sharing. In Senegal, Tostan and UNICEF launched the Jokko Initiative, which allows community members to use SMS to send out various text messages, such as information on vital events, service announcements, and information on income-generating activities. It especially allows women the opportunity to promote their goods and share information and event announcements.
Finally, research dissemination is another area facilitated by the use of information and communications technology. Forum member Kristin Schubert of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation said that it is frequently difficult to get information about research to public health providers in a community with target populations. Thus, this is an area where establishing important partnerships with researchers and experts in technology is essential to successful implementation and evaluation. The ability to penetrate markets and spread information more widely could be of huge importance in this respect.
EMPOWERING VULNERABLE POPULATIONS
Several examples were cited throughout the workshop of ways in which information and communications technologies can empower vulnerable populations.
Technologies lead not only to increased communication but also to increased accountability and transparency. For instance, the organization Witness works to use the power of video advocacy by documenting and sharing human rights abuses. By working with constituents on the use of video as a medium for documentation, it has shed light on the repression of ethnic minorities in Burma and has helped to prosecute recruiters of child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Sexual Violence and Intimate Partner Violence
SMS and geocoding technologies can be used to display incidents of violence in real time, which can be particularly effective in combating sexual violence. In Egypt, Medic:Mobile, in conjunction with the Ushahidi platform, has been used for Harassmap. The basic idea behind the program is that if a woman is sexually harassed she can send an SMS to the Harassmap number with details of the incident. This information will then be mapped on the website, allowing “hotspots” of harassment to be identified. Harassmap also provides help and information for victims. This use