Asia Foundation and Partners Launch “Shuvayatra,” the Safe Migration App

Kathmandu, May 18, 2016 — The Asia Foundation, the Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) and Young Innovations today launch the beta version of “Shuvayatra” (Safe Journey), a mobile application that provides Nepali migrant laborers with the tools that they need to plan a safer period of travel and work abroad. Migrants can now access dynamic information and resources to stay safe in working environments that can be often be dangerous, abusive and illegal, including labor exploitation, human trafficking, and financial distress.

Nepal app2

Over the past two decades, Nepali workers have been traveling overseas for employment in increasingly large numbers. It is estimated that more than 1,500 people leave the country every day for employment abroad, with nearly 3.5 million—out of a total population of 27 million Nepalese—working and living abroad, mostly in the Gulf Countries and East Asia. Extensive research and studies by various civil society organizations and international development organizations including The Asia Foundation have shown that young Nepalis struggle to understand the complex process of migration and its many pitfalls.

With the country’s mobile penetration rate surpassing 100%, many Nepali migrant workers are increasingly turning to their mobile devices for help and information. To help address the challenges and risks related to working abroad, the Shuvayatra app was designed to deliver the information and content migrant laborers most need, and in a language they can understand.

Featuring quick capsules of relevant information, the app delivers audio, videos, Facebook links, and written content directly to migrant workers. Topics include labor rights, work permits, application process, local do’s and don’ts, working conditions abroad, and unique content specifically for women. The app also provides country-specific guidance for the most common destination countries of Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.

The Shuvayatra app was developed by a dedicated consortium of local innovators and social entrepreneurs in Nepal, including Young Innovations, a Nepali software firm, and NRNA, the largest and most prominent umbrella organization of the Nepalese diaspora abroad. The team designed and tested each feature of the application with prospective and returnee male and female labor migrants in Nepal, and all of its content has been vetted by local migration experts and rights advocates. The launch of the beta version is the beginning of a multipart process in which new features will be added to the app over the coming months to develop Shuvayatra into a platform for the global community of Nepali migrant workers to share content, ideas, and answers to critical questions that arise from the migration process.

For information on the app and how to download it, visit www.shuvayatra.org.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, our programs address critical issues affecting Asia in the 21st century—governance and law, economic development, women’s empowerment, environment, and regional cooperation.

Read more about the Foundation’s work.

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Related locations: Nepal
Related programs: Technology & Development

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