SMS Kita Hudi Yee - Ghana

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SMS Kita Hudi Yee - Ghana

Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Creatively utilizing tech in different ways to address the low-risk/high profit system & impunity that makes slavery possible.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Ghana is a country of origin, transit and destination for women and children subject to forced labor and sex trafficking. Ghana is ranked as a Tier 2 country by the US State Departmen, which means the government does not comply with the minimum standards to eliminate trafficking. While Ghana has a law against slavery, passed in 2005, the efforts to combat and enforce it are minimal. Very few incidents are investigated and prosecuted due to lack of evidence and inadequate victim assistance/training of public and private sector parties. Ghana has acknowledged 125 child brothels in Accra alone, and sadly uninformed people are complicit in exploitation of children and others around them. Not only are these children suffering blatant abuses of human rights, but there are also broader social consequences such as prevalence and spread of HIV/AIDS, and lack of safety in both urban and rural communities.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

EPAWA Ghana and Survivors Connect has teamed up to build an SMS Traffick Watch Monitoring and Reporting Network using open source communication tools. This technology allows a network of professionals to respond to crisis cases, and allows for timely exchange of information to parents and communities. EPAWA is training community members to report suspicious activities in heir communities, and will collect reports and evidence to initiate law enforcement investigations. SC has done similar programs with groups in Haiti and Nepal. This project is the first of its kind in Africa. The SMS System requires engagement and responsibility from communities to combat human trafficking. NGO partners will spend time in each community to recruit and train 12 individuals on the signs of trafficking as well as the function of the SMS reporting system. Previously isolated communities will be connected to a network of NGOs with educational resources and victim services previously unavailable to them. The initial pilot will target 20 communities and following our pilot, the project will be expanded to 80 communities nationwide to form a comprehensive network aimed at exposing, preventing and deterring human trafficking.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Half of the population has access to mobile phones in Ghana and nearly ¾ of the country now has mobile coverage which has led to the rise of innovative solutions to everyday problems using mobile technology. Farmers have been connected to markets, healthcare has expanded via mobile and fraudulent drugs have been IDed using code/database accessible via SMS. Ours is the first project of its kind leveraged to combat trafficking. The network allows EPAWA to build will reach new audiences, integrate communities, provide comprehensive services addressing the causes of trafficking and build a unified national movement against trafficking, which will be impossible for the government to ignore. Methodology: Planned Activities • Create an asset map that assesses community assets that can address slavery. Through this process we thoroughly realize a community’s needs, and existing gaps in services. • Set up of SMS network • Train EPAWA staff on how to run the SMS network • Identify, recruit and train 240 monitors in 20 trafficking prone communities. • Create a national referral database, Generate and distribute a quarterly report on human trafficking trends. • Coordinate rescues of victims and immediate post – rescue care. • SMS educational campaign through mobile phone number listserv creation.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

At this time, there are currently no competitors in Ghana for this type of program. The main challenge for us is overcoming stereotypes, norms and fears of reporting against violence and exploitation. We are combating a highly complex and entrenched issue in Ghana that will take some time to break down. SMS allows us to do that to the extent that it is an easy, quick and discrete method of communicating in our mobile-infused world. Some human traffickers will also be a challenge for us if they see that our project is working and we’re threatening their business! The idea is however for people to be able to report anonymously so no one is put at risk.
About You
Survivors Connect
About You
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About Your Organization
Organization Name

Survivors Connect

Organization Country
Country where this project is creating social impact

, GA

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

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Select the stage that best applies to your solution

Start-Up (a pilot that has just begun operating)

How long have you been in operation?

Operating for less than a year

Social Impact
FOUNDING STORY: We want to hear about your “Aha!” moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution’s potential to change the world.

The “Aha!” moment for me personally dates back 6 years ago when I almost trafficked for the purpose of forced marriage. A couple years later, I traveled to Vietnam (where our first project began, but before I started SC) when I learned about the various methodologies grassroots orgs employed to raise awareness to trafficking. I saw much inefficiency, such as short-term awareness raising, lack of sustained contact/resources and more. I realized for many communities, I didn’t matter whether they knew trafficking was a risk or not; if a trafficking/fake-labor recruiter came with promises of work, chances are people would take the risk. So then I took a risk, a chance as well, to utilize mobile phones to stay in touch with rural communities with information they might need on the spot, as well as a way to retrieve automated information via Keywords. It worked beautifully and prevented several cases. That’s when I knew we could do this in other places that had similar conditions. I met EPAWA staff in Haiti when I was working there, and that’s when our idea for the collaboration came about!

Specify both the depth and scale of your solution’s social impact to date

To date, Survivors Connect has conducted a preliminary training with EPAWA staff on how to utilize open source tools such as Frontline SMS, Bulk SMS messaging, IVR and Ushahidi (for crowdsourcing/mapping their information and incoming reports). We have installed everything and will soon conduct a training session for the entire team of “community advocates” who will be point people in 20 target communities. We are currently developing posters and other promotional material that will be distributed amongst our target community members as we do continued awareness raising about both the issue of human trafficking as well as the Kita Hudi Yee program. We shall receive reports soon and be able to fully measure the scale and depth of the impact on every day individuals within the first 3 months. Part of the impact evaluation work will be supported by Internews.

What is your projected impact within the next 1-5 years? Is your idea replicable? If so, how?

The initial pilot will target 20 communities and following our pilot, the project will be expanded to 80 communities nationwide to form a comprehensive network aimed at exposing, preventing and deterring human trafficking. By 5 years, we would like to have a referral system that involves at a minimum of 5 agencies both ngo and government so that Ghanaian citizens have access/better information about resources available to them. By this time, we should also have formal MOU/partnerships with at least 10 law enforcement agency offices to act as first responders to our cases and utilize our information gathered to initiate investigations, raids and rescues.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and mark growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

A nation-wide broadcast of our program; alongside 5 rescue/raids conducted on human trafficking.

Six-Month Tasks
Task 1

Complete outreach to our target 20 communities

Task 2

Sign MOU/agreement with 2 law enforcement agencies as first responders

Task 3

Have fully functional SMS/Mapping/Reporting system ready so that all affiliated parties/referral agencies can see/respond

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Seriously changing the equation of low risk-high profit that allows slavery conditions to endure in Accra!

12-Month Tasks
Task 1

Complete outreach to our target 40 communities

Task 2

Sign MOU/agreement with 5 law enforcement agencies as first responders

Task 3

manage/maintain functional SMS/Mapping/Reporting system ready so that all affiliated parties/referral agencies can see/respond

How many people have been impacted by your project?

Fewer than 100

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

Explain how your company, program, service or product is structured

Hybrid model

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
Define your company, program, service or product in 1-2 short sentences

Survivors Connect is an organization working to advance and extend the use of ICTs for the anti-human trafficking movement.