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Safety is a basic human right. But for the millions of women and girls living in low-income urban communities across the world, personal safety can be difficult to achieve – giving way to gender-based violence, social isolation or a lack of basic social services. With this challenge, we are asking the OpenIDEO community to help design solutions that enable women to feel safe and empowered, by contributing research, sharing ideas and collaborating with others during the challenge.

Setting the Stage

According to the latest UN Habitat Report, women make up the majority of the world’s poor—up to 70 percent in some countries. It is also widely acknowledged that women and girls living in low-income urban contexts are disproportionately affected by safety hazards such as gender-based violence, unstable housing and inadequate sanitation facilities or lighting. As more and more people in developing countries migrate into cities from more rural areas, finding effective safety solutions for women and girls becomes increasingly urgent.

In order to frame the context for this challenge, Amplify convened an interdisciplinary group of subject-matter experts and community stakeholders to explore the issues underlying women’s safety. Learn more about these issues and what the experts discussed. The Amplify team will also be sharing research contributions as they learn from women, girls and multidisciplinary experts throughout the Research Phase.

Thought Starters for This Challenge

While there are countless exciting design directions for improving women’s safety in low-income urban areas, here are a few of the opportunity areas that came up during our expert convening that we are particularly excited about: 

  • How might we leverage the population density of low-income urban areas as a catalyst for safety?
  • How might we use existing points of connection – from schools, to bus stops, to marketplaces –  to build community, support and agency among women and girls?
  • How might we engage men and boys in making urban environments safer for women and girls? 
  • How might we use infrastructure – transportation, architecture, sanitation and lighting, for example – to enhance safety and security?

Check out more information and short videos about these opportunity areas.



We trust that everyone will approach our challenge conversation with empathy and respect. With that in mind, we’ve outlined some Guiding Principles for contributing to this challenge – a great place to start if you’re just jumping in.




The  Amplify Program is a five-year joint initiative between OpenIDEO and aimed at making international aid more collaborative and human-centered. Amplify challenges are made possible with funding from the UK Department for International Development.  Learn more.



  Sean Hewens       Nathan Waterhouse

  Shauna Carey     Yennie Lee       



What Does it Mean to be Awarded Funding and Design Support?

In this challenge, we’re approaching our selection process a bit differently as compared to past challenges. As we explained earlier this year, OpenIDEO is re-committing our efforts and ourselves to achieving more impact in the world through the challenges we run and the ideas we create together. One way we’re doing this is through an innovative new collaboration – the Amplify program.

To further enable the implementation of ideas from this challenge, the Amplify team has committed to provide design support and/or funding to a select set of ideas after the challenge ends. More details on how these awards will be determined will be shared in the coming weeks – so stay tuned. For now, we hope each of you is as excited as we are about taking the next step toward iterating how great OpenIDEO challenge ideas get realised. For more information about funding and design support, visit the Amplify FAQ page.

As always on OpenIDEO, we encourage everyone in our community to take ideas forward in some way, either on your own or collaboratively with people in your network – regardless of this whether your idea is awarded Amplify support. After all, at OpenIDEO we strive to be a place where good ideas gain momentum – both via our community and our challenge partners. For more information, visit our About Us and How It Works pages.    

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Photo of Sophia Marx

Technology takes a stand. People first! Mark Zuckerberg announced a $120 gift to the San Francisco Bay Area Schools!!

Photo of Ana Cuellar

Sohpia, I am glad that you've brought technology into the conversation. I believe the tech industry has the potential to have a significant impact on the empowerment of women/girls - both as a driver of education (e.g., Zuckerberg's contribution to SF schools) and as a tool for women/girls. "Girls Who Code" ( comes to mind as an example of one such measure to empower girls by equipping them with the skills needed for the tech jobs of the future.

Photo of Sophia Marx

Ana, I was so excited to hear about the Zuckerberg's contribution. SF schools is great, too. But to allocate some funds to some less fortunate, urban remote areas, both in the US and other countries would be great, too. Especially, in countries like where Malala is from where they risk their lives to go to school.

Photo of Jason Carter

Such a great personality we have these days. We need more people like him.
Recent Post:

Photo of Donna

I think this I Holla Back ( initiative is pretty cool and whilst it does not solve everything it has the potential to create more safe spaces or advise women of which unsafe spaces to avoid. It also provides us with a sense of power (I know because I've used it) to identify offenders and share experiences and feelings, knowing that you are not alone and have support. Men can also contribute on behalf of wives, sisters, girlfriends, mothers etc. I think this idea could be transferred to an app, to a village community board, to social networks in many different ways - any other ideas on how to translate the I Holla Back concept to different types of communities?

Photo of Gala Freixa

Thank you very much for all this camping and noise your doing on this topic.
I think it is crucial to talk about it, to concern everyone of what is happening, not only in India, but all over te world.
I'm Gala, from Spain, and I'm really worried about this topic and everything related with the women's rights.
We have to show to everyone that we are strong, that we have the power to change things. This is a big challenge, and I would really like to help you to develop it.
I strongly recommend to change this "dangerous and dark areas" to transitable streets. I think the main solution is in putting connection points, where women use to feel safe. And in my case, I feel safe if I see more women around me, so I feel not alone. For that I recommend to put markets and shops, bus stops and make the area more urban.
It is important not to be alone on the street, so let's fill the streets with people and activities.
And the most important of all? Why to hurt women? What have we done wrong?
With this I'm appealing EDUCATION. Even in "difficult" countries like India, there should be an initiative to concern everyone, men, women, kids and young people about the HUMAN RIGHTS, that men and women deserve, especially women.

