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Gorebet, an app that leverages the traditional Ethiopian concept of “Gurbitina,” enabling users to connect and share important local information, has been launched by Opian Technologies.

The platform, designed to enhance neighborhood safety and encourage proactive resident engagement, lets users report public, infrastructure, and environmental incidents impacting their lives.

“Such information is crucial for creating an informed and connected community,” said Brook Getachew, co-founder of this community-driven platform. “By sharing real-time data on local issues, Gorebet helps residents stay aware of their surroundings, enhances neighborhood safety, and fosters a culture of mutual aid and collaboration,” he added.

Akofada (DFS Ethiopia)

The platform’s public category covers theft, traffic accidents, fire, gender-based violence, lost and found items, and other incidents. The infrastructure category includes electric power problems, water supply issues, potholes/road problems, and public transportation issues. The Environmental category allows users to report environmental incidents.

Users can download the app, register with their address, and report incidents with their location. Additionally, they can post anonymously to a feed visible to everyone. Gorebet supports text, image, and video reporting for incident details.

Since its launch at the end of May 2024, the app has been downloaded close to 1,500 times, and there has been a steady increase in reported incidents. The daily reports from Monday to Wednesday this week documented 1,500, 2,400, and 2,500 incidents from different parts of the country.

According to Zelalem Gizachew, co-founder of Gorebet, reports are mainly coming from Addis Ababa, Adama, Harar, and Yirgalem. These cities were selected for live testing. Users in Addis Ababa primarily report public transport issues, while Adama residents mainly report water supply issues, and Harar residents report environmental incidents like noise pollution and air pollution.

“Although we don’t have support structures in other countries, the app is also live in 176 countries,” Zelalem added.

Co-founded by Brook, who has a diverse background in branding, communication, urban planning, and visual art, and Zelalem, who has a background in technology and health, the idea for Gorebet originated from their own needs to create the concept of “Gurbtina” online. “Gurbitina” is a traditional norm where neighbors gather to discuss and address local issues.

Though they had been in conversation for close to a decade, the development started a year ago. “I think we’ve been talking about it for nine years, and our ideas have solidified through so many conversations over the years,” Brook told Shega.

“By providing a platform for reporting and sharing incidents, Gorebet tackles the challenge of information gaps within communities. This helps with crime prevention, improves public services by highlighting issues, and promotes community solidarity,” said Brook.

Gorebet plans to adopt a freemium model, where basic services are free, while premium features like advanced analytics, targeted notifications, and advertisement, for enterprises and government agencies come with a charge.

Opian is an Ethiopian technology startup that works to solve challenges in the health sector with integrated, research-based, and AI-powered solutions.

The Ethiopian Federal Police also launched a similar platform last month. Dubbed the EFPApp (Ethiopian Federal Police Citizen Engagement App) the platform aims to enhance public safety and security by allowing people to report crimes easily.

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Etenat holds a degree in Journalism and her master's in Public Relations. Previously, she served as a university lecturer and has five years of experience in communications, media, digital marketing, and consulting.