Please briefly describe the initiative, what issue or challenge it aims to address and specify its objectives. (300 words maximum)
The initiative aims at providing health information for women and multipliers for people working with refugee or migrant women. During the refugee movement from 2016 on, a lot of women and girls came to Austria. We realized that the specific health information about women´s bodies such as the menstrual cycle, birth control, pregnancy, psychological and physical health need to be made accessible for women. Furthermore a lot of the women that came to Austria as new citizens or refugees suffer from female genital mutilation or other forms of physical or psychological violence. For these reasons the necessary health information should be provided in the mother tongue of these women because even though they were learning German, understanding the Austrian health care system and knowing about your rights to good health care, could not be assumed.
After some research and qualitative interviews with the target group we realized furthermore that the information provided in a written way does not meet its target because a lot of women and girls were not able to read in their mother tongue. That is the main reason the project was then realized as audio files.
These audio files were firstly created in Arabic and then broadcasted in cooperation with a local Viennese radio - radio Orange - and the femal health institute of Vienna - FEM Süd Gesundheitszentrum. Now they are still online and widely used by multipliers such as pedagogues, doctors, social workers etc.
Later, the information was translated to Farsi and Somali, because these languages were dearly needed by newly arriving women.
Now we are still planning to broaden the project by including languages such as Russian and Chinese.
Please explain how the initiative is linked to the selected category. (100 words maximum)
The project perfectly aligns with "Promoting Gender-responsive Public Services" because it helps both women and public services to share and gain information about the health care system for women in Vienna, Austria. It furthermore leads to more awareness and information about possible help with regard to FGM and other forms of violence against women and girls. Information about ones health is also key for empowerment, which the City of Vienna strives for in educating its citizens.
a. Please specify which SDGs and target(s) the initiative supports and describe concretely how the initiative has contributed to their implementation. (200 words maximum)
The SDGs 3, 5 and 10, good health, gender equality and less inequalities perfectly fit the project because it aims at supporting women in difficult times and in times of their normal health care. Good health also provides women with better outlooks for jobs and other areas in their lives, it also tries to reduce inqualities between women that have been longer in Austria and women that arrived later (especially with regard to FGM). It also helps women to feel empowered about their own bodies and rights.
b. Please describe what makes the initiative sustainable in social, economic and environmental terms. (100 words maximum)
The initative is both sustainable in social terms, as the information does not get old and can be updated easily, it is sustainable in economic terms because the costs of recording audio files are minimal as well as providing them through different platforms. The initiative is sustainable in environmental terms because audio files do not use any natural ressources or create waste.
a. Please explain how the initiative has addressed a significant shortfall in governance, public administration or public service within the context of a given country or region. (200 words maximum)
There was no real shortfall in the public administration, just a necessary step to change and create a new way to provide women with different mother tongues with the necessary information about the Viennese health care system.
b. Please describe how your initiative addresses gender inequality in the country context. (100 words maximum)
Gender inequality is more often than not owed to inequal oppurtunities to work, information and safety for your own body and mind. The projects educates women about the rights they have to live a life without any violence and that their bodies are exactly normal as they are and do not need to be changed (FGM) or that they do not need to suffer from any violence. It also helps the next generation of girls to live healthier and safer lives.
c. Please describe who the target group(s) were, and explain how the initiative improved outcomes for these target groups. (200 words maximum)
The target group were and still are women who speak Arabic, Farsi and Somali. A lot of these women are not able to read so the audio files also helpes a lot of multipliers such as social or health care workers to find a means to communicate better with their clients. Women in communities where the provided language is spoken, would also send the audio files to other women. As health care such as menstrual cycles, birth control etc. are often stigmatised, the audio files provide a discreet way of getting the necessary information about your female health.
