New smartphone app is fighting violence against women in Mumbai slum

A woman potter carries earthen pots through traditional pottery kilns in Dharavi, one of Asia's largest slums, in Mumbai. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade

Mumbai’s Dharavi slum is home to anywhere between 300,000 and one million people, and is rife with gender-based violence. The high prevalence of violence against women in India is compounded in Dharavi by the poverty, lack of education and unsafe and unhygienic living conditions, leaving women and children especially vulnerable. And a woman’s marital house itself is unsafe, as data from the National Crime Records Bureau shows that 43 percent of all crimes against women in India are committed by husbands and relatives. SNEHA (Society for Nutrition, Education and Health Action), a Mumbai-based NGO, is now trying to do something about this problem by making it easier to report domestic violence through its “Little Sister Project,” which launched in 2014. With funds from the U.N., the project trained 160 local women to identify and report incidents of gender violence using Android smartphones that are loaded with an open data kit (ODK) form and an app called EyeWatch.“This technology helps us crowdsource cases of violence, track cases of repeat violence and understand more about the prevalence of violence in Dharavi,” says Nayreen Daruwalla, director of SNEHA’s prevention of violence against women and children program. “We believe reporting violence is the first step in preventing violence.” The next big step would be getting the police to act on the reports, as data collected from July to December last year showed that of the 345 cases SNEHA analysed, only 19 percent were reported to the police. Therefore, the NGO’s outreach program has trained 4,500 police officers and cadets in Mumbai and more than 2,100 public hospital staff to help them identify evidence of violence among patients.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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