Thank you.


Photo of brahmari vatrapu

I feel awareness and education among younger kids and men can bring a change. We need to teach our kids to respect every woman . We also need to teach women to stand up for their basic rights , to voice against the injustice done . If we women can show the world how strong we are and show them that we are not here just to bear an injustice , i feel that there would be a change. Change should start from within us. When every woman understands her value and shows zero tolerance towards the wrong things , I strongly and firmly beleive that there would be a change in the attitude of the society. Younger kids and men should be taught to respect women and support them in everything.

Photo of Cathy Wu

Totally agree with you, Brahmari. No one can save you except yourself. Women should build up their own confidence and believe themselves can gain the same achievements as men. Women should learn the thinking model of men and make effort to gain their own economic independence rights, because when women gain the economic independence, others are more likely to respect you. Thus, every woman should learn to self-reliance and favor theirselves, and try their best to raise their own capabilities.

Photo of Maider Pagola

I can't compare their situation, their country and their culture with my, as I life in the north of spain and it suppose that in a developed country, more educated and more sensitive with this cain of issues; but I would like to share with you some actions that has been taken in my town during the last years to make the town more safety and to make aware the people of that problem that thousand of women's and girls safer every day. One of the decisions was to disappear dark place , like tunnel, street , putting more light on that places, another one was and maybe this one can be more useful for you, to design a parpol map of the town. What is that? the parpol map shows you the most safety streets to walk, also appear the most risky places... like that preventing some place. According to that maybe you can organise some routs that girls can do all together as like a bus stations was, choosing some our when girls can meet all together to do that path , instead of going alone min after minit.
And of course, the most important thing EDUCATION not only in the schools also in their house. To respect to the Woman you have in front of you!!!

Photo of Sharath H.N.

as women's in south india prefer jobs near to their homes. so what I want tell is government can first make aware of their job opportunity according to their qualifications . Next thing is that the illiterate women's can be provided kids in their surrounding itself, like road maintenance, build small groups, etc which can make them fell safe and can step out of their house....

Photo of April Dawn Menefee

Exercising is becoming more deadly by the moment. Women of any age are not safe to walk, jog, or go bike-riding in the places they call home. We want to lead more healthy lives and it is darn near impossible without safety in our neighborhoods. I live in Cleveland, Ohio and the threat is real. Just walking to the corner store to conserve gas makes for a female target for robbery, assault, rape, and even murder. All because women are thought of as weak and unable to defend themselves. I know this problem is all over the world. I truly wish it could change.

Photo of McKenzee Williams

I just came across this challenge and love the concept, there are so many thoughtful and well written ideas. I believe that every woman has the right to protect and empower herself. So many programs we see today are helping women AFTER something has happened to her, as opposed to helping her prevent it from the beginning. I believe it is important to show women everywhere that they can take a stand and fight back. I work for a company, Damsel In Defense, that is looking to do just that and believe that what we have started may be a push in the right direction. I sell legal, non-lethal forms of personal protection specifically to women. Often, an attacker is looking for a defensless victim, someone who wont put up a fight and if something as simple as a high concentration pepper spray or a high quality stun gun in the hand of a woman is enough to deter an attacker who otherwise may have tried to go after her then its something all women should know about. The women who have bought and carried a product from me have come back and told me "thank you, I feel empowered...I feel safer...I am not afraid to walk home anymore..I don't have to keep 911 on my phone walking in the parking garage anymore..." but its gone further than that, I have had women who have stopped car-jackings, attempted rapes, and attempted assualts just from carrying a form of protection. My belief is if we can show women everywhere that there ARE ways to protect themselves and level the playing field against an attacker then we can truly start to see a change. Women can go from being a victim to being empowered. It will also make a would be attacker of any sort think twice before attempting again. Women and young girls in urban areas could greatly benifit from something as small as a $10 pepper spray, and I am working with groups here in SE Georgia to help achieve that. I believed in personal protection long before my start at Damsel and I know that if we continue to show women how to use these tools, and not to be afraid of them, then we will see more attacks stopped before they happen and we wont have to help victims nearly as much.

Photo of Damon

I think every mothers need to study something, how to let her son to respect girls. when I'm a child, my mother told me must respect girls and girls will like me. so, untill now I very respect girls and others.

Photo of Patrick Anucha

Thanks to the vision of and collaboration of openideo team. It is rightly appreciated that the idea stage drew in many ideas from thinkers and social entrepreneurs. The selection of the 53 ideas to the refinement stage is right but good effort and selection criteria adopted could be such that gives proper spread and participation to countries mostly in need and have been identified as potential flash points or target areas for the need e.g. Nigeria. In the selection process, Nigeria is grossly neglected as only one idea was selected from the community to the refinement stage by the selection team. The understanding of social and economic need of persons and people varies from country to country and has connation and impacts of cultural norms and beliefs of the people and culture of the country. As in Nigeria the prevalent problem is lack of education and skills, organized market, etc which has left many of the girls and women unsafe and exposed to hazardous jobs. The case in Asia countries especially India is different as we learnt from contributors as their country issues are evolved in sexual attacks, harassment and assault while on roads, market places, bus stops, etc. You will find that based on real understudy, events and statistics of Nigerian phenomena Nigerian contributors centered on economic, social and educational empowerment ideas and projects, which defines the immediate needs of Nigerian women and girls. Such are the projects that can collaborate to strengthen and helps to increase the potential for impact as sought by UKaid and Amplify in the Openideo challenge on Women safety. The ideas are based on innovative spectrum of solutions centered on empowering women and girls in low-income urban areas such like these:

I am sure your team made an oversight of Nigeria prevalent problems. The current issue of abduction of over 273 girls in Chibok , Borno State of Nigeria is an issue at stake. I am emphatic that the Nigerian representation in the selected ideas in this challenge is not commendable. We are really concerned at issues and idea with promising and have the potential to make a powerful impact and communicate to the current challenge of women and girls in our society and country and which can be excited watched to continue to grow and are sustainable and not on funs. The openideo current challenge on women safety is not meant for fun but to create economic and social impact as has been stated as criteria in the refinement statements as follows:
"Does the idea address a specific need for women and girls?
Does the idea make life safer for women and girls?
Does the idea make their urban context more empowering?
Does the idea lead to solutions specific to the urban context?
Can the idea be replicated/scaled in other locations?"

