To address the complex issue of gender-based violence in Haiti, Digital Democracy is taking a comprehensive approach that empowers grassroots actors while connecting them to the government of Haiti and international aid groups, providing all three with the data they need for an effective response. Because this commitment incorporates new tools and strategies, ongoing monitoring and evaluation will be an essential component. Dd will record both quantitative and qualitative data on the use of the network and call center, as well as the usefulness of the trainings, using this information to adapt its approach along the way and remain on target for the commitment goals.
Dd will work closely with its partners to implement this commitment over the course of the next two years. NY-based Dd staff will travel to Haiti on an on-going basis. During Year 1, Dd will focus on establishing the following system and training of trainers. During Year 2, Dd will focus on the transference of skills to local partners.
Fall 2010: Improve the network communications of six women's organizations.
Establish a FrontlineSMS system to connect women leaders.
Train six trainers to maintain the system.
Facilitate the training of 60 women who will use the system for emergency communication.
Distribute 12 smartphones to group leaders along with training to use them.
Spring 2011: Establish a Call Center to respond to incidents of GBV.
Link working call center to the Haitian-built platform Noula.ht.
Train women to staff center.
Build map and Referal system allowing responders to quickly direct women to medical, legal & psycho-social support.
Grow database of incidents of gender-based violence.
Establish set of indicators for tracking gender-based violence and identifying early warning indicators.
Share system data with the Ministry of Women's Affairs, MINUSTAH and other relevant agencies.
Ongoing from November 2010: Provide new media & computer trainings.
Conduct three week-long training workshops for women leaders and members of their organizations.
Conduct four week-long training workshops for ten girls in each session.
Trainees will learn basic computer use, digital photography, digital video and new media advocacy.
Document the ongoing situation in the camps and amplify their voices for advocacy efforts.
As documented in the recent report Our Bodies Are Still Trembling: Haitian Women's Fight Against Rape (Published by the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti & Madre in July 2010), a second catastrophe is afflicting Haitian women and girls who, having survived the devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010, are facing alarming rates of rape and other forms of gender-based violence (GBV). Although there are no official statistics, grassroots women's groups as well as responders report high numbers and growing rates of attack. One such group, KOFAVIV (Association of Women Victims for Victims) documented and responded to 230 cases of rape in just 15 camps between Jan. 12 - March 21, 2010. The majority of those rapes were perpetrated by two or more people, and the identity of the assailants were unknown. Ages of victims ranged from 5 to 60.
This epidemic of violence is a result of impunity, lack of security and the limited involvement of women in post-earthquake decision-making, particularly the design and leadership of the camps for internally displaced people. The violence not only threatens the future stability of the country, it also robs the whole community of much more: the mental health and emotional well-being of the victims and the families they care for as well as the economic and social potential of the women and girls. Greater goals of development and inclusion of women in Haiti's political future cannot be achieved while the pressing issue of security remains to be resolved.
Another grave problem is the lack of a reporting mechanism or a centralized database and repository of information on reported attacks. No such system currently exists, and it is critical to map existing data to understand which camps and other locales are the highest priority for lighting, security patrols and more. Digital Democracy (Dd) seeks to begin by providing this database, and will then play the role of trainer and convener for groups to feed into a comprehensive system that will allow women to make emergency calls and receive a comprehensive response.
Seeking partners/Offering resources
While the commitment has officially been completed, Digital Democracy is currently in the reporting stage of our work, and seeks support to turn this report into a curriculum and interactive online platform. When completed, Digital Democracy will be working to share our lessons learned through both platforms, and seek to share this with the CGI network.