Since Cyberweek, I have had the opportunity to research different information and communication technology (ICT) platforms that were either designed or adopted to support peace-building efforts. The interest was sparked after participating in Jeff Aresty and Ruha Devanesan’s presentation on the Internet Bar Organization’s (IBO) Microcommerce Justice Initiatives. The IBO has successfully brought communities online to participate in the global marketplace first-hand, and to resolve disputes with the help of technology—using a variety of technologies including, but not limited to, social networking sites and SMS. Their Cyberweek presentation is located [here].But, they are not alone. There are a number of other groups and organizations, both domestic and foreign, who are leveraging ICT to promote peace-building in regions of prolonged conflict by educating and empowering individuals. Some examples are:
Access Denied Map – an advocacy tool developed to provide an overview of online censorship efforts related to the social web and major web 2.0 websites; the project also tracks
and explores the relationships between anti-censorship groups in different
parts of the world who are collaborating to defend the right to access web 2.0
tools and websites.
CrowdVoice.org – is a user-powered service that tracks voices of protest from around the world; essentially the tool is used to generate up-to-date and often overlooked news stories from
local voices, providing a channel for freedom of expression in areas of
Games for Change – while many of us will read about the struggles and obstacles of people in regions of prolonged conflict, Games for Change uses digital games to address
the most pressing issues of our day, including poverty, education, human
rights, global conflict and climate change.
change; the regional platform is also used to connect emerging artists with
existing artists who have already achieved success in the field. Their concept is similar to the IBO’s
which supports information sharing, collaboration, and networking.
Ushahidi – by crowdsourcing information, the platform is a tool for democratizing that information, increasing
transparency and lowering the barriers for individuals to share their stories; tool
is built for information collection, visualization and interactive mapping. For a list of countries and projects using
Ushahidi, click [here].
In regards to some of the tools targeting advocacy that are listed above, there are considerable challenges each organization will face, or continue to face, such as state censorship, personal security including the
security of contributors, as well as financial sustainability.
It is encouraging to see the variety and abundance of tools focusing on peace-building, especially since many are available to users all around the world without fees. From my research, it
appears these tools only scratch the surface of available and developing
opportunities in the tech world.