We Magazine: Technology for Transparency – SMS Helping Protect Children Against Violence

Here Linda Raftree, of Plan International, is interviewed about a project which uses FrontlineSMS and Ushahidi to improve reporting on violence against children in Benin and Togo:

The Violence Against Children (VAC) project is an initiative co-implemented by PLAN and Save the Children in West Africa and takes place over 4 years (2008-2011) in seven countries: Togo, Ghana, Benin, Guinea, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire and Gambia. The VAC project trains and engages children and youth themselves as advocates and agents of change to end violence, together with adult community allies. A comprehensive UN report proposes recommendations for action to prevent and respond to violence against children around the world. Earlier this year, the project explored the idea of setting up a text message based system [using FrontlineSMS] that will collect and map out [via Ushahidi] reports of violence against children in communities in Benin and Togo.

...It started off really as a youth project funded by our office in Finland and an effort to break down the UN recommendations from the Violence against Children (VAC) study into a more mainstream language. The idea was to make specific areas of the study more palatable to the general population. The original VAC study was conducted over about 3 years in consultation with hundreds of children, and the goal of the broader VAC project is to increase awareness amongst children and adults, to get them to learn about the effects of violence and how to prevent it and to share the knowledge with their peers. We (Plan) organized a conference in Kenya on social change through new media in December 2008, where my colleague Anastasie Koudoh in Dakar heard of FrontlineSMS and Ushahidi. She started wondering whether such a system could be set up to track violence via cell phone messages...

Read the full interview on the We Magazine website