of young women working to develop Walk Freely.
 

Girls gain skills to develop Walk Freely.
 

How a part of the app looks like.