Uber today announces a partnership with Soul City Institute, a leading social justice organisation for young women and girls in South Africa. The partnership is aimed at preventing and mitigating sexual assault against women and girls in the community.
Uber and Soul City will be hosting a series of listening tours across South Africa, together with other experts and advocates in this space, culminating in the launch of a new set of transformative content for Uber employees, driver-partners and riders in South Africa.
According to StatsSA, 21% of women over the age of 18 reported that they have experienced violence, with 6% reporting sexual violence. As frightening as these statistics are, it is believed the numbers are in fact much higher as under-reporting of gender-based violence (GBV) is deeply entrenched in South African culture.
The partnership with Soul City reinforces Uber’s commitment to raise awareness about sexual norms and challenge social norms in order to make a meaningful contribution to prevent it. Our partners – experts in this space – tell us that information, dialogue and transformative programmes that challenge social norms can help prevent this societal issue.
“As engaged members of the communities we serve, working with Soul City Institute to raise awareness and prevent sexual harassment in South Africa is a priority for us. We want to be part of the solution and I am proud that our team, together with Soul City, will continue to develop, collaborate and launch initiatives and programmes to help drive social change in South Africa,” said Alon Lits, Uber General Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Soul City is very pleased to be working with Uber in South Africa, and we are hoping that our joint efforts will help protect women and girls against GBV and bring the change that we would like to see in our everyday life. This collaboration is not only a foundation to safer transport for everyone, but also a great model for other companies and businesses to follow. We are hoping our work together will reach the 12 000-active driver-partners using the Uber app in South Africa as well as the 969 000 active riders relying on Uber in SA for safe, reliable and affordable rides,” says Lebo Ramafoko, Soul City Institute’s CEO.
Uber announced a campaign in the United States to drive awareness and prevention of sexual assault and domestic violence to millions. This campaign includes partnerships and funding through leading global and US organisations like Raliance, NNEDV, NO MORE, Women of Color Network, Inc., Casa de Esperanza, A Call to Men, and The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programmes. Some of the initiatives that have already been implemented include:
- Providing important information to drivers and riders – Utilising Uber’s global scope, scale and technology to engage millions of riders and drivers on awareness and prevention.
- Executive leadership training – Engaged its executive leadership team in sensitivity training facilitated by experts from the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence and NNEDV.
- Specialised training for customer support agents – Worked with partners to develop and offer world class training to agents that reflects collective wisdom in this space and imparts understanding of this societal issue while building empathy.
- New internal corporate commitment for employees – Joined the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence to develop and adopt updated internal commitments and procedures that appropriately assist employees who might need our help in this global epidemic.
“Our goal has been to listen and learn so that we are better equipped to make changes that matter,” said Tracey Breeden, head of Global Safety Communications at Uber. “These initiatives would not have been possible without the insight and guidance from our partners and members of our Safety Advisory Board.”
Uber will continue to develop, collaborate and launch initiatives in the coming months in an effort to drive change. Some of these initiatives include facilitating training for permanent staff that are based at Uber’s Greenlight Hubs/offices and education, hosting global listening tours to capture feedback and concerns from local community organisations, continuing to engage on internal speaker series, and volunteerism.
Uber’s mission is to help people get a ride at the push of a button – everywhere and for everyone. We started in 2009 to solve a simple problem – how do you get a ride at the touch of a button? Eight years and over two billion trips later, we’ve started tackling an even greater challenge: reducing congestion and pollution in our cities by getting more people into fewer cars.
The Uber network is now available in over 600 cities in over 75 countries spanning 6 continents. To request a ride, users must download the free application for Android, iPhone, Blackberry 7, or register for Uber at www.uber.com/go. For questions visit www.uber.com