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Local radio, sms helplines, and the internet: Filipino women think local in stopping eVAW

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MANILA, Philippines, 11 February 2011 (Foundation for Media Alternatives)


The TBTT Philippines launched its Small Grants Program in late September 2010 announcing its call for innovative proposals stressing the importance of exploring the intersection of ICTs and VAW. In a span of three weeks, the SGP invited a total of 16 proposals from northern (Mt. Province) to southern (Davao City) Philippines, submitted by different women, children, ICT and academic institutions/organizations. Proposals covered a wide array of solutions to explore and address ICTs and VAW issues/concerns from SMS reporting, capacity building and awareness raising, video / digital storytelling workshop to research about cybersex, policies and laws among other things.

It took awhile for the selection committee to decide which among the sixteen proposals would get the grant. All submissions were reviewed based on their own merits and how they meet the following criteria: clarity of purpose, methodology/implementation strategy and target outputs, innovation, replicability, sustainability, contribution to addressing E-VAW concerns, address violence against women using ICT tools/platform, realistic within budgetary and time constraints, use of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) applications.

After much deliberation, five organisations were chosen to be the Small Grants Programme winners in December 2010. They will receive 175,000 Pesos (approximately 4000USD) to implement their specific projects within a five month time table.

Dulaang UP Baguio (DUBP), a non-profit theatre collective of faculty and students from the College of Arts and Communications, University of the Philippines – Baguio, is producing a radio drama series on young women’s online and face-to-face experiences of sexual harassment through new information and communication technologies (ICTs) like mobile phones and the internet. The group is conducting group discussions with students and women in the community to learn more about their experiences. Through a script-writing workshop, the series will be developed, and then translated into various Philippine languages. The series will then be aired with the help of project partners DZUP community radio in UP Diliman and Radyo Sagada in Mountain Province.

The Center for Migrant Advocacy Inc. (CMA Inc.), a non-profit and advocacy organisation that work for migrants, are working on an SMS helpline that provides emergency assistance and support for migrant workers by linking them to the appropriate government agencies and embassies. CMA is further improving the Helpline’s monitoring and documentation components, using free and open source software (FOSS), as well as a case referral system for more effective and efficient response to the needs of Filipina migrant workers (FMW), particularly those vulnerable to violence like domestic workers. CMA also intends to expand its reach to FMWs in the Middle East.

Women’s Education, Development, Productivity and Research Organization Inc. (WEDPRO Inc.), is a feminist collective that works to empower women. WEDPRO is addressing the issue of violence against women and selected young men in Angeles and Olongapo, former US Military bases, through the strategic use of ICTs, more specifically, digital storytelling (DST). The project aims to teach and share web-based technology to make a direct and immediate difference, and so that it can be immediately shared as an advocacy tool. The project also strives to build on WEDPRO’s already-existing and on-going programmes and projects such as addressing the concerns of young theatre scholars who are a part of their current project, The Red AVP (Public and Private Faces of Violence Against Women).

Related stories:

>Out of the shadows: Filipino youth survivors of violence transform the personal into the digital

>Youths turn to community theater and digital storytelling to address domestic violence and trafficking

The Gabriela National Alliance of Women (Gabriela) is a national alliance of women’s organisations that has existed for over 25 years. Gabriela plans to optimise the use of computer technology and the cyberspace in order to end violence against women (VAW). Through the iVow vs VAW: The Tech-Fix project, women can use ICTs as a tool to empower themselves against VAW. An interactive website is the project’s main component, which features data and statistics generated through a software programme, the VAW Tracker, which monitors VAW cases handled by the Gabriela national office. Gabriela hopes to generate a nationwide database on VAW by providing training on the VAW tracker to the regional and provincial chapters of Gabriela that handle cases of VAW.

Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau Inc. (WLB Inc.) is a feminist, legal non-government organisation composed of women’s rights activists and advocates in various professions that work on addressing women’s issues and concerns. WLB is comprehensively mapping the terrain of existing Philippine laws and jurisprudence in order to analyse the existing policy framework on ICTs, VAW and Sexuality. It also hopes to provide conceptual clarity of the phenomenon of ICT and VAW in the Philippines and expose the gaps and limitations within the existing laws related to it.

The Take Back the Tech! fund is a part of the APC women’s programme Take Back the Tech! to end violence against women project, which falls under the APC’s work towards achieving the third Millennium Development Goal on equality for women. A total of $20 000 dollars have been disbursed to twelve country partners for redistribution to local and grassroots organisations that are working with women and ICTs.

Photo by FMA. Digital post card created during the Take Back the Tech! to end violence against women campaign.

(FIN/2011)

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