“Joy”, a mobile app on receiving emergency support to combat violence against women and children, was launched at a ceremony jointly hosted by the Access to Information Program (a2i) Programme of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Division and the Multi-Sectoral Program on Violence Against Women (MSPVAW) of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs at the auditorium of Bangladesh Shishu Academy in Dhaka. Honorable State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Ms. MeherAfrozeChumki, MP launched the app as the chief guest of the workshop. Secretary of ICT Division Zuena Aziz, Director General of the Department of Women Affairs KaziRowshonAkter, Deputy Inspector General Raushan Ara Begum, PPM, ndc; Additional Police Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Krishna Pada Roy, BPM, PPM; Director General of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission Brig Gen Md Mustafa Kamal were present as special guests. The program was chaired by Secretary of Women and Children Affairs Nasima Begum, ndc.
The mobile-based “Joy” application software has been developed by MSPWAW with funding and technical support from the a2i Programme in an attempt to provide immediate assistance to women and children who are already and/or are about to be victims of torture or violence. Ànyone from anywhere can search for “Joy 109” app at the Google AppStore and download it at their android-based phone. During an emergency, the app user can instantaneously send distress SMS to the Police Super, Deputy Police Commissioner of the metropolitan police, 3 selected FNF numbers and the National Helpline Center (109). Also, just by pressing an emergency button and without alerting the offender, the app user who may be the victim can share GPS location, audio recording, and even picture of the surrounding to the concerned officers via mobile message. This would count as evidence that the Joy apps center can later use to help the victim get justice. If someone wants to file a written complaint, it can be done by clicking the ‘Complain’ option in the app, selecting complaint type and sending complain with all details. 'Attach' option allows to attach images and audio. The photos and audio captured from the apps will be kept confidential and can only be seen by the implementing agency i.e Joy Apps Center. The app will get automatically updated with system updates. It promises to be an effective step in providing immediate assistance to victims and identifying offenders. Reference to the request of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, it is to be noted that the Police Headquarters has appointed the AIG (Crime, West) and the Additional Police Commissioner (Expatriate Assistance Cell) as focal points for this project to successfully implement the apps.
Since its inception, the Access to Information (a2i) Programme of the ICT Division has been working to simplify service process and create access to services at citizen’s doorsteps. Besides, the program has been trying to increase participation by women in mainstream of innovative culture and undertake initiatives to promote women empowerment, rights and security.
Senior officers from the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, the Department of Women Affairs, the ICT Division, Police Headquarters, Dhaka Metropolitan Police, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, a2i Programme, and different development partners, were also present on the occasion along with various media representatives.