This Thursday, we heard from several professionals on the usage of crowd sourcing and mapping technologies in International Development and disasters or other situations. Hearing about the use in finding missing people was very interesting and I found an online resource created in Egypt in 2010, HarassMap, that “uses mobile and online technology together with a huge offline community mobilization effort in neighborhoods throughout Egypt to end the social acceptability of sexual harassment.” With over 99% of women in Egypt reporting experiencing harassment and almost 50% of women report experiencing sexual harassment or other contact on a daily basis, the need for information and communication of the occurrence and location of sexual harassment and assaults is certainly there. Utilizing information collected via text message and online, volunteers around the world can help map occurrences or tips of sexual harassment, assault, and other activities, making the map available on mobile and internet browsers. This, combined with local volunteers who act as advocates for social responsibility and equal and fair treatment, has the possibility of aiding change in Egypt.
While this tool is certainly a great resource for women (and men) across Egypt to stay safe and up to date on reports and locations of sexual harassment and assault, it likely has some of the same issues we discussed with our ICT4D professionals this week. Hacking, false reporting, volunteers with ill intentions, incorrect information, and others may present issues for the tool, but hopefully their continued research can combat any possible problems and help create positive change in the social culture of Egypt.