The aim is to launch an online crowd-based map using existing and user-generated data from human rights defenders to reduce violence against women in Mexico through storytelling and the sharing of data. We will implement an online training course using Google Hangouts with a core group of human rights defenders currently working in Mexico. Courses will focus on the use of narrative strategy to frame stories, current mapping and SMS technology. The website will be launched as a training tool and a way to humanize the statistics related to violence targeted at women and children in Mexico.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Describe the specific population with whom you will be working.
Mexico is ranked the worst place for women among G20 nations. According to UN Women, 40 percent of women in Mexico experienced partner violence in the past 12 months. Despite global and national efforts, this problem is worsening, pointing to the urgency of combating this issue, and the need for innovative solutions. The main challenges of tackling the issue relates to data collection and dissemination.
We will be working with human rights leaders from the Nobel Women’s Initiative, Just Associates MesoAmerica and Alternativas Pacificas to train this core team of 10-15 leaders to develop their skills in storytelling, mapping of data and to use the website to share their professionally-generated content as well as, to interact with other defenders safely and anonymously.
Who else will be on your team to help implement the project?
Kara Andrade, co-founder of HablaCentro NFP
Alisa del Tufo, founder of Threshold Collaborative
Alicia Leal, founded Alternativas Pacificas
Rachel Vincent, is director of communications at the Nobel Women’s Initiative
Marusia Lopez Cruz, regional coordinator of Just Associates (JASS) Mesoamerica
Lisa VeneKlasen, co-founder and executive director of Just Associates (JASS)
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
Our approximately 10-15 trained women rights defenders will use their already existing databases and their expertise to contribute content to an online map similar to Ushahidi. They and other users will be able to submit their stories or data of violence committed against women to this map and after a verification process created by the trained defenders, these reports will be published. All submitted information will be anonymous by default, unless manually changed by the user. Reports can be submitted via SMS, email and web. Reports will be recorded and posted to social networking sites. These digitized stories and mapping of data can create evidence to inspire intervention and to press authorities to provide extra security measures and to introduce relevant policies.
What technologies and digital tools do you plan to use in the trainings?
Describe the connections that you or your organization have already established or plan to establish that will contribute to the success of the project.
The project will be coordinated by Alicia Leal who has worked with the Mexican government on policies improving the treatment of those impacted by violence as well as, to expand women’s shelters. The project will include representatives from Just Associates, a global network which works to increase the political influence of women while ensuring their safety. They have trained and supported activist leaders, promoted grassroots organizing and worked to build opportunities for strategic influence. Another strong collaborator is The Nobel Women’s Initiative, led by Nobel Peace Laureates, increases the visibility and power of women’s groups working globally for peace, justice, and equality. In Central America, they call attention to violence against women and support defenders.
How many participants do you think will be trained in your project?
Approximately 10 to 15 women rights defenders in Mexico who represent larger networks, will receive training over the course of one month with the goal of contributing data or stories accessible to them. Each participant will then train at least one more group of contributors. HablaCentro will partner with the participants’ organizations to create the website, and to partner on larger grants to grow the project. Defenders and volunteers will also be taught verification skills in order to help maintain the website. This is a grassroots model that will create a ripple effect from a small well-trained core of participants provided with the right technology to help their work generate more impact and to help it reach others who can also generate a similar impact.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
The trainings will be conducted in Spanish using Google Hangouts and Skype. Both these platforms are accessible and reliable forms of communication for the participants. Kara Andrade and Alisa del Tufo will be the lead trainers on digital storytelling and narrative strategy, mapping, mobile and security.
HablaCentro will develop the online website based on their previous open source citizen journalism content management system which includes a mapping and mobile messaging component. The latter allows for anyone to send in text messages to one SMS gateway. The mapping component is necessary to strongly visualize the extent of the problem and will be based on open source technology from Ushahidi and similar organisations. We will teach all this technology to the participants.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
The workshops are held online, and the teachers of the course will make use of Google Hangout and Skype to train the women rights defenders in different countries including Mexico, Canada, and the USA. The facilities needed for the workshops are already available: the teachers need their computers and stable internet connection (ADSL) and so do the participants (10-15). The teachers are experienced and already have an extensive amount of training material.
The majority of the website is an in-kind donation except for the adding of the mapping component which will require some development time.
What is your current relationship with the community with whom you plan to work? What makes you the most appropriate individual or organization to implement this project?
Our current team comprises of leaders of human rights defenders and representatives of a number of international organizations committed to the issue and trusted within the Mexican community of human rights defenders. Our experience and commitment as well as, the trust we’ve developed with our constituency will allow us to draw from a wide base of resources and expertise. Each of our team members has more than 10 years of experience in working in Mexico or Latin America in various capacities to help women, youth and human rights defenders. We combine our expertise to develop our strategy that utilizes the Internet to strengthen our efforts in Mexico.
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
One of the biggest challenges will be ensuring the safety of collaborators and trained participants. To address this challenge we plan to form an advisory board, that will include professionals with experience in the field, to help from the very beginning of the project to ensure safety concerns are addressed both online and in the engagement piece. The website will also allow users to share content anonymously and to chat with others inside the system anonymously. Safety and online security will also be a module included in the online training.
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
Our primary participants will be interviewed before and after the training regarding the usefulness of the course. These will be recorded for note-taking purposes and compiled. We will also have a pre and post-course evaluations; homework and quizzes will also accompany each module. Success concerning the wider regional community and the global digital community can be measured by the amount of participants, the amount of visitors the website receives and the amount of stories and reports that are submitted (the goal is to have analog databases completely online and digital).
The website should be widely used (goal = to have 300 registered users by December 2014) and contain extensive information (goal = to have 50 stories either in photo, audio, video or written, online by December 2014)
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2014?
1: Collaborators are convened and debriefed on the objectives of the course and will help to shape the course
2: Finalize planning for the first one-month online storytelling training
3: Create and compile materials for use during the online training course
4: Launch online storytelling and narrative strategy training course with the collaborators
5: Distribute post-course evaluation survey to online training course participants
6: Convene with collaborators to compile story databases and plan community engagement strategies with crowd-based open source mapping
7: Market the website through social networking sites and collaborator networks
8: Create a training guide on using the website and a reporting “kit” for potential users
9: Launch and beta-test the crowd-based map platform
10: Conduct project monitoring and evaluation
11: Launch second online training course
12. Strategic planning and fundraising strategy with partners
Detail a specific budget of up to $2,500 USD for operating costs.
- Development of online course and curriculum: $500
– Material costs (certificates, thumb drives, etc): $200
– Internet access stipends to participants: $200
– Integrating use of mapping backend: $500
– Stipend for Coordinator(s): $600
– Contest for best story or database shared $300
– Focus group food expenses $200
Besides the microgrant funding, what other support can Rising Voices provide for your project to ensure its success?
As on online community of citizen media activists, Rising Voices would give us a way to network and learn from former and current grantees who are implementing similar projects elsewhere. These connections would help us improve our training courses as well as, the technologies that we use. Rising Voice’s tutorials and guides regarding different citizen media tools will also be very helpful resources for us during our training courses. While our website and training will feature mapping out different stories, we aim to make our platform compatible with all kinds of media in the future.
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