How do marginalised groups to find safe, community-friendly and inclusive places and services online?
Despite the emergence of this digital age - with increased access to the internet, search engines and social media - people living on the margins of society often have great difficulty finding information to make informed decisions.
Sadly, not all services and places are welcoming. The experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or intersex (LGBTI) people tells us that finding a suitable health provider, social service, school or workplace can be difficult and labor intensive. The search for appropriate services are often marred by stigma, discrimination and other structural barriers. Barriers are reinforced if you are LGBTI and an ethnic or racial minority, living with disabilities, elderly, living with HIV, or a migrant or refugee. This situation makes it difficult for people to maintain well-being and livelihoods.
The experience of diverse people within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) provides a useful insight into level of inclusiveness of service providers and places.
We want to put a system for rating the inclusiveness of services and places into your hands. In order to achieve this our objectives for this year include:
- Engage communities on inclusion using mobile apps to gather and share local data about service providers and place that are inclusive of LGBTI and other groups; and,
- Implement our 3-year research agenda by analysing available data to gain insights on how to increase the accessibility of friendly places or inclusive services.
We use social enterprise practices to sustain our work. We do this by offering consultancy services to community groups and non-government organisations for strengthening the use of information communication technology (ICT) to achieve organisational goals and missions. We have helped organisaitons in Asia, South America, Middle East, North Africa and the U.S
Why and Where Is This Problem Prevalent?
Southeast Asia is a hostile place for LGBTI people:
- Trans people often fear rejection in job interviews on the basis of their appearance; where can they find employers who have inclusive recruitment practices?
- Lesbian parents look for schools committed to combating bullying where learning environments are diverse and inclusive; where can parents find these schools?
- Gay men look for clinics and hospitals that provide sexual health services without prejudice; where can they find these facilities?
Data that we have gathered from Bangkok, Jakarta, Indonesia, Manila and Singapore affirms the crisis that LGBTI people now face. Communities across Asia are struggling to achieve the recognition and equality that has been established for LGBTI in the West.
LGBTI people share the same struggle for recognition and inclusion faced by other minority groups in towns and cities around the world.
How your support will make a difference?
Your support is an investment into more inclusive societies. Together we can build an app that gives users access to a database of inclusive places and services.
What we do for LGBTI people in Southeast Asia can help millions of people around the world.
Because we are a social enterprise we are committed to sharing our data insights with other community organisations to help strengthen their advocacy.
Of primary importance to us is helping people find health and social support services - including HIV testing and treatment, mental health and counselling, legal assistance, accommodation, education and employment You may know someone who needs help. An app like this will help amplify important knowledge that can sometimes save lives.
This is a opportunity for you to make a positive impact in your own community and around the globe.
What makes us proud
Our Supporters. Since 2011 B-Change has been building upon investments from:
- Ashoka Philippines
- Levi Strauss Foundation
- the United Nations Development Programme
- UNICEF Indonesia
- and a handful of community-minded individuals.
We are grateful for the technical advice provided by organisations such as Advocates for Youth, Oogachaga, International Planned Parenthood and OutRight Action International. This collective support has enabled us to draw talent, gather data, build partnerships and infrastructure that places us at the intersection of health, technology and human rights.
Early evidence of impact: Although we are a start-up we have encouraging signs that our work is headed in the right direction. Our team are inspired by two instances where our engagement work has empowered young people to change the world.
Darius Lim produced ‘The Story of Darius’ with a grant from the 'Stories of Being Me' web-video initiative mustered the courage to come out to his family as a result of producing his film. Since then Darius has furthered his LGBT advocacy by becoming a contributor to Asia’s Element Magazine and sharing his experiences working as a volunteer with Pink Dot Singapore.
Cha Roque also produced an autobiographical episode with a grant from the 'Stories of Being Me' web-video initiative. Since then Cha increased her visibility as a vocal advocate of inclusion of LGBT families in the Philippines having appeared in national media, organising community events and forums and taking to social media to advance an advocacy issue that is close to her heart.