HarassMap – Egypt

حياة الدبيس وجهودها نحو تعليم أفضل
March 30, 2017
7arkashat – Jordan
September 5, 2017

HarassMap is a volunteer-based initiative with the mission of ending the social acceptability of sexual harassment in Egypt. HarassMap’s methods include face-to-face community outreach, online and mobile reporting and a referral system for victims of sexual harassment. The online and mobile reporting map is an example of crowdsourcing input from survivors of harassment.

http://harassmap.org/ | HarassMapEgypt




CHALLENGE OBSERVED


Based on personal experiences of being harassed, a group in Egypt started to investigate the issue in order to understand whether sexual harassment was as common in wider society. After circulating a survey, they realized that it was in fact a much bigger problem, affecting most women in Egypt – and that many people rarely did anything about it.


RESPONSE

HarassMap was born as a response to the persistent problem of sexual harassment on the streets of Egypt, to which society has become increasingly tolerant. It is the first independent initiative to work on the issue.

Co-founders, with volunteers and friends, started a campaign to address sexual harassment which eventually got adopted by the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights. In 2008, the issue received a great deal of attention in the media, and many women’s rights NGOs began to work on advocacy for legislation on sexual harassment. However, instead of waiting for the government to act, the co-founders strongly believed that it was important to do something on the ground in order to address society’s acceptance of sexual harassment.

After working on the issue for several years, speaking to many people about sexual harassment and sharing ideas on how to combat it, the co-founders were eventually introduced to Frontline SMS and Ushahidi – free software that can be linked together to make an anonymous reporting and mapping system for harassment.

Since about 97 percent of Egyptians in 2008 – half of whom are women – owned a mobile phone, this technology seemed like the perfect fit. HarassMap was launched in December 2010. The starting point was to use the online reporting and mapping technology to support an offline community mobilization effort to break stereotypes, stop making excuses for perpetrators, and to convince people to speak out and act against harassment.

Technology used:

Ushahidi, Google Maps API.

Tech Tribes
Tech Tribes
Tech Tribes helps nonprofits & cause-driven groups architect low-cost and replicable interactive tech solutions that can help them solve community issues and enhance public participation.

2 Comments

  1. John Mayers says:

    This was helpful. Thanks for sharing.

    I was wondering if adopting a mapping tool has its limitations. It would be great if you can share some.

    • Tech Tribes says:

      Hi John,

      Thanks for taking the time to read this case study. We would argue that mapping as an approach can be extremely useful if applied in consideration of tech limitations, social factors and while keeping user/reporter privacy in mind. In this example, Harrasmap was able to overcome a big safety issue by respecting the privacy of reporters and keeping their identities anonymous. Keep in mind that Crowdsourcing carries a specific objective to it and that is to utilize the power of the masses in the generation of information that is sometimes missing. It is also a great tool for those looking to drive public attention/ debate to issues that have been long ignored and/or intentionally muted because of their political complexity.

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