Therefore, the timely inclusion of ideas from the Nigerian community, which addresses these needs, shall in no doubt provide solution to Nigerian context in openideo current challenge .

Photo of Patrick Anucha

In every challenge, there stands to be a clear solution. It is important to give the challenge of girls in this matter a holistic view and consideration . The issue of safety lies on a number of factors, which includes and are not limited to state of mind, state of the nation or environmental factors, personal economic status or state of the individual, family challenges. It will be summarily given as external and internal factors. The external factors are those circumstances which the girl have no control but can be supplied or made available by the nation or locals. While the internal factors that provides for the safety of the girl are things which can directly be obtained for the girl, to provide for her safety but are indirectly dependent upon the external factors.
In order to give a proper address and consideration of the safety, it is further important to learn that the girl will not live independent or in isolation of male gender . The separation of female gender from the male will create an envy, which may result to further counter productive. I am thinking that the best approach is "How can we make the Low income urban areas to be Safe for all citizens" Safeness is a state of well thriving economic activities free from violence, terrorism, rancor, war, fighting, etc. Is not feasible for all people on earth to enjoy abundance and good state of mind? Is not possible to live and co-habit peacefully with one another without killings, fighting?. I am thinking better a agenda should be proffered in sharing prosperity for all.

Photo of fangqiang fan

thanks for sharing the idea, very nice

Photo of Loan Huynh

Thank you for the share!

Photo of chang liu

Thank you for the sharing, very thoughtful and useful for me.

Photo of Patrick Anucha

Thanks for all your comment @ fangqiang fan @Loan Huynh @chang liu. It is my hope that we should have and live in a better society, than what we have now. My ideas on women safety and more empowerment in low income urban cities will contribute to achieve inclusive better society if it gains the applaud of all.
Here are the links


It is a good gesture of AMPLIFY of UK AID. In addition to it, collaboration by OpenIDEO and IDEO.ORG will add a feather in the Cap of AMPLIFY PROGRAM.


Photo of Michael Osuji

Hi friends,
I have been reading a great deal about this challenge and I almost forgot to send in my idea. Finally, I did and its titled KMDSS program. An acronym for Keeping our Mothers, Daughters and Sisters Safe. I hope the community gets to read it and critique so I can improve it.
I do have a challenge though, it seems I just can't get it published. Each time I click on the publish button, I get redirected away from it. Can any one help with this please.
thanks. M

Photo of chang liu

Hi Michael,
I'm interest in your program, maybe you can connect with the website through the 'connect us' label by the end of each page. the email is
hope to see your challenge soon and good luck.

Photo of Michael Osuji

Hi Chang,
The issue raised has been resolved and my idea has been published. See link

Thanks for your interest and hopefully I get some feedback after this.

Photo of chang liu

OK, got you. Thanks.

Photo of mengyuan chen

Awesome challenge. Yes, it is true that personal safety can be difficult to achieve for lots of women and girls living in low-income urban communities across the world. I think it is better to solve this problem as possible as we can. Our society is better to provide comfortable living environment for women and girls. As other people comments below, it is absolutely true that is important to solve the problem.

Photo of Congmin Liang

Yes, you are right. It is better to solve this problem as possible as we can because everyone deserve a comfortable living environment and have a happy life.

Photo of mengyuan chen

Thank you for agree with my point of view.

Photo of Congmin Liang

Thank you to give this great idea and share here.

Photo of chang liu

women and children is vulnerable group is a long historical issue, we are here today and considering how to protect their rights is because they are more easily to get hurt that the men and adult. Therefore, I think how to let them are not easy to be hurt is the key point to solve the problem,

Photo of Congmin Liang

Yes, I agree with you about the key point is to solve the problem of not to get hurt. But it not that easy to do, because all the people and of course the government should also help them to not get hurt from anywhere. But what also need to think in which way that government could help them.

Photo of chang liu

Thank you for your agreement. Since we are talking about how to help women and girls from low-income urban areas, I consume that maybe government could not be that much help and more none government organization (NGO) should take part in the challenge. With professional experts and workers, well-developed system and construction, some special organization like the Red Cross Society, could truly make a great different on the challenge.

Photo of Hozami Helwani

Poverty could cause the mother to be an ineffective mother.
Ineffective mothering could results in misguided offsprings.
Misguided offsprings could become dysfunctional adults acting violently against other members in the society especially women.
Battered women could fall easily into poverty and the cycles continues.
Break the cycle at any point to achieve progress.

Photo of chang liu

Very interesting cycle and interesting thought, I also think the environment in which a person grow up will have a strong effect on him.

