Namma Chennai has always been considered safe when compared to other metropolitan cities of India, but is it for real? As part of the 70th Independence Day celebrations of India, the non-profit ogranisation AWARE is teaming up with the mobile and web app Safetipin, to rate how safe the city is. Sandhiyan, the founder of the NGO AWARE, which works for gender equality, child rights and women safety has organised a new initiative as a part of their #nomorenirbhaya campaign.
To analyse the safety of each neighbourhood in the city, the NGO invites female and male volunteers to come out at nights as small groups and rate the area. The rating will be based on the nine parameters (eight objective elements and one subjective element) set by Safetipin.
“The primary parameters are lighting present at dark hours, proximity to public transport in the area, the crowd present on the walk paths at night, security and police patrolling in the neighbourhood and visibility,” shares Sonia from Safetipin. Having already conducted safety audits in 45 cities across 10 countries, the team at Safetipin submits all the data received to the government.
“We share the data with the government officials and Public Works Department. Streets with improper lighting or less security is identified and given due attention. Since we involve the public in this and it is an evidence-based data, the government officials trust it too. We give a safety score to each city thereby helping the government to provide better facilities to the public,” Sonia reveals.
Ensuring that the women who participate in the audits are safe and protected, Janani, a volunteer at AWARE says, “We educate the participants with a 20-minute presentation before they head out. We also organise free self-defense sessions called Empower, to protect themselves in case of emergencies — and since they head out in small groups in their own/familiar areas, they are absolutely safe!”
Adding to the statement Sonia says, “Safetipin also has the option of the safest route and the GPS continuously keeps tracking the movement of those who are part of the audit. You can track your team members easily. No one is allowed to walk solo; therefore the safety of the women is guaranteed.”
With the pilot audit beginning in Chromepet on August 15, the participants who are residents of the area or those who are very familiar with the area will walk to assess if the area is intimidating or not. It is an open invite to all Chennaiites. The main objective is to share the results obtained to the stakeholders and thereby make the city safer.
“We need to make this movement big so that by 2020, we become the safest and most gender-empowered city to set an example,” concludes Sandhiyan.
Is the street you live in, safe at daylight and dark? How about that road you walk to get to your street? Or that kurukku sandhu that gets you to your home faster?
There are bigger plans, to tackle intimidating spaces. Help rebuild the pride saying that namma Chennai is safe!