“Maya aims to become a positive brand that empowers women in Bangladesh from all walks of life. With the web as the platform, Maya aims to reach women both online and offline through multiple channels”
Maya aims to help women, their families, and their communities make better choices.
There are 2 areas are largely under served for women in Bangladesh right now - access to
- information, and
Maya is a website... and so much more
The Maya.com.bd website is the foundation and a means by which we can reach a certain segment of women directly, but the offline element is just as important. If you’re interested in finding out more on the Maya project, please have a look at the rest of our “About” section. As always, we love feedback, so please get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org
The Maya Story
Ivy grew up in Bangladesh before moving to the UK for university and her career. When she was pregnant with Ameena Ivy quickly realised the importance of being able to access information about her pregnancy and health in general. In London, Ivy was made aware of multiple online resources that gave her a mix of factual information as well as connections with other women going through similar situations. Such resources empowered Ivy with the knowledge necessary to understand her situation better, ask the doctors the right questions and ultimately help her make the most informed choices.
Ivy felt that women in Bangladesh should be able to get a hold of this kind of information and share their experiences in a way that is tailored for the nuances of life in Bangladesh, and the idea for Maya was born. Maya is named after Ivy's mother who recovered from breast cancer in 2009.
Maya is Akin to a Social Enterprise:
We believe in the benefits of running a 'for-profit' organization, although our overarching aim is not the pursuit of profits. While we want Maya to be profitable so as to be self sustainable, our aim is to manage Maya by focusing on serving our user community and giving them the best experience possible.
Women in Bangladesh, whether in rural or urban areas, simply do not have access to quality information that will help them make the best choices with regards to their health and their daily lives. Access to information resources to do with maternity and child health are even more pertinent. Moreover, women in Bangladesh find it difficult to get advice about their health beyond their family.
As a result, Bangladeshi women are not always aware of what his happening with their health and the options that are available to them. The problem is not only about health, serious issues in society such as Domestic Violence appear to be more prevalent rather than diminishing. Finally, women do not have a platform where they can share their opinions and experiences freely and Maya aims to become the first brand in Bangladesh that women can immediately associate themselves with.
To summarise, access the information and a shared community are two highly underserved areas for women in Bangladesh, and Maya is first organization looking to address this by leveraging the power of the internet and online/offline technology integrations.
A Closer Look at Women in Urban Areas
Women living in urban areas of Bangladesh face unique challenges in their day-to-day lives. Urban women form a core target group for both Maya online and offline touch points. These women mostly already have access to Internet, will soon access the Internet or are connected to women who regularly access the Internet. This group in particular is currently underserved by local web resources. Despite accelerating internet consumption, particularly on global web properties such as Facebook, and an active demand for seeking out information online, such as searching for maternity related content, there currently does not exist any local website dedicated to their needs.
Below, are some data points that highlight the gaps in knowledge and awareness among women in Bangladesh.
50% of women in Bangladesh do not seek medical advice during pregnancy (World Bank, 2008)
80% of births are not attended by a skilled birth attendant (World Bank, 2008)
70% of women with maternal complications did not seek help (World Bank, 2008)
70% of women are mothers by age 24 (BUHS: USAID, 2006)
25% of women do not receive antenatal care (BUHS: USAID, 2006)
60% of women do not receive postnatal care (BUHS: USAID, 2006)
50% of women are victims of physical abuse from their partners. 90% of these victims did nothing about the abuse (BUHS: USAID, 2006)
“When you educate a woman you educate a family…”
What is Maya.com.bd?
Maya.com.bd is the first website dedicated to empowering women in Bangladesh and is the launchpad for the Maya brand to reach women both online and offline.
How will Maya Work?
Maya will help women in Bangladesh make better choices by taking two key steps:
1. Deliver high quality, curated information that matters to women
- Partnerships: The Maya website contains extensive information on womens’ health obtained through partnership with one of the world’s most high quality, reputed and trusted sources, UK National Health Service (NHS). The content and interactive tools, which exist in text, video and rich media format, will be provided in English and translated across the board into Bangla. Developing further partnerships with high quality, useful content providers is key to developing Maya as the best information source for women.
- Editorial: The Maya team will also be dedicated to continually generating quality, unique content for its users by creating its own editorial content, commissioning bespoke articles and inviting contributions from experts and prominent women. An example of this is the “Traditions” section in the Maya website which discuss some of the most popular local customs to do with motherhood.
2. Create a space for women to share wisdom, experiences and make their voices heard
- User Generated Content (UGC): Maya will bring women together to form Bangladesh’s first dedicated female community online. All UGC will be brought together into the proprietary forum entitled “Maya Voice”. As the name suggests, this platform is designed give women a voice in society. Women will blog about topics that are important to them, whether light-hearted discussions around movies, beauty and fashion or more serious issues such as domestic violence. By engaging users with an array of content, tools and resources, Maya will encourage women to share their experiences and opinions on the site and learn from each other. Maya Voice will help raise awareness for their personal stories and escalate to appropriate bodies if necessary. In this way, the Maya Voice community will also act as a powerful mechanism to learn what is top-of-mind for women in Bangladesh and generate much needed discussion on important topics that have till now been largely under served.
- Repository: One of the common problems with outreach events that take place is that often the dialogue that takes place is rarely followed up on and becomes lost. Maya is working to build key partnerships with local NGOs and social enterprises to act as the repository to capture the discussion from such events and allow it to continue to ‘live’ online. By doing this Maya will be enhancing the effectiveness of many existing programs directed towards empowering women.