Hamdam is a mobile app that was established against the backdrop of the passing of Iranian Parliament bills limiting women’s rights in Iran. The app helps users circumvent the censorship of information on reproductive rights and women’s health. Being the first menstruation and ovulation tracker in Iran, Hamdam (“Companion” in Farsi) app is able to conceal its main purpose of advancing civil liberties and raising awareness on reproductive health. The app includes information on taboo topics, such as menstrual hygiene, STDs, contraception, sexual abuse/harassment, domestic violence, and marriage contracts. It is also equipped with a shortcut call button to a social emergency center in case of violence or harassment. The app was developed through the IranCubator program in a partnership between Iranian women’s rights activists and tech organizations. Content monitoring was supervised by Spectrum, a France-based NGO focusing on gender equality and education, and technical support was provided by ASL19, an independent technology organization that promotes access to online information. Hamdam collaborates with local Iranian activists, advocates, and philanthropists.
Theory of Change
Providing access to information about reproductive and legal rights empowers women under discriminatory rule to gain agency and navigate restrictive systems and structures.
The Hamdam app is a one-stop-shop for Iranian women to get information about reproductive and legal rights. The language is trans-friendly and doesn’t assume that all individuals using the menstruation/ovulation tracker are women. Access to information empowers users to monitor their sexual health, contraception, disease, self-breast exams, ovulating cycles based on the Persian Jalali Calendar, and more. There is also a Q&A page with the most common questions. All content is written in simple language for all Persian speakers. In addition, Hamdam has information about Iran’s legal system in accessible language. Since Iranian law doesn’t consider women as equals, this app empowers women to negotiate their roles and autonomy within the legal system. Women can better navigate marriage law and child custody questions, as well as gain insight into the legal processes of attaining employment, education, divorce, and division of assets. For security purposes, Hamdam disabled screenshots so that only users can view the content information. Also, personal information added to the app is stored only on the user’s phone. That is, there is no direct communication between the client and the server.
Hamdam has more than 165,000 downloads. It has had 650,000 screen viewers within the first seven months of its launch. Reviews of the app have stated how empowering and helpful Hamdam has been to teenagers during the changes of puberty, women monitoring their health, and survivors of domestic abuse.