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🌊 Ending Gender Violence

🌊 Ending Gender Violence
By Open Water Weekly • Issue #26 • View online
My name is Jacob Peddicord and I’m the Editor at Open Water Accelerator. Today we have an interview with Cynthia Phan, Project Manager at SafeUP, a company combating gender violence with a personal safety app. The app connects you to a network of safety guardians you can talk to if you feel unsafe. SafeUP is an amazing example of a mission-driven company succeeding by investing in their community.
Takeaways
  1. 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 Build a community, not just an app.
  2. ✊ Align your mission with powerful movements.
  3. 👮‍♀️ Invest in thorough community vetting processes.

Cynthia Phan Interview🗣️ 
What is SafeUp’s ultimate vision?
Our ultimate vision is for every woman in the world to feel safer in their everyday life. We want SafeUP to create powerful networks of women safety guardians in every community, so women can be comfortable everywhere and anywhere, 24/7, knowing that there are other women always looking out for them.
Currently, in the US we have over 10,000 community members from more than 40 states. Women have testified that SafeUP saved them from being robbed or hurt, as guardians came to assist them in times of danger and discomfort. Having experienced these real results, we know our vision of a safer world is realistic, and we can achieve trusted communities of women in every corner of the world.
How do you convey trust to your users through design?
SafeUP is a unique platform because we value trust and community. Therefore, every woman or non-man who joins the app must undergo a personal verification process conducted by a real member of our internal team. We understand that it can be difficult to imagine women connecting with women they’ve never met before, so we make it a point to get to know each user before they join our community.
Once a user is invited in, if they are 18+, they can then decide whether or not to undergo Guardian Training and be able to answer safety calls and assist women in distress. Within the app, a user’s location and information are never shared with others unless she explicitly allows for it for safety purposes. Our number one priority is to make SafeUP a family and a safe place for women to turn to when they need support or help.
What community-building strategies have been successful?
We’ve been able to connect with women a lot through social media, especially during the pandemic. Recently, there have been feminist social movements online, and we’ve been able to connect with women who’ve felt their voices and pain aren’t being heard or addressed. Our hearts go out to them, and as a group of women ourselves, we can share in others’ struggles and experiences and relate with our own stories. In Israel, we have a very close Facebook group sharing women’s news and personal stories, and we often even meet at protests or rallies in person. It’s amazing to see how the SafeUP community is more than just an app; it’s a movement of women who are fighting for gender equality.
How do you protect your users from bad actors using the service?
When someone downloads and registers for the app, they must go through a personal verification process run by a real team member before they can make safety calls or train to answer safety calls. This verification process ensures that the community is safe, trusted, and only consists of women and non-men. Using business intelligence, our team diligently approves users to join their communities and take part in ensuring safety. At the forefront of our mission is the safety of our users and communities, so we take every application very seriously and we are consistently working on monitoring the security of our communities and the well-being of our users.
10 years from now, what will be SafeUp’s legacy?
SafeUP’s legacy is the dreams, achievements, and power of the women who make up our communities. Ultimately, our legacy is not only how we connect women to keep each other safe, but also how we inspire women to achieve their potential and know that they have the ability to make a difference for all women. Every member of our community, whether she’s a guardian, a user, or a volunteer, is contributing to and fighting for an ideal world where every woman is safe, respected, and empowered. In 10 years, our legacy will be every woman whose life was uplifted, saved, or spared from trauma because of SafeUP, and we will be proud of what we built and what we are a part of.
Internships 🖥️
Curated by Hridhay Suresh
💼 Listen MBA Application - A bit about the role: this program is a 10-12 week paid summer internship with the option to continue into the 2021-2022 school year. The internship can be remote or in-office (we’re located in Chicago).
🌎 Fifty Years Fellowship - The ideal candidate is genuinely passionate about finding a way to make a deep impact on the world through science and technology and is comfortable working independently in a fast-paced environment. 
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