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Using technology to create safer cities for girls

Using technology to create safer cities for girls

In Delhi and Hanoi, girls are using Minecraft to redesign their neighbourhoods.

Technology is everywhere around us and increasingly being used to create opportunities, and solve challenges for girls and young women around the world. Across Plan International’s programmes we are exploring different ways on how to best use technology including an exciting and innovative use of the popular computer game Minecraft to help create safer cities for girls.

Two young people who work with us in the UK, Ambrin and Michael from our Youth Advisory Panel  (YAP), recently attended the launch of the Department for International Development’s Strategic Vision for Gender Equality. They shared how Plan International has been supporting girls in Delhi and Hanoi are using Minecraft to create safer local spaces as part of our Safer Cities programme.

Creating safer cities for girls

By 2030, it is estimated that 700 million girls will live in cities. Cities can both be some of the most dangerous places for girls to live, and also a place where some of the widest range of opportunities are available, so it is increasingly important that these places are made accessible and safe. Safer Cities is a Plan International programme developed with UN-Habitat and Women in Cities International.

It is currently running in five cities: Cairo, Delhi, Hanoi, Kampala and Lima.

The programme aims to make girls feel safer in the cities they live in by allowing them to inform the work that happens there, to ensure any changes reflect their own experiences.

Designing interactive solutions

In Hanoi and Delhi, girls taking part in Safer Cities are now using Minecraft as an interactive tool.

They start by going on safety walks around their local neighbourhood and use seven key indicators to consider how safe they feel in each area, including whether they can see and be seen, hear and be heard, and whether they can get away and get help.

The girls then use Minecraft to recreate the neighbourhood as a virtual world, where they can design and build solutions to the problems they’ve identified, such as increased street lighting, separate sex toilets, covers for gutters at the side of communal areas and bins to decrease littering.

The girls are then able to prioritise the changes they want to see and pitch these solutions to local government officials to implement in their neighbourhood.

 It was really great to be able to represent Plan and youth voices at the DFID gender strategy launch, and to be able to see all the amazing people working on gender issues in DFID and in other organisations. - Ambrin

We’ve already started to see changes in Hanoi based on the solutions designed by the girls such as the addition of lighting in a street tunnel. The technology used in our Safer Cities is only one example of the way technology can be used to change the lives of girls, in cities and in rural areas, around the world and we’re excited to see how technology will be used in our programmes over the next few years.

Find out more about DfID’s new Strategic Vision and what it means for adolescent girls in this blog post by Kathleen Spencer Chapman, Head of Policy, Advocacy and Research for Plan International UK.

Safer Cities

Making girls a priority in city planning

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