According to the World Bank 2014 regional report, Violence Against Women and Girls: Lessons from South Asia, gender-based violence is an acute problem in Nepal, with women being subjected to different forms of violence, namely, physical intimate partner violence, sexual exploitation, rape and forced labor. At the same time, the Nepal Telecommunication Authority reported over 80% mobile usage.
The prevalence of violence against women and the impressive penetration of technology in Nepal prompted a one-day Hackathon on Violence Against Women (VAWHack) intended to generate applications that could address the issue of gender-based violence in Nepal. The VAWHack, the first such event in Nepal, was organized jointly by the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, YoungInnovations and the Computer Association of Nepal. It brought together private sector representatives, gender experts and young techies to create ICT tools able to help survivors of violence against women and civil society organizations working to reduce its effect on society.
The hackathon produced FightVAW, an ICT-based initiative that provides survivors of violence against women with an alternative means of reporting their cases, via phone call, SMS and online. It enhances coordination among civil society organizations that provide care and services. With an organized case-management system that records complaints and forwards cases to different institutions providing related rehabilitation and legal services, FightVAW uses technology to address a social issue.
FightVAW is the first project of its kind to use ICTs in providing end-to-end solutions to problems involving violence against women in Nepal. It has the additional benefit of reducing survivors’ trauma by sparing them the need to repeat their negative experiences in every organization they reach out to. It also serves as a one-stop site for information on organizations working to prevent violence against women. FightVAW provides a platform for sharing the inspirational stories of women who have moved on in life after such unfortunate incidents.
Through government involvement and the inclusion of private and public organizations working in this field, FightVAW aims to work competitively towards successfully putting an end to violence against women in Nepal.
Complied from WSIS Stocktaking: Success Stories 2015