Advocates and activists on Violence Against Women were honoured at the Avon Communications Awards: Speaking Out About Violence Against Women. The awards, handed out on February 29th, are part of the Avon Speak Out Against Domestic Violence Program. Actress Reese Witherspoon and Avon Chairman Andrea Jung handed out the awards in front of an audience of over 1,400 activists, supporters and advocates at the Second World Conference of Women’s Shelters in Washington.

The Avon Foundation funded a global survey asking about problems and victories in communications campaigns working to reduce violence against women, and asking participants to nominate stand out campaigns in four different categories. From this a judging panel selected winners from nineteen finalists. Four non-governmental organisations were given awards for their fantastic communications campaigns; Rwanda Women Network, YWCA Canada, the U.K’s Women’s Aid, and India’s Breakthrough.

YWCA Canada won the “Innovation Award”, for their new “Safety Siren” campaign and partnered app. Their iphone app, which can be downloaded in French or English, and offers users a unique siren that can be activated in different ways. Activation of the siren automatically sends an email to a user determined SMS contact giving approximate details of the sender’s location, and initiates an outgoing emergency call to a preset number. The app also contains well researched and valuable information written with young women in mind. This includes a library of women’s health resources, questions and answers focussed on dating and social interaction, tips on safety and wellbeing and information on local and national health and crisis resource centres.

Information about the other three winners and more details on the event can be found here.

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