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Maya Apa: A Life Changing App in Bangladesh

by Altap Hossen Lalon

· Asia,Health,Human Rights,Technology,Women

Maya Apa, Sister Maya in English, is an electronic messaging platform of mobile application that connects a user with expert advice, accessible at Smartphone on 24/7 basis. The aim of the app is to provide quality information and counseling services to the disadvantaged people of Bangladesh, especially women. The slogan of the app is ‘Help at Hand’. The developers are female and they are motivated to develop the app to empower women through technology.

Source: The service provider’s website.

Photo from Maya Apa website

The app has a vast network of experts covering a wide range of topics, while around 80 percent of services are related to health. The service is built on volunteerism, free of cost.The major motivation of the volunteer experts is their determination to make society equal for all by reducing information gap and enhancing knowledge sharing. Anyone who is interested in contributing and has an expertise in relevant areas may be enlisted to offer the service after completing scrutiny from Maya side. Once a question is asked, it is redirected to relevant experts and answers are given within three hours. Maya Apa adds value by providing a real-time option through an intuitive and secure messaging service by keeping the service receivers anonymous. These queries are delivered via typed message, voice recording and attaching images. It provides service in Bengali, native language of Bangladesh and English. The app is now acting as a personal digital well-being assistant.

The app was launched in February 2015 by in partnership with Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), one of the leading NGOs in the world that works for poor, landless, rural women, enabling them to generate income and improve their standards of living. At present, more than 10,000 users access it in a day and 60 percent of the users are women.

In Bangladesh, Readymade Garments Industry (RMG) contributes to more than 80 percent of its total export and around 4 million people work in RMG sector, where more than 85 percent are women. But the people working for the sector have no proper education at all because they mostly come from unprivileged families of Bangladesh. Moreover, they lack access to health services, better nutrition, legal advice and general knowledge of life and living. In this connection, the service providers, Maya Apa and BRAC, are now working with 50,000 women under a pilot phase to provide the said help service which has a plan to reach 4 million garment workers in the end.

Doctor, lawyer and therapist can often be out of reach due to financial, socio-cultural and geographic barriers, particularly in countries like Bangladesh. The App helps the community to get expert advice and people are now better informed. Maya Apa is a light in the dark especially for the women who have barriers and social taboos to take medical advice physically. This app creates a greater access to information and services for women all over the country. In future, it could be an effective tool to change the society by changing the life and living of the society.

You may download this app from Google Play Store and can take the generous service from any country at free of cost.

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