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App to help find public toilets wins global tech award

  • Published at 07:38 pm June 13th, 2017
  • Last updated at 03:08 am June 14th, 2017
App to help find public toilets wins global tech award
A new app helping people find public toilets in Dhaka just won the World Summit Award (WSA) set to be held in New Delhi in August. The app Dhaka Public Toilet Map developed by Bangladesh-based Preneur Lab is available on the Android play store. It lets users find the closest public toilets near them in Dhaka. Austria-based World Summit on the Information Society (WSA), which awards apps every year for their development initiatives, made the announcement on March 2017. Preneur Lab beat 178 countries to win the title. The WSA is a highly diverse and democratic award system that selects and promotes the world’s best digital innovations that has the ability to impact societies across 178 countries. Capture Preneur Lab developed the app in association with Access to Information (A2i) programme under the Prime Minister’s Office and the development agency WaterAid Bangladesh. A2i provided Tk11lakh as funding while WaterAid Bangladesh funded the mapping process. Preneur Lab was created in 2015 by Arif Nezami, 26, as an app developer organisation that develops different digital services and tech products. How the app works During the development phase, 19 types of information had been integrated into the app, including hygiene facilities, women-friendliness, GPS locations, categories, fees etc as well as toilet support of around 2,000 toilets at shopping malls, hospitals, rail stations, mosques, temples, and specialised toilets in city corporations. However, only 100 of them can be found an GoogleMaps, and the app is working to integrate the rest into its database to help people find bathrooms. “We are working with the government to ease people’s search for clean usable public toilets,” said Preneur Lab Chief Executive Officer Arif Nezami. Most people still tend to urinate and also defaecate on roads. Another problem is that women tend to develop urinary tract infections because they cannot access proper bathrooms. Nezami said addressing these issues were behind the development of this app. “One can also access our database by SMS because a lot of people do not have smartphones yet. All they need to do is type in: Info/toilet/place (eg Dhanmondi) and send it 2777. Once received, the app will send back a list of public toilets in the requested area,” he said. Currently, the app covers the whole Dhaka city, but Preneur Lab has a plan to develop the mobile phone-based application service for the entire country. Already they have taken up initiatives to include Chittagong city to the app.
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