Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What Will It Take to End Gender-Based Violence in Nepal?

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Gender Inequality comes in many shapes and (depressing) colors.”- Maria Beatriz Orlando.

Some parts of the world have seen the ugliest and most damaging face of gender based violence, including violence against seniors and babies. Nepal has also long been one of the nations suffering from the epidemic. However things seem to be changing a lot towards the positive side recently, owing to the efforts of several groups worldwide. One among such groups is the World Bank which strongly believes that Gender Equity is one of the priorities for international development and gender equity can not be achieved without addressing gender based violence. Therefore, unlike many others, The World Bank thought this issue definitely makes their business and geared up to fight against it across various regions of the world.

In Nepal, The World Bank is taking public’s ideas & support to tackle with this deep-rooted issue in its latest campaign. The campaign involves seeking answers from all young people aged 18-25 on a simple yet fundamental question: “What will it take to end Gender based Violence in your Country?” 

To inject effectiveness and widespread reach in the campaign, WB is aggressively adopting innovative mobile technologies. This time a Nepalese tech-startup is committing its SMS based value added service(VAS) in gathering opinions of the people from every nook and corner of the country. The procedure of participating is simple: 
  • Reply in no more than 140 characters message to the above question. 
  • SMS your answer to 5455 from any Telecom Carrier
  • Replies should be sent no later than 12:00 a.m. GMT, 15 March, 2013
  • Participants must be in the age group 18-25
  • The cost of the SMS service is the standard cost of Re. 1 plus taxes per message
This campaign is running parallely in 7 other countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, The Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) as well with minor technical differences. And a total of 10 best answers from all these nations will be honored with acknowledgement and prizes by the World Bank before the Spring Meetings in April. 

Such use of SMS to collect opinions on issues of public concern reflects on two important efforts of organizations like WB- one being their attempt to reach a larger remote audience and the other being their increasing trust on the value mobile technology can render in the course- both of which were tough until now. This amalgamation of mobile technology and humanitarian efforts definitely points towards a future of well designed campaigns with an unimaginable reach and never-achieved-before effectiveness. And value added SMS based services give that extra mile to these programs in Nepal because of the high penetration of mobile phones in the nation and the ease of use of this service.

Right now, for your part of contribution you can send your opinions to 5455 and meanwhile check this link on how WB is tackling with gender based violence in Nepal.


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