Change Magazine July 2017 issue - Page 27

iWomen Photo from: iWomen Website How an app is helping empower rural women in Myanmar By: Bolun Li, Yiheng Wu MYANMAR 18 months ago, May Doe Ka- bar (National Network of Rural Women) and UNDP Myanmar started iWomen – a mobile ap- plication that aims to connect women from rural Myanmar to inspire them, foster their self-belief, and channel men- torship and peer support in their lives. The app was developed by Myanmar’s tech women for its rural women. So far, it has successfully connected over 2000 self-reliant groups with a membership of 22,000 women. Background of the project In recent years, there has been an increase in internet accessibility and the decrease For a long time, life for rural of SIM card costs in Myan- women in Myanmar meant a mar. With the rapidly growing huge deal of sacrifices, depriva- mobile industry boosting the tion of their rights, and a lack potential of applying technol- ogy in solving social problems, of opportunities. iWomen was conceived at the Daw Cho Aye, a village wom- right time. an and the founder of May Doe Kabar, was driven to make a change. She wanted to establish a platform that can connect women and motivate them to support each other. 24