Photo of julie toland

since women make up a majority of population in some of these poverty stricken areas, it would be beneficial to teach to the young women at a young age to travel in "buddy" groups. Teach women the risks of traveling alone versus using the buddy system will show to these women the benefits and dangers of using the "buddy System" vs not using it. Traveling in numbers is always a great idea and limits your chances of being attacked. Even in non poverty stricken areas, there is always stories of women in the local news, talking about being attacked while on a late night jog or walking home from a friends house late at night alone. Teaching women to be smart and travel (especially at night) in pairs or more will reduce their odds of being victim to attack or harassed,. Women groups are also important, holding small gatherings where women can share their stories, experience, and ideas on how to better increase their odds of safety. Women hearing and learning of other experiences will make others see that realness of the situations and show to women that this can happen to them. These groups will also empower women to be strong and be safe

Photo of chang liu

Very good point, Julie. My wife used to like to travel alone during her university years and I was so worried about her every time she was on a trip. But I can do nothing about that because she was in China at that time and I was in the USA. I searched and downloaded many tips about how to protect herself when a young girl tripping alone, and I would like to call her like every two hours to make sure that she was all right. I'm totally with you that young ladies should travel in pairs.

Photo of Michael Osuji

The KMDSS uses an early warning system that predicts when a violent attack on a woman or girl may occur, how to identify situations that may become threatening, and what to do in such a situation. Its proactive, and more focused on preventing.

Photo of Fei Xin

I agree that " personal safety can be difficult to achieve,especially for women and girls. " This is really a big challenge for people . In my opinion, the government should build community center can help women and girls, and ensure the society safety. As we know that the women and girls belongs to the weakness power in society. However, how to create a safety environment for women and girls is really important. So people should solve this situation as soon as possible.

Photo of chang liu

agree with you. but we can not dependent on government for every thing. Thats also why we have more and more non-profit program that excist to institute government's function.

Photo of Amanda Steutel

"Personal safety can be difficult to achieve – giving way to gender-based violence, social isolation or a lack of basic social services."

Focusing on these key terms, 'gender', 'isolation', 'social', 'lack of'....
There is a distinct reoccurring theme of DIVISION.

A very common place for this type of division in even our modern, first-world societies is within the work place. Even in the 21st century, there are harsh realities of gender inequality amongst the most established work environments, where more often than not, women are seen as a lesser of the two - when comparing skills and abilities. This may be because some of those work environments are male dominated, but this is also because of a deeply embedded stigma that can and often is implemented into the minds of the young.

'Girls and boys, during their formative years, are sent endless socialization messages about how they ought to behave in order to have successful outcomes. One simple example with which most of us have some familiarity is crying in response to frustration by girls and "acting out" behavior in response to frustration by boys.' -

These sorts of disillusioned stereotypes manage to infiltrate common understandings and set an underlying concept of what standards there are for men and women in our world and these, although not necessarily something everyone would admit to, are prevalent almost as much in first-world countries as they are in third-world societies.

A better perspective illuminates not only the "cultural workings of gender difference but also the social maintenance of gender inequality." In other words, how assumptions of natural gender differences -- or expectations that attach disparate abilities to men and women and attribute them to nature -- perpetuate workplace gender inequality. (Standford University, Gender News.)

It was not until recently that i discovered that even i myself perpetuated some of these beliefs. As often as i drive and spot roadworks occurring both in inner city suburbs or along country roads and freeways, i will see almost only, if not ONLY men. Given that the conditions of this type of work are harsh and demanding physically, i had never even noticed the complete lack of female presence. But over the past few months, driving around my home city of Melbourne, i am more often confronted with the attendance of female road workers. Although they are mostly holding signs and guiding the traffic congestion, it has begun to develop within me, a new view of the overall work and the criteria of the people who are capable of participation in these types of jobs.

'Be it nature or nurture, by the time most women and men make it to the workplace, their life experiences and expectations have been different in certain gender-based ways. Of course, as human beings, women and men share many of the same experiences and expectations. And as individuals, they are each entirely unique. In each person, all of these experiences and expectations function simultaneously: the group-based differences, the universal human similarities, and the individual attributes and quirks. This makes for a fascinating-and sometimes confusing-human landscape.' - Anne Litwin & Associates

In my most glorious of realizations, it came to me that by actively removing (or there being a void of) women from this particular industry, it was almost in itself encouraging the concept that the role was inaccessible to the female gender and that women would not be capable of, or belong in such an environment. But through the simple introduction of these women in roadwork situations over time, i have now come to see it almost as ludicrous that they were so absent in the past and that, at any point, i could have even considered it an unsafe or unsuitable situation for them.

All this, simply by 'seeing' a woman where i had not seen a woman before.

It is my revelation, my eyes being opened to this particular method of breaking the stereotype for myself - that has made me realize this could be a very valid contribution to the devastating position that women hold in developing countries.

These societies are like the roadwork industry - they are tough and rough and a male-dominated landscape, where consciously or subconsciously (probably both) women are being pushed into the dark corners and are being considered only as weak and incapable.

We need to bring women into the workforce!
Bring them into the male workplace and re-develop the bias mentality that these societies have developed over such long periods of time.
Simply through the introduction of women and through illuminating their strength and their capabilities and showcasing that in so many different conditions, women CAN posses the same skills and abilities, and they CAN provide and sustain the same qualities and possibilities that men can.

Photo of Amanda Steutel

* This may only be a small aspect and hence make a very small difference, but if we start by changing the 'concept' of a woman in these areas, then maybe -slowly- the behavior towards them will change as well.

