Using Technology against Gender-based Violence: Part 2 #16DaysofActivism

Posted on December 7, 2015

We’re now more than half way through the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence. I’ve been in Dar es Salaam these past few days, and had a chance to learn more about GBV here. In many communities, several types of GBV are still considered within social and cultural norms, and hence go unreported.  A nationally representative survey of violence against children found that nearly 75% of youth had experienced physical violence (either by an adult or intimate partner) by the age of 18 years, and almost 3 in 10 girls had experienced sexual violence before even reaching adulthood

I wanted to further explore how technology can be used against GBV when communities do not have constant access to electricity and technology. According to Hivos Energy Profile of Tanzania, “Tanzania currently has a national electrification rate of 11.5%. While electrification has reached almost 40% of the urban households, rural electrification still lies very low at 2%.” In this post, I explore how a combination of technological tools can be used to bring multimedia approaches to dealing with violence against girls and women, especially amongst population that might not have personal access to technology such as phones, computers etc.

1.Showcasing content using Pico Projectors: Creating local content using cheap technology such as cheap smartphones or video recorders, and providing this content to a wide audience through small, hand held projects is an engaging means of beginning dialogue in communities. One good example of an organization using this method of information is Digital Green. According to their website, “A community video production team of four to six individuals in each district creates videos, averaging eight to 10 minutes in length, which are screened for small community groups twice a week using battery-operated pico projectors.A facilitator from the community mediates a discussion around the video screenings by pausing, rewinding, asking questions, and responding to feedback.“

2. Utilizing multimedia kits with lead facilitators: Similar to the example above, community volunteers or facilitators can be equipped with simple, durable multimedia kids which includes audio players, solar-chargeable smartphones or tablets and visual printed content. These trained facilitators can then work one-on-one with their peer through topic areas. I came across this example in conversations with Africare where they use it for their behavior change programs. Some videos are sent by CHWs to community members phones using bluetooth technology, to minimize costs. 

3. Using curriculum through school-based ICT centers: Computer assisted curriculums in telecenters, youth resource centers or school computer labs are another potential means of reaching youth, both in and out of school. By using culturally relevant digital content, a large number of beneficiaries can be reached at a minimal training cost. One such example is the World Starts with Me programs which is a “computer-based, rights-based, Comprehensive Sexuality Education programme for in- and out-of-school youth in the age bracket of 12-19 years.” Teachers and school nurses also receive training to assist in facilitating the experiential learning process. The curriculum is adapted to local culture and context, and is currently utilized in 12 countries across Asia and Africa. 

4. Collaborating with video halls to imbed content: Video halls tend to be informal cinemas, quite often an ill-built shack or a hut, where communities gather to watch movies. These movies, which are also quite often pirated, provide a great avenue for imbedding behavior change content. In 2015, Twaweza working with Peripheral Vision International has started to research the power of the video halls (in Uganda) by inserting short clips of content into dubbed films. The VJs were also requested to insert references to this content into the audio for the films. By partnering with these ubiquitous video halls and commercial video distributors, teaching material can be sent to some of the farthest corners of the countries.

In the next post, I’ll look into apps currently used against GBV. Stay tuned!


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