Happy March, ladies! I have lots of great updates – both, related to the app and outside of it, but all related to World Pulse, of course!
Starting with the app, the field work side has been developing very well. I was invited to an event where young women from economically disadvantaged backgrounds in the state were chosen to receive scholarships. I got to speak with them, and was given the opportunity to train them on digital tools and to talk to them about violence sensitization. I was gladdened to note that they all had smartphones and are very clued in on using apps. The institution that awarded them said that they could consider getting into a year-long engagement with me, where I can return on a fortnightly basis to train more and more women. They have a network of over thirty thousand women across Tamil Nadu, and are part of a larger network that reaches out to 100,000 women across South India. I’m really kicked about this, because it means that the more women there are that are aware of the app, and aware of how to use digital tools to reclaim their voice, the greater impact we are having.
On the app! We’ve run into a little tech-glitch, and it’s been an interesting test for me to see how I evaluate my own choices, my comprehension of technology and my capacity to be optimistic. It doesn't seem like it is too much of a glitch and work is underway to set it right. What I’ve gathered during this time, though, is that it is always important to understand that technology is part of the journey, not the destination, and so you not only need to work with back-ups, but also understand that it is evolutionary. I love that these opportunities are coming my way because they have taught me a lot about patience, about new things that come our way, and about developing resilience.
SO! In the meantime, I took all the experiential advice into account and built my own back up using a really cool online program called “Snappy Appy Pie” that helps me put the app together, all by myself. This is especially cool because I can not only work on the tools and the flow, but also create something that is versatile and easy flowing in terms of how it can be put to use – which means, that there is a versatile front end that can be used to fit highly geolocated specifics - which works very well because we can build campus and corporate ambassadors to suit specific geographically specific requirements.
I've found tools on this platform that make the app hack-proof, and that guarantee that no personal data will be stored on the app's server. I’m sharing a bunch of screenshots from what I’ve worked on so far, which should show you what it looks like. In this round, I’ve also actively engaged with Safecity, by plugging their report submission form into the app. This will help a survivor if they so choose to offer up information for Safecity's crowdmap, which informs which part of a city is unsafe and also breaks down data into chunks of incident-based report. Safecity been offering every survivor who reports on their platform the link to the GBV Help Map, and including them into the app is definitely something important to me. I’ve also considered adding a section called "Your Diary" - which has a place to make notes of all evidence, incidents etc. so a survivor can build a police or legal report if she wants, a link to a map so that she can find where she currently is if there has been an abduction or an incident where she's been taken out of her familiar surroundings, a link to her phone camera / video camera / audio recording so that she can take pictures, videos and record audios and save it all into a dedicated folder on her phone for her case records. I'm now converting the data for the directory into crisp XML files that can be uploaded onto the app version that I am building on my own, as a back-up.
And now for some updates outside of my app: I won a story award from World Pulse for my piece on Femcyclopaedia, in late February. On March 8, 2017, I got to curate a selection of my art from my Femcyclopaedia collection comprising doodled portraits and profiles of 60 pairs of women from history in the US and in India, united by the fields of their choice, at the American Center in the US Consulate General in Chennai. It was a thumping success, and there were a large number of attendees, all over the place: sitting, standing and engaging in the dialogue on the importance of women’s stories. My World Pulse family was on my mind throughout, and I got to tell many of the girls that attended the inaugural event to get onto World Pulse and write their Her Stories. Now, I’m going to host a bunch of workshops at the American Center in the days to come. I'm also super excited about these sessions next week because one of my ILP mentors, Janice's friend, Aleksandra, is coming down to Chennai from Delhi to host the workshops with me - we're going to talk about Women in History and the importance of their voices, and Aleksandra is going to offer insights centred around US history and the best practices in shaping up the women's movement there. Thank you, Janice!
Next up, I got to do a fun World Pulse Wave Video! When I went on YouTube, I had only two viewers, but I switched and moved onto Facebook where there were many more viewers, and it was amazing fun to chat on Feminism, why herstories matter and the like. I also read out bits and pieces from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's "We must all be Feminists" to the audience - and I was on for 80 minutes. I also got to participate in Urmila Chanam's amazing Skype Exchange at the Radio Room in Bangalore - it was beautiful to listen to her, to discuss her work and to learn from her. I'd love for everyone to follow Urmila on World Pulse - she does some phenomenal work and I think everyone has a lot to learn from her :)
Speaking of food, I’m running to tuck into some festive food here in India – it’s Holi, the festival of colours – and I’m sending each of you lots of love and good thoughts so your life is beautiful, vibrant and colourful.