Myanmar: Inspiring women with mobile app i-Women
Now Comes iWomen
By Thet Thet Win
We are afraid of this tricky world
Don’t dare to go far
With great fear in our heart
Like miserable caged birds
Now comes iWomen
We can share knowledge and wisdom
Go together hand in hand
Bright future as leaders risen
Thet Thet Win is a woman leader & poet
from Kyaiklatt , Ayeyarwady, Myanmar.
She's one of the very first iWomen app users.
Women in Myanmar are severely underrepresented at all levels of public and political life, and that emerging women leaders in rural areas in particular face significant barriers of overcoming restrictive social norms, lack of personal confidence and lack of role models that can help them succeed in taking up new roles of participation and leadership.
How can rural Women build the self-confidence, vision and courage to become Myanmar’s future leaders?
UNDP in Myanmar has already been supporting a cadre of emerging women leaders of village-based women’s associations across the country with a series of training and institutional capacity development activities. Meanwhile, democratic space as well as telecomm channels have been rapidly opening in Myanmar.
To build on the traditional programmes and existing network, and to leverage innovative technology and local talents, the answer is: iWomen, a mobile app to inspire women in Myanmar.
How iWomen works: Inspiration + Action
iWomen app seeks to inspire, foster self-belief, and channel peer support for rural women to become leaders in their communities and it is the heart of a peer support structure connecting 22,000 women from 2,000 villages across Myanmar.
The volunteer network around the app started with 30 recruited university students and has been expanded to more than 300 youth who are traveling across the country to introduce rural women to basics of mobile IT and train them on how to share the app phone-to-phone with others and become iWomen App Champions.
The slideshow below illustrates step-by-step how the app works:
It has four key functions:
It delivers a dynamic, interactive stream of real life stories of inspiration written by women from Myanmar and from high-achieving women across the world directly to the rural women of Myanmar.
The app provides high-quality information on leadership, training and funding opportunities, key laws and legislation on gender equality.
i-Women app includes a GIS mapping system where users can locate and get in touch with other women groups across the country.
It provides an interactive discussion board where rural women network members can discuss anything they please from skill sharing to personal issues from network building at national level to solving local village problems.
Human Centred Design
The development of the i-Women mobile application has been underpinned by the principles of human centred design (Creative confidence, Empathy, Embracing Ambiguity, Iteration) since its inception:
- A Human Centered Design (HCD) Workshop was convened in June 2015 with 14 TLGs leaders, 10 young Myanmar ‘’IT geeks’’ and creative/design types along with UNDP Staff to finding innovative ways of establishing the best peer-support and communication system for the nascent National Network of Rural Myanmar Women.
- App developed by Women for Women: following the HCD Workshop, two young Myanmar women from the award winning mobile app developer team Myanmar Geek Girls were recruited to be the key technical developers of the iWomen app.
- Rapid prototyping & Practical Testing: during a rapid 8-week period (July-August), the prototype of the i-Women app was developed and tested three times with a group of ten rural women members of clustered from multiple villages as one TLG in the delta area of Myanmar (Kyaiklatt).
- Human Centred Design Approach: during each round of testing, women were asked to rate the usability of the app, the functions on the app they like the best, the functions they felt were of most use to the network, the functions they felt were providing no additional value, and to make suggesions for improving the app’s practical usability and relevant functionality.
- Involvement of Young and Dynamic Myanmar Volunteers: during the prototype launch of iWomen app (November 2015), 30 Myanmar IT University students were recruited to support iWomen app distribution, marketing, provide technical support to new users, and conduct wider user feedback surveys.
Page last updated: Aug 17, 2016