When the Avon Foundation for Women and the Institute of Medicine announced its End Violence@Home global contest challenging people to develop easy-to-use mobile or web-based applications to help prevent violence against women and children, we knew we had to act.
FourByNorth assembled a team of designers, researchers, and colleagues in the fields of domestic violence and child pedagogy to undertake a comprehensive and unconventional approach to an app challenge. Rather than focusing on the technological or novel aspect of the competition, we sought to better understand the origins and nature of domestic violence, particularly in Turkey. Our entry, “Çocuktan Al Haberi” (“Wisdom of the Children”), was built on the premise that change can start with something as simple as language. As is the case in many languages, Turkish includes expressions that condone violence or reinforce gender roles and conventional social mores, such as “don’t spare a baby from your wife’s belly or rod from her back.” Çocuktan Al Haberi offers a Mad Libs-like activity in which users can suggest words to create new sayings, such as “don’t spare food from a women’s belly and sunscreen from her back.” Although people of any age can participate, the creators developed a look and activities to appeal to children with the intent of instilling healthy values at an early age. Participants can upload new versions of old sayings and site visitors can vote on their favorites. The site also will direct people to resources if they are victims of violence. Avon and IOM received entries from 9 countries, and FourByNorth was proud to announce that we received First Place in the challenge. We are currently working with our team members to further develop and launch ÇAH in Turkey. A demo version of Çocuktan Al Haberi is online in English and Turkish at http://www.cahtr.org/. A copy of the presentation given at the November 14th webinar to announce winners and explain the project can be found at http://www.slideshare.net/eekatpants/4xn-winning-entry-avon-global-app-challenge.