Innovation through collaboration – How women led startups, blue chip brands and NGOs are breaking down barriers to deliver on SDGs

11 Apr 2019 13:15h - 14:00h

Event report


This session showcased a case study of WanderSafe and its progress in how startups and NGOs in ICT can partner with private sector companies to achieve great things. WanderSafe is a social impact company that is democratising safety by creating a free safety mapping system with the help of legacy data. Its mission is to reach a billion lives by 2020 said Ms Stephenie Rodriguez (CEO and Founder WanderSafe). ‘We are here at WSIS as we are seeking data partnerships and NGOs with whom we can collaborate for pilots in countries’, she added in her introductory speech.

Women-led startups receive less than 2% of the global pool of venture capital yet are vital to the achievement of the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs). So partners from CrimeStoppers International and the SWAT (Sports World Against Trafficking) league participated in the session to talk about the movement to reduce human trafficking, fight violent crime against women and vulnerable people and empower people to go anywhere better and safer.

The concept of Crime Stoppers originated 40 years go in the USA and since then moved to The Hague as partnerships grew with European agencies, Interpol, etc., making the role of partners more relevant said Mr Devrol Dupigny (COO CrimeStoppers International). To mobilise the world, partnerships between public and private entities with NGOs and the social sector are necessary through forums like WSIS.

While working with NGOs, the language barrier is rather evident. Reading and writing and particularly English was out of reach and hence Ms Maria Calibo-Sales (CEO and Founder Calmar Corps UNAA Partner) used ICT and technology devices to draw stories and data from the communities. They also found that the ‘tap in’ of women in data collection is far more profound than others. Hence, Calibo-Sales personally feels more inclined to introduce more women to technology and share their data collection and storytelling skills through video, etc.

In her experience, while working with NATO and other UN agencies Ms Tracey Regimbal (WanderSafe Global Ambassador) came across gender inequality speaking to SDG 5. For instance in Jamaica, men were more educated while women studied just up to Grade 4. But while they succeeded in educating women more they failed to recognise the dichotomy and hence lost out on promoting education for men still leaving some inequality. Hence Regimbal believes that any initiative should be looked at as part of the big picture and not in silos.

Mr Paulo Taylor (CTO and Co-Founder WanderSafe and JOZU for WOMEN INC) said: ‘The biggest problem is quality of data. Although we hear about open data, it is not always in the right format that can be used for analysis and certainly greater partnerships with the UN and other agencies to gather data that is consistent will help us build the map of crime out there.’ Taylor also said that the artificial intelligence (AI) learning and machine models that they are building at WanderSafe will serve better results if this happens and will help make the world a safer place.


By Mili Semlani