Photo of Kusum Tamang

Amanda, I completely agree with you. We all know women , well a lot of women are naturally less stronger than men in physique, but that doesn't stop them to join the workforce where they want to, be it a mine or roadworks, or anything. The stereotypical concept of "Woman" and the vision of her always being a damsel in distress has to be taken away. I mean it is nice to be feminine because and soft and delicate because we are and can be. But it doesn't mean we don't have the endurance, the toughness within us. Hasn't there been a research already done that women actually function better in workplaces?
The notion of man and woman has to stop first (which I feel will not ever) since it has always been a very very paternalistic society, whether it is the west or the east.
The first world countries have freedom through which women can grow, not that they don't face some ridiculous remarks at times. (I was there for sometime). And in the developing countries, the lack of empowerment , education and freedom (in the sense of choice) build an immense wall for women to grow, to choose. It is changing very very slowly..but it will take time because every individual community has to be awakened, every generation should be made aware of the idea that we are all the same.
But in the countries so entrenched with religion and tradition, it will take a very long time. This is not just about safety for women, we cannot isolate them and it is indeed imprisoning someone by having people protect them all the time. Women are not diamond necklaces to be safeguarded. They are human beings like any man or third gender.
We should think of long term goals and strategies that will change the community, the individuals, the elder generation to the young ones.
I will be interested to participate in anyway. Because I believe empowerment is the road to sustainability and this is what we need for the well being of women all over the world, giving them freedom, the strength, the confidence. Then they can look after themselves.

Photo of Pushpa Joshi

Girls and women in such low income urban area and developing countries are not secure. sexual harassment and gender based violence are the main thing that has prevent ed the girls and women to develop themselves. being a girl from a south Asian country Nepal, i know and i have seen that how it feels like to be harassed and blamed at the same time. if a girl get raped or harassed, then the people blame the victim saying that the girl provoked it by her short dresses and so on. And if a women get harassed by her own husband, she tolerates it instead of raising voice against it thinking that it might ruin her family prestige. it is also because she is raised by her parents to always respect her husband no matter what. T he silence and financial dependency of women upon her husband has lead to gender based violence and the low status of a women in a family.
This problem should be addressed and minimized as soon as possible. For this, Youths(both male and female) should take initiation by spreading awareness to end gender based violence by various creative activities such as street play, flash mob, interaction programs and so on. They can make a peer group where anyone can share their experience and problem so that they can solve the problem by themselves.
And to make the women financially strong, they can be given vocational training according to their skill, capacities and interests. and it should be done in such a way that they can make some money as well. this kind of thing not only help them financially but brings confidence to do something as well. In this way, the women can get involve in something creative which will definitely help to uplift their standard of life and status in the family.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Pushpa, thanks for this personal and thoughtful perspective.
I know culture matters and makes things more difficult. I have had some female students from South Asia telling me about their relationship with their parents and I felt both angry and sad.
I also feel lucky that while I thought my parents were still quite conservative, there was never an issue about me being a girl and going to school or deciding what to do with my life. Yet, even in a Western like France (where I was born and raised) I could feel that not everyone had a similar perception... and I always felt that being born a girl made things somewhat more difficult for us... but this is also what made us stronger and resilient.
I have always tried (and I think I've succeeded) in making my daughter feel strong and independent ... and wish all girls feel like her... or you for the matter! :-)
I agree with you that this starts early and by a dialogue than engages boys and girls and that's why I'm very proud of Melchior, deciding to start his blog... and I'm very happy that you are willing to participate to the conversation he is trying to start. This might look like a little step but we need to start somewhere.

Keep the great work you are doing with your club in Kathmandu.

Photo of Pushpa Joshi

Thanks Anne for sharing your experiences and thoughts and for the encouragement. :)

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard


Thinking about your call for creative activities to raise awareness, you might want to check the project I need feminism that a friend of Melchior participated to in her high school:

I'm wondering if you and the other girls in your group could do something similar: either on I need feminism, or as Melchior suggested:
I say no to....
or I wish...

You could then post the pictures on the blog.


Photo of Patrick Anucha

Pushpa Joshi,
Thanks for your view and contribution. I am sure we are sharing similar idea. The youths inclusive ( male and female )should all be part of the agenda. I am thrilled . Let us keep working together.

Photo of fangqiang fan

Thanks for the calling for the awareness of the women rights

Photo of Karman Fung

Violent against women should not be acceptable in society, yet in low-income urban areas they have likely grown up with a different mindset. If a girl was raped or assaulted in these areas, what are the consequences? She feels violated and if she shared this with her parents or her friends, they may not have much of a reaction apart from that is part of life, it is a common occurrence. Would men get in trouble for their wrong-doings? There are no officers or justice system in place for these girls to feel they can turn to, so there are no penalties for doing such acts. If men shared the stories of their wrong doings to their friends, it is unlikely they would receive feedback that is unacceptable, they would likely be applaud for their dominance and exerting such power. In fact, if men did not exert their dominance, he may feel the sense that he is “less of a man” for not doing what is socially acceptable in these areas.

Kids needs to be taught at young age by their parents and through school that these behaviours are not acceptable, boys need to be taught to treat the opposite gender with respect and ingrained in their belief that they are stronger and should use this strength to protect women. Men are born to be stronger to take on the more physical enduring work, and offer protection where necessary. Women and girls needs to receive this same message so they know what are the acceptable behaviours. Women need to feel safe and not be in a constant state of fear as they walk through the street. The culture, the norm of what is acceptable behaviours in society in these urban areas has got to change. This can only happen if it begins at the top (with reinforcement at the bottom with the messages delivered to kids in school), the leaders need to a standard of expectation, wrong-doers needs to be penalised. It is only then, society would slowly shift and shed the old thinking of male dominance and accept that girls/women are important and should be cared for with respect. After all, men would not exist if their mother did not give birth to them and we all want to brought up in a safe environment and loved by our parents, not exist due to the result of a violent act.

