Activists Launch Smartphone Apps to Protect Women

Three free smartphone applications designed by Cambodian women to help reduce gender-based violence in the country were launched by The Asia Foundation on Monday.

In February, the three women—Phat Sreytouch, Sum Dany and Bunn Rachana—were recipients of the U.K.funded VXW Award, which gave them a chance to work with developers to create mobile apps that help protect women.

Ms. Sreytouch developed a program that sends emergency alerts to family members, Ms. Dany’s app aims to inform food and beverage workers of their rights, and Ms.Rachana created an app that teaches women about domestic violence through animation.

Erin Bourgois, an Asia Foundation program officer, said the female activists worked with developers from Golden Gekko in Phnom Penh.

“We worked closely with them to create programs, and the activists would test aspects as they were released,” she said.

According to a study released by the foundation in October, smartphones are used by 39 percent of the country’s urban population and 21 percent of rural residents.

Ms. Rachana, whose app is called Safe Agent 008, said she hopes users will help share the programs.

“Whether it’s effective depends on whether people use it or not,” she said.

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