Reducing Violence against Women and Empowering them through ICT

October 5, 2007 | By | Reply More against women is one of society’s universally decried ills. However, to move from platitudes to action and improvement, a clear understanding of the problem is required. It is important that the extent, nature and root causes of such violence are well-documented. By analysing such information, concrete steps can be taken, both legal and charitable, to reduce the occurrence of such violence and reduce its effects.

Merely collecting data and reporting on it can actually reduce violence against women. The fact that these crimes are being recorded highlights both the seriousness of the offence and the low regard that those responsible are held in, making both battered women more likely to come forward and report such abuses and law enforcement more likely to treat such complaints with the sensitivity and seriousness they deserve.

With this in mind, the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) awarded a grant to the Center for Women and Development (CWD) for a project to use technology to document violence against women in the North via a database – Personal Digital Assistant; a combination for data collection, educating women on their legal rights and workshops on escaping such violence as well as a local language web portal to empower them by giving them a basic level of IT literacy.

This project is now well under way, despite the ground situation, and the final version of the database, PDA software and web portal were launched at an event on the 2nd of October, 2007. Ms Indrani Sugathadasa, Secretary, Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Empowerment was the chief guest. Ms. Saroja Sivachandran of the CWD also spoke, stating that the need for the project was significant in both the North and East as well as majority Tamil communities in the Central Province. Chief Operating Officer of ICTA, Reshan Dewapura, also spoke about ICTA’s e-Society grants programme that supports the CWD in this endeavour and similar ongoing projects.

Following the launch, five regional centres will be established which will hold workshops to make women aware of their rights and assistance available. The reported data will be collected by the regional centre staff into a PDA and then synchronized into a central database. This data will remain strictly anonymous and confidential and only aggregated information will be released publicly, however, law enforcement officials maybe given preferential access to the data to assist them in their policing.

The ICTA set up the Partnership Assistance Program, under the e-Society Development Initiative (e-SDI), to fund non-governmental, private and public sector organisations to pilot the use of technology in innovative ways to benefit vulnerable groups such as the rural poor, women and children. This project is a prime example of a concept that meets all the criteria of the e-SDI and seeks to accomplish a most worthy goal. The existence of even one battered woman is a blemish on our society and the success of this project will ensure that the first step to solving this problem – understanding the extent and nature of the violence – is accomplished.

Category: Press Release, Rural Women

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  1. Global Voices Online » Sri Lanka: Violence against women and ICT | October 5, 2007
  1. MurielNilaweera says:

    It’s great to have a project on reducing Violence against Women and Empowering them through IT. Educating them on their Lehal Rights and providing them with basic IT training is quite important as the number of rural women using IT is very much less than 1%. When taken the he Plantation women it may be nil .
    So this is great for a biginning . but to reduce violence against women they have to be empowered by bringing more changes towards their economy and political participation . So let us start e- projects on those lines as well

    Muriel Nilaweera
    Chair Person
    Women In Action

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