Photo of Ndonwi Wilfred

Truly speaking, the world has begun buying into what I proposed years behind= that is empowering women and girls and above all youths economically is the first step to combating violence and insecurity as this has the power to reduce rural exodus. Unfortunately, for eight years this message has rather been repulsive as popular opinion holds that I must be a woman Director in CSO for my voice to be heard and supported. Nonetheless, I thank OpenIDEO for this challenge. I believe the time has come for my voice to be heard , upheld and supported through the youth entrepreneurship and community based enterprise development schemes. I am A CEO who believes in pragmatics, and result oriented than paper and workshop resolutions that ends up in naught. Thank you once more, I should be presenting challenge organisational concept that for close to eight years have fallen on rocky ground in the international community, seeming a futile efforts.
As the bible says if we donot become tired in doing good, we will in due course receive a rewards for our works. Voice of Grace Foundation is a Faith based has a totally women -youths holistic integrated community participatory approach to solving a lots of development challenges. You would certainly learn about us in the challenge.
Thank you.
Ndonwi Wilfred
Director, Voice of Grace Foundation

Photo of Andrew Bishop

Maybe replicate initiatives that already is existing within nonprofit organizations that are currently work in high need areas. In Nashville for example, the YWCA of Nashville in Middle Tennessee was interested in preventing violence against girls and empowering them to be successful... preventing them from potential entering abusive relationships early on. Several years ago the YWCA of Nashville launched Girls, Inc. at the YWCA... an affiliate of the national USA-based Girls, Inc. program. Rather than starting a new nonprofit/ new initiative they replicated one with a demonstrated track record for success. I think we often focus on staring something new by founding a n entirely new nonprofit or program... rather than unitizing the resources we already have established and concepts/programs that have a demonstrated track record for the issue we are trying to solve. I think this is in one of the few contexts you'll ever hear me say less innovation and more replication.

Here is a bit more about their program:
Girls Inc. at the YWCA of Nashville & Middle Tennessee is the local affiliate of a national nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold. Girls Inc. provides innovative, girl- centered programming that encourages girls to take healthy risks, resist peer pressure, and discover their true potential. Research-based curricula, delivered by trained, mentoring professionals in a positive all-girl environment equip girls to achieve academically; lead healthy and physically active lives; manage money; navigate media messages; and discover an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Girls Inc. reached 362 Nashville middle school girls in Fiscal Year 2012 with its valuable education and life skills curriculum. We have worked with more than 1,500 girls since becoming the Girls Inc. affiliate in Middle Tennessee in 2008.

Girls Inc. at the YWCA is offered at the following Metro Nashville Public Schools:

East Nashville Magnet Middle School
Gra-Mar Middle School
John Early Magnet Middle School
Wright Middle School

Kirkpatrick Elementary
Warner Elementary

Photo of Owharo Moses

hi the ideal of this initiative is great, am uptimistic i would participate.thank u everyone on this project

Photo of Jamie Beck Alexander

Great to see you here, Moses! I know the community would love to hear about some of the inspiring work that ASPI Ghana is doing to improve the safety of women and children. Click here: and then click on "Add your Idea" to tell us about a project that ASPI Ghana has done that you're excited about or would like help with. Then, you will have the support of all of us on the platform to generate ideas to help move your project forward! Thanks for joining! :)

Photo of Michael Wynn

I once saw a patent for a wind-powered streetlight, with a long lasting led bulp. The whole point was that the streetlight would work even if the electricity grid was down. Also, equal rights and female education better improves the conditions of women. In addition, to local media campaigns. Local television stations and local newspaper should focus on the issue, in addition to dramatic representations of the subject in local films and TV. I am not sure if there is an app or a website that would help, although support forums for women, and perhaps a mobile app of some sort. In the end it often comes down to the attitudes of men brutlized by poverty. Some way of setting up a dialogue with the local men would help, perhaps through the widespread use compulsory theraphy as a sentence for violence and rape against women. Perhaps if there was an app that would make the plight of female victims visible to the men in the sense that they would empathize with the women.. Perhaps stories about violence against women could be included on beer-bottles and boxes?

Photo of Hozami Helwani

I couldn't agree more but what should we offer the males as a reword for not attacking females? relying on awaking their humane side have proven futile many times in the past.
I guess what I am saying is that we need to reword those who refrain from committing bad acts as much as we need to punish those who commit them.

Photo of Trevor Rose

I think as long as religions & cultures are allowed to keep perpetrating crimes against women with impunity in their literature & teachings, this kind of thing will continue ... because the people in favour of it have a delusional belief that a supernatural creator being is on their side, and agrees that women are lesser ... therefore, it stands to reason that in the absence of freedom FROM religion (as opposed to freedom OF religion) we must require that all religions officially renounce those passages of their texts & teachings which promote the view that women are lesser (yes this includes christianity).

No excuses, those views MUST change, it must be official, and it must be reflected in a rewriting of their texts which specifically denies those former beliefs any validity or justification whatsoever. It must be relegated to a corner of our barbaric tribally minded past.

Photo of Erik Peterson

You just promoted the New World Order - Global Communist Government. You want to strip away culture? Do you see what's happened to europe?

Your views are terrifying.

Photo of Trevor Rose

Really? So getting the bible to remove passages that endorse rape, paedophilia, slavery, etc ... these things will lead to less morality & some kind of global conspiracy for control of the entire planet, because (in your view) these really horrific acts endorsed by religion somehow hold the world together & keep it fair & friendly do they?

