New digital tools like Chatroulette, Twitter, and Foursquare are incredible new ways to connect people, but sharing info like location and identity can compromise safety – even landing you in jail (or worse) in countries that restrict free expression. Nonetheless, the power of these new interactive platforms can’t be denied; with that in mind, one group is using a digital approach in order to start a new kind of revolution.
Digital Democracy (Dd) puts information – and power – into the hands of people who are neglected, disenfranchised, or abused by their rulers. Their projects range from developing communication networks for Burmese refugees to mapping peacekeeping projects in Kenya. But instead of simply sending care packages of gizmos in via parachute, Dd focuses on education, communication and participation in order to help citizens build and shape their own communities.
Their latest work is taking them to Haiti (they’re flying in today), where they’re fighting an epidemic of rape in refugee camps by looking into a system for protecting women against gender-based violence and holding media workshops with women’s organizations. (For a shattering view of what’s happening on the ground, watch this video.) As we write, they’re $1,000 away from being able to provide flipcams and other tools for their trainings; the equipment will stay with women in Haiti to continue their reporting. The TBD community has the power to make sure that these stories are heard.