Everybody deserves equality and it starts by understanding your basic human rights. Facebook and Internet.org are now making a stand for women rights in Zambia with their new app. It gives free internet access for people without a data plan, to access resources like MAMA, WRAPP and Facts For Life by UNICEF.
MAMA provides critical health information to new and expecting mothers. Facts For Life offers tactical tips for handling pregnancy, childbirth, childhood illnesses and childcare. WRAPP helps Zambian women to learn about what their rights are, what legislation protects those rights and what to do if those rights are violated.
It launched this week and Facebook worked with the local government and the Zambian carrier Airtel to identify the needs and bake them into Internet.org’s new app. It is both a standalone Android app and a mobile-website available on the feature phones most Zambians carry. The Facebook for Android app will also get a tab for it.
The app gives free access to a limited number of Internet services including Facebook, Wikipedia and Google Search as well as local info on weather, jobs, government, and human rights. Airtel hopes the free plan will influence people to buy a data plan to gain access to the rest of the internet.
“’Women’s access to technology – and their ability to use it to shape and drive change in their communities – is critical to gender equality” says Global Fund for Women’s President and CEO Musimbi Kanyoro. “This technology will give voice to millions of people, including women, in Zambia, Africa and the whole world, and empower them to share ideas, drive innovation, and build more inclusive and democratic societies.”
Most women in African countries don’t have a data plan, so it is easy to see how this can have a huge impact on their rights and the overall equality. Facebook plans to roll out the app to more countries, but it is a fine line for them to walk. Other parts of Africa, the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East, where gender discrimination is more institutionalized and women have historically been oppressed, might not welcome the app with open arms. It is however a fight worth fighting.
Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Facebook