5 apps working to improve women’s safety across the world

1. Tech Girls of Dharavi

Girls in Dharavi Diary Slum are learning how to code apps, changing the lives of people living in Mumbai’s biggest slum.

The project aims to empower and educate girls from the Dharavi slum, giving them vital skills to thrive in a digital world. In a country where education for girls is considered  secondary to maintaining the family home, this programme is revolutionary in changing the way India is looking at education for girls. 

The girls participating in the project are working to actively solve community problems. Fauzia Aslam Ansari, 14-year-old student developed an app to organise water collection for each household by setting up an online queue that alerts people when it is their turn to fill up. It means that girls collecting the water don’t have to waste hours queuing and can dedicate more time to their education.

Other apps developed by the girls include Clean and Green, an app built to improve the cleanliness of the community where users can post photographs to report incidences of illegal dumping and a similar app that reports incidences of child labour to the police.

2. Punjab Women Safety app

In Pakistan, the government have introduced a Women’s Safety app. The app allows women and girls to report incidences of violence or harassment to the police in Pakistan’s Punjab province, one of Pakistan’s worst areas for violence against women. 

Women’s Safety primarily covers street harassment but also has a feature for women experiencing violence in the home. It can be used to mark unsafe locations and provides access to a free help line providing information on the law, women’s rights and services working to protect the safety of women in Pakistan.

Pakistan is branded as one of the world’s most dangerous countries for women, where 90% of women suffer from domestic abuse.  The app underpins The Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Act 2015, a bill that provides comprehensive protection of women against a range of crimes including sexual harassment, domestic abuse, financial abuse, stalking and cyber crime. Under the act a women’s force was set up dedicated to protecting women’s rights by responding to reported incidents of physical, psychological or economic abuse by men.

3. I-cut, an app developed by five Kenyan school girls to prevent FGM

FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) is a procedure where the female genitals are deliberately cut, injured or changed, but where there’s no medical reason for this to be done. 

Five girls in Nairobi have developed an app to help end this practice. Although FGM is illegal in Kenya, at least 1 in 4 women and girls have undergone FGM.

The app, I-cut, connects girls at risk of FGM with rescue centres and gives legal and medical help to those who have been cut.

Simple to use, the app has five buttons: help, rescue, report, information on FGM, donate and feedback.

The girls have been selected to take part in 2017’s Technovation, a competition for girls from all over the world to learn and apply the skills needed to solve real-world problems through technology.

 

 

4. Vimba

Launched in Johannesburg as part of a 16 Days Against Violence Campaign 2016 Vimba is an app that connects survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse to organisations offering help. The app offers information on where to seek shelter, legal assistance, counselling and access to healthcare.

The app also acts as a useful data gathering tool. It logs the date, time and location of the incident which can then be used to identify trends in gender based violence in the region.  

Reducing gender based violence has a long way to go with over 60% of men in Diepsloot, an area of Johannesburg, admitting they had abused their partner but the app is a small step in the right direction, helping women safely access the assistance they need.

5. Mobile Midwife

Mobile Midwife aims to address high maternal and child mortality rates in Ghana and Nigeria by using two simple apps.

 

 

The first, Mobile Midwife, provides time sensitive, professional, pre – natal information to mothers via text message or voicemail. The second app, Client Data, allows nurses to upload patient records into a centralised database to track client care.

This allows expectant mothers living in rural areas access the care they need during pregnancy through the click of a button.