It was a great honor to meet Camille Crittenden¬†and Lauren Harris from the Human Rights Center, University of California Berkeley. Camille is the Executive Director of the Human Rights Center while Lauren Harris is a student working with there on a project to strengthen accountability for sexual violence in countries affected by war and political-related violence. The Human Rights Center has previously carried out projects in various countries such as Rwanda, Uganda, and Sudan, just to mention a few. ¬†At this stage of their project they are talking with providers of healthcare, psychosocial services, and legal aid, law enforcement officers, and representatives of NGOs and women’s organizations in Kenya who are engaged with issues of sexual violence.
Together we had a brainstorm session for a project they plan to carry out on sexual violence. During the session we tried to identify ways in which technology could be used both for crisis response and maintaining ¬†the chain of evidence. The most favored way that came up during the discussion was the use of USSD and SMS. The medium of communication most accessible to the mwananchi (ordinary Kenyan) is the mobile phone; we therefore agreed that we should find a way to exploit that.
After a session of throwing ideas back and forth, weighing the pros and cons of each, we all concluded that this was a brilliant idea and its implementation would change the lives of all the people affected by sexual violence from the victims to the health workers involved. This service is here at the right time, at the right place for the right people. It must be highlighted that women who make up 60% of the population and head majority of the households in Kenya are the most affected by sexual violence. A service that helps them helps 100% of the population because they are now able to care for their families better and therefore uplift the welfare of the entire nation.