Working with PeaceGeeks: Building Technology to Help Change the World

Working with PeaceGeeks: Building Technology to Help Change the World

Jennylee Bellatrix
Peacegeeks map

There are all kinds of technologies out there that are doing harm (at worst) or maintaining status quo in the world today, but there are also people and organizations out there harnessing the power of technology for good. Peacegeeks is one such organization, and we’ve recently had the pleasure of working with them on a new project. I chatted with Renee Black from Peacegeeks to learn more about the organization, the project, and our contributions to their work.

Who are Peacegeeks?

Peacegeeks has a mission: they're working to give technological tools to organizations in developing and conflict-affected areas of the world to promote peace and human rights. But they have some challenges to overcome on this mission. Grassroots organizations don't have the time, capacity, and awareness of the tools that are available to them. On top of that, the work of these organizations is often shaped by donor agendas rather than their local needs. And people want to help them  students and professionals passionate about using their knowledge and skills to improve the world  but don't know how they can contribute more than money to those organizations that could best use their talents. 

Once Peacegeeks identified these problems, they set to work addressing them  by providing technical assistance to these grassroots groups, connecting volunteers to change makers to help them apply their technology, and helps the groups build core technical infrastructure support. And they do it all on a very limited budget.

What is Project Amani?

The people at Peacegeeks found that it took a long time to set up and launch new projects, even though they were all being built with the same functionality and features. Project Amani is a new tool that they envisioned to standardize the launch process; helping their partners quickly set up a website to support their needs on the ground in their communities.

With responsive design, some serious user management capability and contact management, a user friendly interface for non-technical content managers, multi-language support, and integrated data mapping capabilities, this new tool can deployed easily in the places where it can be most useful, giving the organizations more time to focus on their work instead of their technology. It's a powerful open-source tool that they needed help to bring into being. And that's where we came into the picture.

Affinity Bridge and Project Amani

Affinity Bridge was engaged to help build the integrated data mapping system used to track critical issues on the ground  issues like human rights violations, sexual and gender-based violence, human trafficking, and child marriages to name a few. But it's also being used in exciting initiatives on mapping positive stories: safe zones, and pledges by men in Nepal to end violence against women, for instance. This is a tool that can truly empower people to make change, and be a part of that change on important human rights issues.

In addition to the mapping system, we helped package Project Amani into a distribution file  making it rapidly deployable on local and cloud-based systems  as well as advising Peacegeeks on strategic planning for the project's development, and a lot of problem solving for a huge variety of issues along the way. 

Working with Peacegeeks on Project Amani has been an interesting set of challenges, but the final product —  technology specifically designed to support people changing the world one community at a time  is one to be proud of. We’re happy to have helped bring this project to life.