Technology for Advocay in Kenyan Crisis

Cross Posted from Kabissa Blog

Two weeks into the Kenyan post election crisis has seen a range of technological initiatives being applied by advocacy groups, Kenyan bloggers and human rights organisations.

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In an environment of fear and violence with many businesses closed and little or very expensive transport how do you communicate with friends and family? How do you send and receive money when banks and other financial businesses such as Western Union offices are closed? The simple answer is the ubiquitous mobile phone. One activist (for purposes of his personal safety we cannot mention his name) wrote how he was able to distribute a donation of money by purchasing phone credits and dispersing them to colleagues in need. One person in Eldoret needed money for transport, others could not get to a Western Union paypoint to receive funds and so on. He was then able to phone all of his colleagues and ensure they had cashed in their credits and were safe.

One innovative way of using technology was suggested by Kenyan blogger, Ory of Kenyan Pundit and taken up by White African in his post “Using Technology to Chronicle incidents of Violence.” The idea is to use Google maps to create a mashup which would be used to indicate the locations were violence is taking place. The location would be marked, with in this case, a red flame which would reveal the details of the violence in text form.

With this in mind White African and others have put together a dedicated site called USHAHIDI. The site will be having an SMS feature as soon as possible PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD……

[Ushahidi] is a tool for people who witness acts of violence in Kenya in these post-election times. You can report the incident that you have seen, and it will appear on a map-based view for others to see. Ory and Daudi are working with local Kenyan NGO’s to get information and to verify each incident.

One excellent resource has been created by Worknets a global community Wiki site. They have a series of dedicated spaces which provide a resource of new sites and bloggers, action alerts, commentary and chat rooms by and for Kenyans.

Pambazuka News which last week published a special issue on Kenya has created an Action Alert blog to provide up to date alerts and news on the Kenyan crisis. In addition a number of Facebook groups have been created such as Peace for Kenya and Kenya’s Post Election Humanitarian Crisis.

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