PESHAWAR: A Google App was launched to improve the services offered to women survivors of gender-based violence.
Australian Deputy High Commissioner to Pakistan Brek Batley and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Commission on the Status of Women Chairperson Neelam Toru in collaboration with a non-government organisation Blue Veins and Trocaire Pakistan launched the app at a seminar arranged here in connection of the International Women’s Day which is marked on March 8.
The seminar was organized by Blue Veins in collaboration with the KPCSW under a project “Policy advocacy and research to strengthen implementation of pro-women legislation and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) response services in KP” with assistance from the Australian Government and Trócaire.
The App ‘KPCSW’, that also works offline, will help women report cases of violence to KPCSW with features like text, voice and video messages and MMS. The user-friendly app is free to download on Google Play Store. It will provide useful information on pro-women laws and approaching KPCSW for help.
In his address to the seminar, John O’Brien, Trócaire’s Country Director in Pakistan, commended the innovative use of technology by through an app to support women and girls across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“Eliminating violence against women everywhere is a priority of the Australian Government and a core part of our foreign policy and aid program. We anticipate that this app will play a pivotal role in providing support services for survivors of gender-based violence, with information to access shelters, medical services or legal aid services,” said The Australian Deputy High Commissioner to Pakistan Brek Batley in his speech.
He hoped the app would help improve the safety and welfare of women and girls across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“A firm sense of direction is not only beneficial on a practical level, but it can also provide a greater sense of coherence and clarity for a whole range of issues which is why now women have started to recognize their rights. Women should be encouraged and the society should pave way for their successes instead of creating more hurdles for them,” said Imtiaz Shahid, Minister for Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Human Rights. Programme Coordinator, Blue Veins, Qamar Naseem, said the use of technology could be vital to ending the Gender-Based Violence (GBV). He praised the Trócaire, an Australian organization, for supporting the KPCSW Android Application which will improve KPCSW presence in the cyber space and institution support to KPCSW under this project would increase its ability to respond to the needs of women.
Meraj Hamayun Khan, Member of Provincial Assembly and Chairperson, Women Parliamentary Caucus (WPC), said: “Women empowerment is an essential component of human development and a key to poverty eradication, building resilient societies, economies and promoting sustainable development.”
Rukhshanda Naz, a noted gender expert, said women deserved recognition and rights to an individual identity, which is why women rights activists and the civil society was actively playing its role and ensuring the safety, wellbeing and rights of women. “These activists are advocating for bringing about a positive change in their lives so that they can be given full opportunities and rights,” said Rukhshanda Naz, who is Executive Director of Legal Aid and Awareness Services or LAAS.
“On the International Women’s Day we reflect on the critical contributions women make in every sector of society and we recommit ourselves to addressing the discrimination and barriers that women face around the world,” said Neelam Toru, chairperson of the KPCSW.
Marking the International Women’s Day, Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner Brek Batley also acknowledged the contributions of 14 prominent women of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from civil society, media, medicine and science by giving them awards.
Rukhshanda Naz was awarded for women rights activism, Nusrat Ara (work for women councilors), Dr. Bushra Khan (environmental scientist), Meraj Humayun (Women Parliamentary Caucus), Khushnood Amjad (pro-bono lawyer) Farzana Ali ( journalism), Raffia Qaseem Baig (first female bomb disposal squad officer in Asia), Rizwana Hameed (first female station house officer of KP), Beenish Imran (assistant commissioner), Shama (Polio, Lady Health Worker), Fatima Bibi (working women enterprise), Ghazala Yousaf (education and social activist), Ume Kalsoom (survivor) and Taj Mahal (district councilor).