Violence against women and young girls is one of the most pressing issues of our time. From advanced cities of Europe and North America, to impoverished remote villages of Africa and Asia, tens and thousands of women are subjected to some form of physical or sexual violence in public areas on a daily basis.
1 in 3 women experience violence once in their lifetime. Given the nature and scale of the problem, several global and regional initiatives have been in placeon both government and not-for-profit levels but the fight to end violence against women is gaining friends from an unusual source, the tech industry. Tech startups around the world are finding new applications for digital technologies to solve today’s problems and one such start-up is focused on the issue of violence against women.
Pakistani entrepreneurs have come up with another unique app, Mappsafe, which is a Melbourne based startup with a goal to reduce violence against women with its patented smartphone application. Mappsafe Android App is the world’s first crowd-sourced global safety database that empowers users to search and make maps of safe and unsafe public places for poorly lit streets, obscure pathways and anti-social behavior and share this information with the Mappsafe community to raise awareness and with relevant authorities to improve policing, street lighting, and overall community safety. For just $1.
In past, many attempts have been made to develop apps to improve women’s safety, but most of these apps are reactionary or panic apps. Mappsafe’s focus is to stop violence before it happens by improving access to safety information through crowd-sourcing our experiences.
Mappsafe co-founder Usman Zuberi believes that the solution to women’s safety lies in the sharing culture. He adds, ‘we all have been through streets or public places where we have felt uncomfortable or unsafe, but most of us don’t share this experience with anyone, even when we believe it can help others. It’s not because that we don’t want to, but because we don’t have the right application for it. Mappsafe provides it’s users the platform that empowers them to share safety information and make their every journey safer’.
Mappsafe Android App is currently under development and is expected to be available in Google Play Store in March 2015. To make Mappsafe a reality, the team are launching a fund-raising campaign on the 24th of November 2014 on crowd-funding website Indiegogo.