What barriers have hindered the success of your project to date? How do you plan to overcome these and other challenges as you grow your solution?
Raising initial funds for the project has been a challenge. However, Survivors Connect has helped EPAWA fundraise through grants (Internews) and through our mobile-recycling campaign called Phones4Freedom. The recycling campaign is good to fall back on for small funds for maintenance purposes.
How do you see the information-technology and media sectors shifting over the next decade? How will your solution adapt to and/or drive that changing environment?
As mobile penetration grows in Ghana, we anticipate seeing more people adopting smart phones and data plans. We still have a long way to go before we get there but when it does, we'd like to use our application to create simple/free/downloadable apps that people can use to access information easier/quicker from our project. Additionally, we hope that using ICT to combat human rights issues like this will become safer over time with improvements to encryption technology, which we know will be of concern to some of our users.
Failure is not always an option. If your solution fails to gain traction in the next two years, what other applications of the idea could you explore?
Survivors Connect has built various different modules around mobile/sms use to combat trafficking. We often see that technologies such as mobile and e-commerce tools can enable transnational human trafficking. However, Survivors Connect believes these very same technologies can be used to make our activism smarter, and innovate on both the 'process' and 'product/software' frontlines. Communication technology is shrinking our world and increasing our ability to connect, which we can use in powerful ways to prevent the most egregious human rights abuses in Ghana. Our SMS Freedom programs, which utilize text messages will be a positive step in this direction.
Having said that, our various modules respond to different issues/conditions that may pop up in the field. In fact, no two SMS-implmentations are alike. We may turn this SMS Traffick Watch group into something that functions more like a basic hotline, or we make smaller teams of investigative units that work more intimately with police. The options are endless, but what we do know is it would be a shame to not capitalize on the opportunity that near ubiquitous mobile ownership presents for preventing and combating slavery.
Expand on your selections, explaining how you will sustain funding
Phones4Freedom Mobile phone recycling campaign as well as possible mobile advertisements from MTN and Vodafone. We also hope to pay Ghanaian staff salaries with grants.
Tell us about your partnerships
Currently the two NGO partners here are Survivors Connect and EPAWA, Ghana. Survivors Connect is the tech tool/training provider while EPAWA is the project implementing partner. Internews has supported the pilot of this project and will do monitoring/evaluation to determine best practices in mobile phone usage in human rights related campaigns.
What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section?
We need equal parts of people interested in technology/ICT4D and human trafficking expertise. Our staffing goes as follows:
- Lead Project Director
- Lead Project Trainer
- 20 Community Advocates/Field Staff (some of whom are volunteers) to do outreach/awareness for program.
Changemakers is a collaborative and supportive space. Please specify any community resources you would need to grow and sustain your initiative. Select all that apply
Investment, Human resources or talent, Marketing or media, Research or information, Collaboration or networking, Pro-bono help (legal, financial, etc.), Innovation or ideas.
Specify any resources you might offer to support other initiatives. Select all that apply
Research or information, Collaboration or networking, Innovation or ideas, Mentorship.
Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren’t specified within the list