The Lab's Roundup highlighting stories on technology, media, and data in peacebuilding.
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Working for individuals and communities affected by conflict, using technology, media, & data to accelerate local peacebuilding efforts. 

PeaceTech Pulse

What we're listening to, reading, watching, and following this week.

As Kenya draws closer to the general elections scheduled to take place in August 2017, tensions are brewing across the country as politicians take divisive rhetoric to their communities in countrywide campaigns. Mainstream media both local and international is playing into this rhetoric and advancing politicians’ agendas, either consciously or subconsciously, by mainly reporting on the negative aspects in the election period in Kenya that can lead to conflict.

In his book Conflict Sensitive Journalism, Ross Howard provides an idea of the situation Kenya faced regarding elections, media, and violence in 2007. I, however, believe Kenya is not out of this situation yet, and it is clear that Kenya needs conflict sensitive journalism and peacebuilders through this period. There are peacebuilders with programs that promote cohesion, national unity and positive ethnicity, though the media rarely covers them. I believe the role of the media in times like these is to not only focus on the politicians’ efforts that many times divide the electorate, but to also capture peacebuilders’ stories that offer different narratives to conflict. Rwanda and Kenya both showed how mainstream media can be used to catalyze mass violence; I believe with a peacetech industry, a different media role from that one of 2007 and 2013 can be established in Kenya during this period without curtailing the media freedoms that are essential in democracy.
 Caleb Gichuhi works with PeaceTech Lab on peace media programming and is based out of Nairobi, Kenya. 


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PeaceTech in Action

Stories from the field. 

Groundviews in Sri Lanka actively supports the use of drones in journalism. Anchored to Founding Editor Sanjana Hattotuwa’s long-standing interest in and research on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in peacebuilding and peacekeeping, the emphasis in training around the use of drones is on ethics and the privacy of individuals.
Drone journalism in Sri Lanka and other regions is increasing capacity for documenting hard to capture events such as severe drought, evictions due to urban developmentprotests, and evidence of corruption. Sanjana writes that using drones for journalism helps counter, “historical narratives written solely by those in power,” and can be a method for individuals and small organizations to hold governing bodies accountable.
Groundviews’ workshops for journalists, activists, hobbyists and commercial drone operators focus on how new perspectives from the air can bear witness to these often hidden issues. In January 2017, Groundviews led a groundbreaking workshop facilitated by the Government Information Department and the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka. Around 30 members of mainstream media, including private TV stations, photographers, and drone re-sellers participated in the full day workshop that included a practical session for those who had never handled or flown a drone. 

In the News

How artificial intelligence can be used to predict Africa’s next migration crisis

Instability and the likelihood of mass migration can be predicted through artificial intelligence. Software can measure areas of volatility in a nation and suggest possible remedies to avoid a crisis.

17 in 17: Partnerships for the Sustainable Development Goals

Lab member Twila Tschan writes that focusing on "Partnerships for the Sustainable Development Goals" in 2017 is critical to achieving the long-term vision of the United Nations.

Sawa Shabab (Together Youth) Returns to the Radio in South Sudan

PRWeb reports on the return of South Sudanese radio drama, Sawa Shabab, for its third season. Sawa Shabab is produced by Ammalna in partnership with PeaceTech Lab and the United States Institute of Peace.

How a U.S. team uses Facebook, guerrilla marketing to peel off potential ISIS recruits

The U.S. Department of State has taken on a new campaign involving ads depicting the cruel realities of the Islamic State to counter recruitment via social media. 



We compiled data on the use of technology in Central America in preparation for our PeaceTech Exchange in Costa Rica this week. The theme of this exchange is "technology for transparency and accountability". To measure voice and accountability we used an index from the World Bank which considers factors like citizen participation in electing officials, freedom of expression, freedom of association, and free media. -2.5 indicates weak voice and accountability while 2.5 indicates strong voice and accountability.
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