Are you really sure you want to put your name to a view that stupid in public?

Photo of Josh Chaffin

Trevor don't feed the trolls.

Photo of OpenIDEO

Hi Trevor, Erik and Josh,
As always with our global & diverse community, it's important that we consider the challenges we're tackling through a wide range of lenses and viewpoints. While we may not always agree, we do hope that all of our community members will approach our conversation with respect, openness and understanding. For more tips on the kind of dialogue we're aiming to have in this challenge, check out our Guiding Principles:
Feel free to email us at with any additional questions about our challenge focus or community collaborations.

Photo of Trevor Rose

Criticism of the facts about religion is not being rude ... I already am being way more respectful than it deserves, and have totally argued my case on facts that are IN the very so called "Holy Books" they each proclaim to be the "inerrant word of god" (a being they cannot even prove the existence of" ... and calling Erik's comment stupid is not disrespectful, it is a simple statement of observable fact ... and Josh didn't say anything even remotely close to being out of order at all.

IF OpenIDEO really wants to solve this problem, but you are unwilling to take a firm stance which allows people to offend those who need offending, then you have exactly a snowball's chance in hell of solving this problem ... did you actually read my comment? Did you think about it? ... or are you just trying to appease the complaints of people who are utterly insane & unreasonable AND solely responsible for the cause of the exact problem this challenge is all about.

You want to care about women? Tell people like Erik to suck it up.

Photo of Trevor Rose

Are we really supporting women here, or only if it doesn't offend someone?

Photo of Michelle Weiler

I love this idea. Kudos to the OpenIdeo community and Amplify for willing to take on this challenge. The hardest part will be initiating the paradigm shift that has to take place while remaining culturally sensitive. It is sad to say but in many cultures, this behavior towards and treatment of women is okay. So the question is, what can we do to get people to realize that it is not acceptable and that their cultural norms must change? Increasing the safety of women goes far beyond additional lighting and self protection. We have to find ways to reach the hearts and minds of both the men and women, the boys and girls to change their mindset about the way women are treated within their society.

Photo of Trevor Rose

well said ... I may not be as diplomatic ... but then I do not believe these kinds of abuse of women deserve respect & diplomacy ... that I reserve for things that are not so abhorrent ... and if someone's feathers get ruffled because I question their abuse & call it what it is ... good!

Photo of Michael Wynn

@ Trevor Rose.
I agree that religion is bad. However, there is little chance that a country will ditch their religion just like that, so you must be c onstructive and work within the system. If religion is the cause of the bad attitudes towards women, religious scholars with a more moderate gender view should be promoted and so on.

Photo of Trevor Rose

@Michael - I am going to have to disagree with you that compromise with a fundamentally flawed delusional belief system which is compromising EVERY other thing we do is "constructive" ... no it isn't

Photo of Rosalyn Kwan

This is such a global issue and I am really exited to see all the responses and ideas that will be brought up here!

I agree with the comments below that mentioned educating the younger generation about values and equality is vital! It is recognised that their families may not be around to be a guiding light, therefore it is up to the schools that they attend (which should have strict attendance rolls) and the communities in which they live in (making use of community centres), Last week, I attended a volunteer program that enabled me and others to revive a local community centre by planting plants, painting the walls (to make it look more attractive) and to build a shed for the gardener. This idea could be introduced to communities in low income urban areas for the kids to participate in after school. This allows them to be the ones who build and recreate these community centres, they will have a strong sense of belonging and will build friendships with other children who take part. It will be their new 'hangout' location hopefully.

For people who work, an idea to overcome this would be for companies in close proximity to compile information regarding where people live, and for them to walk home, catch public transport together, or organise a company minibus to take employees home (this cost can be shared among all the companies that participate). They can have 'buddies' to go home with.

I think lighting helps as well. On my street there are some sections that are brighter than others and I do feel safer where areas are brighter. If it can be afforded by the community then I think that this should be a high priority - having corporate assistance will be priceless though.

Photo of julie toland

I feel that since it is hard to establish a lighting system or security call for help system in low income urban areas, especially in third world countries. I feel that the best way to prevent violence would be to teach it to both the boys and girls by incorporating it into their school curriculum at a young age. By showing the young boys and girls results of violence and explaining to them why it is wrong, it will cause the children to take on anti violent view at a young age. Although a lot less likely, low income communities can establish youth community centers where children can go and have a safe place to hang out and a center that promotes anti violence.

Photo of Mitchell Weiss

This study and challenge is necessary if not for anything else but to call attention to a growing problem. Women are no longer respected or empowered as they once were and it is a dangerous world. I think a lot of it starts with many of the world's societies being demanding that core relationships and values are put on the back burner and that is simply unacceptable. Looking forward to reading and contributing to the ideas posted within this challenge.

Photo of Congmin Liang

Awesome challenge! And I also like what Mengyuan said in her post, "it is true that personal safety can be difficult to achieve for lots of women and girls living in low-income urban communities across the world. I think it is better to solve this problem as possible as we can. Our society is better to provide comfortable living environment for women and girls. As other people comments below, it is absolutely true that is important to solve the problem. " I am totally agree with her.

