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Sage South Africa Newsroom

AI-powered smart companion, rAInbow, wins Innovating Justice Challenge

rAInbow recognised for helping victims of domestic abuse to understand their rights and access justice

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA, 12 November 2019Sage (FTSE: SGE), the market leader for cloud business management solutions, today announced that rAInbow, an artificial intelligence (AI) powered smart companion supporting victims of domestic violence, has won the Southern Africa Regional Finals of the Hague Institute for Innovation of Law’s (HiiL’s) Innovating Justice Challenge.

The challenge recognises and promotes innovation in accessing justice for millions of people, improvements to the justice system, and help resolving problems in daily lives. The Regional Finals, which took place on 7 November 2019, honoured solutions that help people prevent or resolve a pressing justice need. rAInbow does just that.

One of Sage Foundation’s signature programmes, Sage Empowering Women, supports NPOs and social enterprises to bring equality and access to justice to women across the world. As founding partner, Sage Foundation worked with AI for Good and the Soul City Institute for Social Justice to develop rAInbow, which aims to democratise access to information and support for victims of domestic violence, as well as their friends and family. It can be accessed anonymously via Facebook Messenger and provides a safe space for domestic violence victims to access information about their rights and support options in friendly, simple language. It was launched first in South Africa, with plans to expand its reach.

rAInbow was part of a pitch competition, up against eight other innovations that help people access justice. The jury was made up of international experts, including community paralegals, investors, government officials, and civil society. Also in attendance was John Jeffery, Deputy Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development; Han Peters, Ambassador for the Kingdom of The Netherlands; and Maricia Froneman, from the Thuli Madonsela Foundation, who moderated a panel discussion on how innovation can address the scourge of gender-based violence.

rAInbow will now participate in the Justice Accelerator programme at HiiL’s head office in The Hague, The Netherlands.

“We are thrilled to receive this award after an amazing week of learning and connecting with Africa’s best innovators, who are on a mission to bring justice to everyone,” says Joanne Van der Walt, Director at Sage Foundation. “The award comes one year after rAInbow’s official launch. During this time, rAInbow has facilitated over 720,000 conversations with over 15,000 users, and we now better understand attitudes towards, and behaviours stimulating, domestic violence. This valuable insight helps us to improve the service and advice that rAInbow provides victims, so that they can be empowered to make informed decisions.

“We’re excited for the next phase of rAInbow, which will allow us to impact millions more lives using AI, and we are grateful for the experience and learning that awaits us in The Netherlands. Powerful things happen when technologists and non-technologists unite under a common goal, as was evident in the solutions presented by the other eight finalists. Well done to all the inspirational justice innovators. I can’t wait to see what they do next.”

The Innovating Justice accolade comes months after rAInbow won a UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Netexplo Award for its use of digital technology to impact society. AI for Good founder, Kriti Sharma, was also awarded a Points of Light Award, bestowed by the UK Prime Minister’s Office on individuals who are making an impact in their communities, for her work on rAInbow.


Watch a demonstration of rAInbow here. To find out how you can get involved with the rAInbow project, e-mail [email protected].