a. Please describe how the initiative was implemented including key developments and steps, monitoring and evaluation activities, and the chronology. (300 words)
In cooperation with radio Orange and FEM Süd, the first audio files in Arabic were broadcasted via radio and sent via the health gremia of Vienna to doctors, nurses and other health multipliers. We received a lot of good feedback how the project both helped the women and the professionals to provide women wiht the necessary health information. After a year we were asked to also make the audio files in Farsi, which we did. Later on we also heard from multipliers such as midwives that a lot of Somali women suffer from FGM and little knowledge about the Viennese health care system, so we created the audio files in Somali. Now we want to translate them to Russian and Chinese with more focus on information how a women can live a safe live away from any form of violence.
b. Please clearly explain the obstacles encountered and how they were overcome. (100 words)
There were no real obstacles except that the female body and its health is still stigmatised and treated not with the care and respect it deserves. Especially women suffering from FGM face both challenges from their original communities to undergo FGM and at the same time challenges with the societies they reach, where FGM is frowned upon. So it was difficult only to find the right kind of "language", meaning tone and sensitivity to provide the information in a respectfull and helpful way.
a. Please explain in what ways the initiative is innovative in the context of your country or region. (100 words maximum)
Bevore our project, there was no health information available as an audio file. Especially not in Arabic, Farsi or Somali. So the innovative aspect of the audio health files for women is undeniable.
b. Please describe, if relevant, how the initiative drew inspiration from successful initiatives in other regions, countries and localities. (100 words maximum)
It was created out of need and we still hope other cities and countries follow.
c. If emerging and frontier technologies were used, please state how these were integrated into the initiative and/or how the initiative embraced digital government. (100 words maximum)
Only "simple" audio files were used which were sent via links because we didnt want to be "too" upfront in our use of technology (such as QR codes or podcasts) because refugee or migrant women often did not have the means or technological equipment.
a. Has the initiative been transferred and/or adapted to other contexts (e.g. other cities, countries or regions) to your organization’s knowledge? If yes, please explain where and how. (200 words maximum)
Not yet, but we very much hope that other regions will follow. The City of Vienna however realized the quality of the project and we got an health award for it
b. If not yet transferred/adapted to other contexts, please describe the potential for transferability. (200 words maximum)
The project is very easy to be transferred and slightly adapted to a number of cities and countries. Health care systems are complicated in every respective country, and now arrivers, especially women, should be provided with the necessary information. The project is very cost efficient and easy to manage with regard to the specific health care system. Pregnancies, birth control, the menstrual cycle as well as the fight against FGM are the same in every country.
a. What specific resources (i.e. financial, human or others) were used to implement the initiative? (100 words maximum)
Some financiel resources to record the audio files as well as a salary for the speakers of the audio files who speak in their mother tongue. The information for the translators was provided by health experts who did this free of charge and because of the necessity of it. The radio and health care center were also happy to provide their help free of charge.
b. Please explain what makes the initiative sustainable over time, in financial and institutional terms. (100 words maximum)
It will be sustainable or slightly adaptable because the health care syst4em does not change that fast, if it does the project can be adapted. Women´s health is also sustainable with regard to the issues women face.
a. Was the initiative formally evaluated either internally or externally?
Please describe how the initiative is inscribed in the relevant institutional landscape (for example, how is it situated with respect to relevant government agencies, and how have these institutional relationships been operating). (200 words maximum)
It is situated in the department for women in the City of Vienna, which is a municipal department.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development puts emphasis on collaboration, engagement, partnerships, and inclusion. Please describe which stakeholders were engaged in designing, implementing and evaluating the initiative and how this engagement took place. (200 words maximum)
These audio files were firstly created in Arabic and then broadcasted in cooperation with a local Viennese radio - radio Orange - and the femal health institute of Vienna - FEM Süd Gesundheitszentrum. Now they are still online and widely used by multipliers such as pedagogues, doctors, social workers etc. In cooperation with radio Orange and FEM Süd, the first audio files in Arabic were broadcasted via radio and sent via the health gremia of Vienna to doctors, nurses and other health multipliers.
Please describe the key lessons learned, and how your organization plans to improve the initiative. (200 words maximum)
We cannot expect everybody to be able to read or understand the complex structures of health care systems, especially as for new citizens such as refugees or migrants.
We plan to create a little brochure with QR codes to be sent to communities and to translate the audio files in Russian and Chinese.