On February 23, 2016 the mobile application AksyonVAW made its debut in Google Playstore. But what is AksyonVAW all about?
Aksyon is the Filipino word for action, and VAW stands for violence against women. The app AksyonVAW is a project of the Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA), a non-government organisation based in Quezon City that assists individuals and groups in their strategic and appropriate use of various means of information and communications technology (ICT). FMA partnered with 8 Layer Technologies, a free and open source company, to develop the said app.
This mobile application calls on users, especially women and girls, to take control of technology and strategically use any ICT platform for activism against gender based violence. It demonstrates the need for users to know their rights and to keep safe online.
AksyonVAW features three stories of technology-related violence against women – cyberbullying, identity theft, and online harassment. Each story has a scenario where the app user can help choose an action regarding the case. For example, a victim of cyberbullying in school can choose to report to school authorities about the incident or just keep quiet about it. If the user chooses one option, a resulting scenario appears. It has to be noted though that some of the responses to the cases are based on Philippine law. Tips on what to do in case of online abuse are also featured in the app.
The idea for coming up with such an app was inspired by FMA’s work on technology-related violence against women. Since 2012, it has started mapping cases on technology-related violence against women (see ph.takebackthetech.net).
The online mapping is part of a project that FMA has with the Association for Progressive Communications (APC). Other APC project partners in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mexico, and Pakistan have also mapped similar cases in their own countries.
The app is now available for downloading but further improvements to it will still be added in the next few days. ###