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Bytes for All, Pakistan, Receives Avon Global Communications Awards for Exemplary Material to Combat Violence Against Women

Take Back The Tech wins Innovative Campaign Award, receives Avon Foundation grant to continue work on strengthening women’s use of technology to raise awareness and combat Violence Against Women in Pakistan.

Islamabad, Pakistan (March 8th, 2013) – Bytes for All, Pakistan, received one of five 2nd Avon Communications Awards: Speaking Out About Violence Against Women yesterday for their campaign ‘Take Back The Tech’. Actress and Avon Foundation for Women Ambassador Salma Hayek Pinault presented the awards during an adjunct event to the 57th session of the Commission of the Status of Women at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

Bytes for All, Pakistan, was one of the five global organizations to receive the prestigious award, which recognizes outstanding communications campaigns that are helping change communities, policies, institutions, and behaviors to end violence against women. The winning organizations will each receive an Avon Foundation grant to fund the continuation of their work.

“People are willing to speak out, but they don’t always know how to recognize the signs of abuse or how best to intervene,” said Avon Products, Inc. CEO Sheri McCoy. “Avon believes communications and education will help bystanders become interveners and help break the cycle of violence, which is why the Avon Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program is honoring these Communications Awards winners.”

An international panel of judges selected Take Back The Tech from more than 425 submissions to the Communications X-Change by 119 organizations in 46 countries, ranging from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. The Communications X-Change is a digital global communications library that enables organizations and advocates throughout the world to find, share, and learn from the best communications material focused on ending violence against women and children. The Communications X-Change was developed and is managed by Futures Without Violence and funded by Avon Foundation.

“We congratulate the award winners for their strategic and innovative communications efforts,” said Futures Without Violence Founder and President Esta Soler. “Communications provide powerful tools for changing attitudes and behaviors—raising awareness, sounding the alarm, and spreading news about what to do and where to go for help in abusive situations.”

The awards coincide with International Women’s Day, and the Commission of the Status of Women, which this year focuses on the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls. The Commission of the Status of Women drew nearly 6,000 representatives from UN Member States, UN entities and NGOs from around the world for a two-week session.

Bytes for All, Pakistan would like to acknowledge our partner organizations namely Association for Progressive Communications, Internews and for the campaign in 2012. Furthermore, this global recognition was not possible without great contributions and courageous support by all Take Back The Tech campaigners in Pakistan especially Anny Zafar, Rabeea Arif, Soofia Asad, Rabab Khan, Urooj Zia, Annie Zaman, Sadaf Baig and many others. We dedicate this achievement to all the citizens, who are striving towards a violence free, human rights friendly Pakistan. Together, we can!

Avon Communications Awards Winners

Innovative Campaign Award:

Bytes for All (Pakistan) – “Take Back The Tech!”

This campaign seizes upon the spread of technology in Pakistan to help strengthen women’s use of technology to raise awareness and combat Violence Against Women. The campaign also strategically involves influential public figures using social media to spread the word to “Take Back The Tech.” The print and online communications materials pave the way for young women to use these online technology tools, often off-limits in Pakistan, to make their voices heard.

Break the Silence Award

Engender Health (Tanzania) – “Champion Project”

The “Champion Project” video is part of a five-year effort to engage men in Tanzania by increasing their involvement in addressing the underlying gender issues and power imbalances in relationships. The video aims to turn men from bystanders to champions with its key message, “Violence is everyone’s problem. Be a role model. Earn respect by standing up to violence.”

Community Change Award

Equal Access (Nepal) – “Voices – Samajhdari”

Involving community members as writers, reporters, radio technicians and commentators, “Voices – Samajhdari” by Equal Access enables women to be agents of their own change – reshaping community attitudes through their own messages that resonate with their closest neighbors and throughout Nepal. This weekly 30-minute radio program directly integrates voices from rural communities in audio collected by 12 female ‘community reporters’ who are themselves survivors of violence, able to discuss topics and issues that otherwise would be considered off-limits.

X-Change Award for Outstanding Government Communication

State Service for Youth and Sports & International Women’s Rights Center ‘La Strada’ (Ukraine) – “Stop Violence”

The Government of Ukraine, working with the UN and NGOs, leveraged the 2012 Euro Football Cup to field a large campaign aimed at men to use communications to raise social awareness of the need to end violence against women. In their “Red Card” poster, the Ukrainian singer Ani Lorak speaks a soccer fan’s language to advocate against sexual violence. Recognition of this campaign highlights the important development of coalitions among government agencies, the UN and NGOs working collaboratively for greater impact across society.

Global Award for Excellence in Communication Award

PCI Media Impact (Peru) – “Strong Women, Strong Voices”

The “Strong Women, Strong Voices” radio program—using radio, a favored medium particularly in rural communities—skillfully weaves together stories using language accessible to both Spanish-speaking and indigenous women that dramatizes the stories of women overcoming prejudice, abuse and sexual violence. Radio and storytelling is very adaptable, but increased impact results from an organization with both a strong infrastructure and a well-analyzed and realized theory of change.

To view the award-winning campaigns in each of the five categories, as well as the 19 finalists’ campaigns, please visit: These materials and many others are available on the Communications X-Change, which is open to new submissions.


About Avon’s Speak Out Against Domestic Violence Program

Avon and the Avon Foundation for Women launched Speak Out Against Domestic Violence in 2004 to support domestic violence awareness, education and prevention programs aimed at reducing domestic and gender violence, as well as direct services for victims and their families. Through the end of 2012, Avon global philanthropy has donated almost $50 million to support violence against women programs, services and education. Globally, Avon supports efforts to end violence against women in nearly 50 countries by raising funds through special product sales, and raising awareness through events and with educational information disseminated by more than 6 million global Avon Representatives.

About Bytes for All, Pakistan

Bytes for All (B4A), Pakistan is a human rights organization and a network of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) professionals and practitioners. It experiments and organizes debate on the relevance of ICTs for sustainable development and strengthening social justice movements in the country. Its mission is “ICTs for development, democracy and social justice”.

For more information (and please note the change in the office address):

Shahzad Ahmad
Bytes for All, Pakistan
House 273, Street 17, Sector F- 10/2, Islamabad, Pakistan

Tel. +92 51 2110494-95 and