Photo of chang liu

considerable issue

Photo of Patty Rangel

What saved my life in India when the bus broke down after the driver decided to take a "short cut" from the Taj Mahal to New Delhi through back-roads, was a head lamp. I bought it for Burning Man and took it to India to read books at night and not wake up my friends. It turns out that the bus broke down as the sun was setting. The driver tried for 2 hours to change the tire in the dark and would refuse to listen or speak to me (must have been a gender/cultural issue). Meanwhile, a few men had been hiding behind trees and bushes watching us, and as we waiting, Dr. Chandra Khan (who spoke Hindi) heard them and understood what they were saying. The plans were to take out the two men in the group and take the females as their wives. Needless to say, this made me turn the bus driver around to look me in the face as I yelled "open up the back of the bus NOW". Moments later I was taking the headlamp out of my suitcase. The men came out from behind the trees and stared at the headlamp. I told the bus driver to translate for me and say "I will give you this technology if you help us change the tire". A little boy I hadn't noticed ran off and came back with his father. Within 15 minutes we changed the tire and I placed the headlamp on the little boy's head. We drove away as everyone crowded around the boy and his father in amazement.

Photo of Patty Rangel

Absence of light at night in many third world countries is an issue for safety. Perhaps a solar-powered head lamp (as batteries can be expensive and hard to come by in those places) could be of help. I've seen a small version of this that fits in the palm of my hand. It's important that it be small, light-weight, concealable, and provide a hands-free experience. I'd add some type of pepper-spray for women having to walk long distances at night.
Other options are to encourage walk-pools (groups of women walking together) as there is security in numbers.

Photo of Laureene Reeves Ndagire

Abosolutely Patty, i think that initiates that encourage education through 'safety shelters' are good, and continuous education of both young men and women should be encourage
I read somewhere that 'darkness gives courage'..imagine how many crimes could be averted simply by having street lights or lighting for women's own safety?

Photo of Lalitha Ragupathy

Hi all,

Absolutely new to the forum and thought of something I saw while travelling in Hyderabad, India. Female workers who worked in the HiTec city area (mostly MNCs and core pool of call centre/sales rep work) used to travel from home to their offices via auto-rickshaw.

Now there can be a wide variation in the quality and safety of these services from corporate booked auto services, local auto rickshaw drivers known to workers or commonly taking a chance and getting into one of these vehicles for the journey to and from work (often evening shifts ending hours after midnight due to the time discrepancy of the markets they served).

Perhaps lobbying some of the large MNCs in these business parks especially in developiong nations (taking advantage of low-cost labour) to set up an authorised system to reduce the risk for their female staff? Or tendering contracts to transportation providers in a highly competitive market with contractual agreements (to seed the idea in the drivers' minds about what is expected, standards of behaviour and of course a positive outcome in terms of secured income flow if they meet these standards)?

Just some thoughts...

Photo of Timila Dhakhwa

If the team is still in Nepal, this might be a good organization to visit:
They do good work in women empowerment. If the team is interested, I can put you in touch with some of the people working there.

Photo of Patty Rangel

I would also suggest a communication "hub" in different countries, where women can come in to tell their stories and share them with the world. In places where shelter is a commodity, women face violence on the streets, If there could be a community center where they could go with their children, find safety and participate in a DIY lab, they can stimulate their minds and get inspired to create locally appropriate solutions and technologies.

Photo of Shukti Ramkiran

An amazing initiative... it was truly required! Great job!!

Photo of Eugene Johnson

Great challenge. As a father with two daughters, this is an important problem to solve.

Photo of Dan Nelson

I have heard it said that "locks only keep honest people honest"... I think that fear of ones criminal actions being made public keeps dishonest people honest.

What if we could build off world connectivity to make criminals and abusers think twice about their actions?

What if we could enable women and girls to "scare" their abusers into equality by having a platform that could put crime "on the front page of the -local equivalent of the- NY times", making their attackers think twice about crime?

There are people who believe in good in ALL parts of the world. I bet we could help them take action if we could make them simultaneously aware of the injustice happening to people around them everyday.

Photo of Ashley Jablow

So glad you're chiming in Dan! If you haven't already, I'd encourage you to add these questions to a Research post. They're all really interesting thought-starters that will get more eyeballs on them – and conversation – if they're posted over there :)

Photo of Dan Nelson

Thank you Ashley. I am really new to OpenIDEO and I appreciate your help!

Photo of Trevor Rose

I think that is a part of it Dan, but you also have very deep / embedded / entrenched cultural & religious views which have caused both an individual & collective delusion in which the value of women is equated with property (or at least a "lesser" human being), and within those cultural contexts, they are not very afraid of being exposed at all ... in fact, they can still stone women to death, and the entire Saudi royal family & all their wealth backs this extremist version of their culture / religion. Similarly, even in the middle of supposedly "decent" society, you have people who form small groups where they do unspeakably evil things to other people (sex slave trading etc.), and then of course you have the cases where right next to neighbours who might be opposed, and even within a family who might be opposed, you have a single family member able to build an underground bunker & hold his own daughter (&/or some other women) captive, including getting them pregnant ... with no one the wiser.

There is an individual & collective delusion / psychosis here that needs to be dealt with, and until it is, the problem will persist without any doubt.

Photo of Leandra Gordon

One thing I've noticed in Australia is solar powered real estate sign lighting. ( If this could be provided cheaply to the third worls it would go a long way to making areas safer. It would also not rely on existing electrical infrastructure.

Photo of Julie Reiser

This is a great idea that also has the potential to empower women--especially if the production/manufacture of the solar lights could happen at the community level and create jobs in the very cities where they would be installed. I'm not a techie, so I have no idea about the complexity of their manufacture, so it might be pie-in-the-sky to even ask if the design of the solar lights could be simplified enough to be assembled in cottage industries. They could also do simple installations and earn free lights for their neighborhoods.

Photo of Leandra J Gordon

Thanks Julie - I've set up the idea in the research bit of OpenIdeo - it doesn't look very shmick but if you could put comments in there we might be able to get an idea going.