Anti-crime App up and running

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By Neo Kolane

In an effort to address community governance and peace building challenges which lead to incidents of crime and human safety within communities, the UNDP Lesotho Accelerator Lab designed and developed a mobile application lab called Lehokela.

Lehokela App came as result of solution mapping undertaken by the UNDP Lesotho Accelerator Lab in communities of Mafeteng in 2019. The solutions mapping is one of the important pillars within the Accelerator Lab process, used to identify community solutions to existing or future development challenges, through observation, collective intelligence and research methodologies.

The results are used for learning and to inform decisions on potential experimentation within the Lab. Mafeteng was the first districts identified to explore development challenges and solutions for learning within the Lesotho Accelerator Lab. 

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The concept was developed in December 2019, with preparations for development in 2020. However, due to challenges of COVID-19 the development stage was delayed, and was only completed in September 2020. The App is currently being piloted in Tṧakholo communities to gather stakeholder feedback, learning and insights which may influence design and requirements for scaling.

In an interview with theReporter, ‘Mabula Tsuene, the programme specialist of UNDP’s Strategy and Policy Unit, stated the app is currently not accessible to the public, except the selected members of communities participating in this pilot phase. UNDP and LMPS are currently working on the requirements for roll out.

“The experimental process only enrolled about 50 people in Tṧakholo including two police personnel overlooking its usage. The evidence generated from this phase, will enable UNDP, NUL and LMPS to refine the deployment strategies with possible enrolment of additional communities,” she explained.

The App is expected to benefit Basotho, by enabling real-time reporting of crime alerts in communities.  This will be carried out by members of the community notifying community structures like Mahokela for immediate response, while the same notifying nearby to Police.

“It will assist in opening a broader whistleblowing support on crime incident cases under investigation, working with the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS).

“Moreover, it will enhance community governance by enabling registration of community membership to harness local governance protocols of livelihoods and domestic migration,” she explained.

And lastly it will help Basotho by initiating digital strategy and opening possibilities of keeping robust crime statistics reports

UNDP also collaborated with the LMPS who provided technical guidance on the community policing procedures and practices to ensure effectiveness of the App.

“As an ongoing development, there are other a number possible expansion modules to this App, which will be considered following the pilot and subsequent editions,” Tsuene added.

UNDP has also partnered with Econet Telecom Lesotho which has provided free network and internet access through zero-rating process on the application and ongoing pilot with the Tsakholo communities.