Publisher: APCNews Karachi, 08 December 2010
Pakistani women are helping other women in their communities jumpstart their ICT knowledge through the use of resource data bases and platforms for violence against women (VAW), that will allow women who have and are experiencing violence to access help. Survivors of VAW are learning to tell their stories in digital format to share their stories with others, heal and become more empowered through the process. The funds which are helping these projects get off the ground are a part of the APC Women’s Networking Support Programme’s Take Back the Tech! to end violence against women campaign, as part of its work on the third millennium development goal (MDG3) on equality for women. In Pakistan, the campaign is being spearheaded by BytesforAll and the Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT & ITES (P@SHA).
TAKE BACK THE TECH! FUND WINNERS IN PAKISTAN
All Pakistan Women’s Association (APWA) in Punjab is collaborating with the Center for Language Enigineering (CLE) and the Al-Khwarizmi Institute of Computer Sciences (KICS), University of Engineering Technology as technical partners to create a Digital story album for learning, action &chagen. This project, which aims to provide intense and customised ICT training to survivors of violence against women (VAW), so that they can heal by telling their stories. The women will learn about using computers and word processing programs, as well as how to develop digital stories which includes storyboarding, multimedia tools, audio and movie production and editing. Finally the women will learn to use blogs to share their stories and create networks. Through the use of free and open source software, the stories produced by the women will be instrumental in creating strong awareness and a rising urge for safety from VAW.
Gawaahi.com (Testimony of Unspoken Abuse) is an initiative by Naveen Naqvi, a famous television personality & journalist, and Sana Saleem, a blogger, editor, writer, activist & medical student. Gwaahi, a crowd-sourcing platform used to archive the stories of people and particularly the stories of women who have survived violence, is a pro-active tool for those who are experiencing a new form of harassment created by technology (such as obscene texts and phone calls). Using digital stories and audio-visual content to make the stories more compelling, the ICTs are empowering the women by connecting them to one another and giving them the strength to report cases of harassment. Gawaahi.com will also offer a community forum to discussion issues that are typically shunned as social taboos.
Nuzhat Kidvai, Masters in Community Development & Education, has been a member of Women’s Action Forum for 25 years and of Tehrik-e-Niswan, and is the founder member of War Against Rape, on the Governing Body of Roots for Equity. She is creating a comprehensive informational website for VAW that will include a list organisations and NGOs that work in the area of VAW and deal with issues related to VAW; a list of lawyers and doctors who are ready and willing to take up pro-bono, publico & low fee cases; a list of hospitals and clinics; women’s shelters, police and emergency numbers, and more. This comprehensive database will be an important resource for women who are experiencing violence.
Farah Mahmood, Director Clubs, UET Peshawar & Councillor IEEE Student Branch, IEEE Women in Engineering, UET Peshawar is offering a capacity building workshop for women in Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa. The two-day workshop for 50 women and girls will introduce women to the different forms of ICTs, how to use them, and how to use them for empowerment. The workshop will also cover the different networking tools and platforms like Facebook and search engines. The second day of the workshop will focus on women and their safety in relation to ICTs, and will also explore the topic of violence against women (VAW) and its relation to ICTs; how to be safe while using ICTs such as mobile phones, emails, online chatting and web browsing.
Azrak Khan is holding a capacity building workshop for NGOs in Quetta.
The projects these individuals and organisations are taking on have originated from Sind, Punjab, Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and Balochistan and are as diverse as the areas themselves. Unique content from each area will be developed and spaces where people can go access information and share it are also being developed. Capacity-building activities for women and young girls as well as NGOs are also taking place. This much-needed project is still in its planing stage, and the funds it is receiving will help it take shape.
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 Jamal Ashiqain: Take Backe the Tech! campaigners at a Feminist Tech Xchange (FTX) training in Islamabad.
Fore more information on the Pakistan small grant winners, please see attached document.