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Digital Democracy

Empowering Civic Engagement Through Digital Technologies | 109 W 27th St, 6 fl | New York, NY 10001 USA

+1-347-688-DDEM | | @digidem |

Using Tech to fight Gender-Based Violence in Haiti: Digital Democracy makes official commitment for CGI
September 20, 2010: New York, NY — Since the January earthquake, incidences of rape and gender-based violence (GBV) in Haiti have increased dramatically, particularly among young women and girls. Digital Democracy (Dd) is partnering with grassroots women activists from tent-camps in Port-Au-Prince to address this challenge. As a member of the Clinton Global Initiative (CG|), Dd officially commits to continue its work fighting GBV in Haiti with technology. “Digital Democracy commits to addressing gender-based violence by documenting cases of violence, networking responders via mobile phones and providing comprehensive technical training to women and girls so they can respond violence and advocate to prevent it,” explained Emily Jacobi, Dd co-director. Haitian women’s voices have been largely absent from international talks on rebuilding and the allocation of $6 billion of aid. Dd collaborates with lawyers, health and psycho-social service providers and strong networks of Haitian women and girls. Since April, Dd has worked to amplify the voices of Haitian women photo and video trainings. Dd has also adapted its awardwinning Handheld Human Rights program to track and respond to incidents of rape via mobile phones. As documented in the recent report Our Bodies Are Still Trembling: Haitian Women’s Fight Against Rape, rates of rape and GBV have risen strikingly since January’s earthquake. Though there are no official statistics, the grassroots women’s organization KOFAVIV (Association of Women Victims for Victims) has documented and responded to over 300 rape cases in 15 camps since January 12. Most victims are girls and women between the ages of 5 and 17. “Contrary to a recent UN report claiming problem areas are secure, people living in many camps are forced to provide their own security by banding together, forming informal security patrols or “brigades” and using whistles as a deterrent for rape,” said Eramithe Delva, KOFAVIV cofounder. “The Haitian police are supposed to work in 40 camps, but are now only patrolling six of them. This leaves no official security in over 1,000 camps in greater Port-au-Prince.” Dd works with KOFAVIV and other groups to highlight where violence is most prevalent and to coordinate effective responses. “Our women partners in Haiti are well-organized, dedicated leaders who see a need for tech tools and training in their work,” said Jacobi. “Our collaboration is critical to our CGI commitment. At the intersection of technology and women’s empowerment, we believe these projects will transform their role as active participants in rebuilding Haiti.”
Digital Democracy ( uses digital technologies to empower disenfranchised and marginalized groups with training and technological support. Founded in 2008, the U.S.-based nonprofit emphasizes the importance of digital literacy, working with grassroots organizers and local programmers on community-driven solutions. Dd has international reach and has conducted projects and trainings in Bangladesh, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Iraq, Kenya, Thailand, South Africa, the United States, and other countries. Handheld Human Rights is an award-wining platform developed by Dd and supported by the University of Berkeley Human Rights Center and NetSquared and the French-American Charitable Trust. ###