To Enable Positive Behavioural Change, Does Development Need a Structured Approach to Inspiration? - A Study of the iWomen Inspiring Women Project

03 Sep 2018
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iWomen Inspiring Women App was launched in March 2016. This mobile application connects women from the May Doe Kabar (MDK), Myanmar Rural Women’s Network. The MDK is the first nation-wide civil society network of rural women to be recognised by the Myanmar Government. The MDK is made up of 20,000 members, spread across eight states and regions. Since 2016, close to 10,000 rural women and their immediate families have become iWomen App users. A total of over 1,490 inspiring poems, personal stories and lessons have been shared through the app. Thousands of posts have been uploaded in the Talk Together chat board by rural women on topics such as health, advocacy, financial literacy, commodity prices, migration, gender-based violence, etc. Since March 2016, iWomen App users viewed various contents in the app over 900,000 times with an average reading time of 7 minutes per content[1].

This report, “To enable positive behavioural change, does development need a structured approach to inspiration? A study of the iWomen Inspiring Women Project”, is the result of a joined effort between the United Nations University Institute on Computing and Society (UNU-CS) and UNDP Myanmar. It was written with development practitioners and academics in mind, to share lessons learned about using tech innovation to empower marginalised communities. The report aims to:

  1. Share the co-design development story of the iWomen App
  2. Present the findings of an independent research study, conducted by the United Nations University Institute on Computing and Society (UNU-CS)
  3. Provide recommendations on how technology should be developed and used to inspire and inform individuals.

Research conducted for this report shows that the iWomen Project has a unique approach to wellbeing. Instead of just considering how to support rural women’s social needs, this project also targets their emotional needs, envisioning wellbeing from a psychosocial perspective, one that aims for behavioural change. Changes in the women’s perception of their role as women, increased self-esteem and self-confidence, increased sense of community and increased digital inclusion, are amongst many of the impacts of the iWomen Project. These impacts will support the human development of the women in rural Myanmar and their new roles as village leaders, decision-makers, community trainers, and focal points for gender-based violence in their villages.  Altogether, the iWomen Project is an innovative initiative and the iWomen App is one of the few applications in international development that targets both social and emotional wellbeing.

 

[1] All statistics presented in this Study are updated to December 2017

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