OpenSource Women's Technology ZARIYA (connect to justice) - Code For India Project (

Published on July 1, 2014 um 18:27

Summary of your idea

What? Zariya empowers women who face violence by providing them with a safe & reliable medium to access: 1. Actionable information: pointed information that tells violence survivors how they can practice their rights, as opposed to merely what their rights are. 2. Service providers: Service providers include police, legal information centers, psychological centers, hospitals, womens banks & micro-financing organizations. By protecting a womans identity and accelerating knowledge/action flows, Zariya incentivizes entry to justice and helps a woman transition from being a victim to a survivor. This interactive user-friendly phone directory will eventually be an accountability case-tracker for women to ensure that their needs are being met in a timely and accurate manner. Why? The Violence Iceberg Violence against women has taken international and Indian media by storm. However, there is more than meets the eye. Indian policy-makers estimate that for each reported rape, 30 go unreported. Given that around 25,000 women reported rape in 2012, 725,000 women did not enter any redress process. Why? Identity disclosure in crime-reporting and pursuit of justice has high costs to security: - justice is dangerous: Although this may not reflect most cases, some women have been shot en route to the police station or threatened when visiting courthouses. - justice brings shame: Stigma surrounding sexual/domestic violence can hinders a girls family, professional and personal life. Objectives 1) Empower a woman to take the first step towards justice 2) Make justice safe for women 3) Establish concrete, quick and meaningful entry-point connections Innovative Approaches 1) Systems-thinking: This holistic user-centric approach identifies a womans need and stage and then provides the need-specific connection. 2) Tech-based interface: enables anonymity and systematization. In India, lack of systemic transparency that allows for corruption hinders justice delivery.

Expected impact of your idea on sustainable development

Currently, the Minimum Viable Product is being built. We will use this MVP to conduct focus-group pilots with local NGOs in Bangalore before September to gauge for #3 below and ensure that a launchable version is ready. The target is to launch the platform in September 2014. First-year target = 2,000 users. Micro-level, short-term Indicators of impact: social development 1. Quantitative: # of women who 1) submit a report 2) establish connection 2. Qualitative: aftercare surveys to determine service quality; were users satisfied? 3. User-friendliness: do the functionalities work to do what they are meant to do from a procedural/technical/logistical PoV? We will work with local NGOs such as Vimochana to tap into their client base and pilot Zariya. 4. Comparative: Similar to qualitative, does it actually better protect a womans identity? Does it provide smoother and safer connections than already existing methods? Research design for this is being determined with Bangalore think tanks and NGOs. Macro-level: economic development My academic and professional work has made me realize that lack of justice for violence-sufferers is among the most crippling barriers to poverty eradication. Though violence is not conventionally quantifiable due to its latent presence, everyday lives of the worlds poor are marked by a violence that is debilitating to their quest to overcome poverty. Recent book Locust Effect quantifies and qualifies exactly how violence traumatizes and steeps the poor further into an impoverished condition. Technology: sustainability By enabling women to report violence and connect to justice anonymously and securely behind technology, Zariya aims to make justice safe for a woman. While 4 billion people in the world are not protected by their justice systems due to accessibility issues, 5.1 billion have access to a mobile phone. Zariya endeavors to leverage access to technology to enhance entry to justice.

Plans for implementation and sustainability

This lean start-up builds infrastructure with technology to connect users with service providers. Zariya provides SMS functionality, android/iPhone, online and voice recognition. CSR: Following first pilot, Zariya will contact CSR of Indian Telecommunications companies. With monitors and a strategic volume management plan, we determine how many more female customers Zariya brings in and can bring in the future. This incentivizes Zariya to increase entry to justice by numbers and also telcos to invest in such enterprises as small yet meaningful sources of additional customers. Depending on usage numbers, we will determine a percentage of the revenue made by calls that should be paid to Zariya for deepening mobile penetration. Following a year of angel investments, Zariya would like to be paid for customer acquisition. If Zariya becomes a household approach for first-instance connections for citizens facing social problems, it can become an internalized part of Telecommunications CSR/branding. Investment in social impact is not about charity but about serving business ends. As a fact-finding mission, Zariya will track outcomes of their users entry to problem-solving to determine how first-instance connections lead to concrete processes. If they lead to Womens Banks/courts, contingent on customer base, Zariya would be remunerated by banks/courts via a negotiated license fee. Zariyas API extensions to NGOs and corporate websites can be used to get ads for women who need help connecting to the right kind of professional (doctors or lawyers). Law portals can use Zariyas portal API to get newsfeeds as well. Zariya can provide information packages to other websites to generate a) ads that help users buy products (e.g. the anti-rape jewelry, jeans and other such products) b) use CSR tabs on our websites. Code for Indias pro-bono software developers will finalize tech for testing by 20/07/2014.

Your profile

Broadly, my passion is social impact and more specifically womens empowerment. Born in Boston to Indian parents, I was raised in Muscat, Oman. Upon graduating from Stanford in 2013, I won an International Fellowship awarded to 3 of Stanfords graduating class. I took this fellowship to The Hague where Ive spearheaded justice initiatives and learnt about justice, business and technology. My commitment to public service goes back to when I founded a fund-raising campaign for a girls school in Afghanistan at age 16. For successful completion of this project, I won the Toyota Community Scholarship, awarded to 12 out of a pool of 8,000 applicants. These opportunities have cultivated my analytical skills, laser-like focus, and meticulous attention to detail. I have engaged with survivors of violence in the Arab gulf and India. Additionally, I undertook qualitative research on sectarian violence in 3 languages for an Honors Thesis, which won the Stanford History Departments Best Thesis Award. Finally, I bring to the table the critical eye of a historian, an analytical legal lens and an entrepreneurs drive for tangible impact. I am a 22-year old traveller poised for the local and global setting alike. I owe a debt to my parents for the global space they unlocked for me; they went against their own families to provide me educational opportunities only boys from my community can dream of. Although I can never completely repay my parents, I honour their values of equality and justice.

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Stage of Idea

conceptual stage, planning stage, start-up stage

Your idea has a positive impact on

education, health, poverty reduction, empowerment of women

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