Alternate Technology for Rights of Marginalised Communities

Science & Technology
re:publica 2016


Rights groups from around the world are adopting the technology tools as a part of their work. Technology solutions are generally built with the assumption that they are going to be adapted widely by different communities. However most of the solutions built are ICTs. While documenting street harassment in India I used both ICTs and some experimental Alternate Technologies. I found that ICTs does not ensure equal access, marginalised groups still face significant barriers. Challenges include cost, literacy, accessibility, cultural norms, safety, and a lack of understanding of potential applications. In this talk I would be sharing my learnings about building technology for communities which are marginalised and how they can be empowered where ICTs fail.


Technology when done right can help bring the voices of hidden people out into the open.  The mobile and internet-technology based interventions have become commonly adopted by various rights organisations. They come with numerous advantages like anonymity , ease of use and ease of deployment and have largely changed the scope and reach of the organisations .

But on the other hand they cater mostly to the general populate with access and knowledge to use these technologies. They are also severely limited in terms of  community interventions because most interactions are one to one.

There are a number of challenges around ICT access in conflict or fragile states, including problems with telephone lines, poor internet connection and irregular electricity supplies. The costs of purchasing and maintaining hardware, connecting to the internet, software licensing and phone bills are also high.

It is highly imperative that we as a society also build solutions which tackle these issues and provide equal access to resources. Hence Alternate Technology solutions are important to equal access. In this talk I would be sharing my learnings from experience of using ICTs and building Alternative Technology Solutions for Street Harassment Reporting in India. I will be sharing some design stratergies to build such technologies and also show the impact of these solutions.

This is an effort to encourage conversations around building technology innovation for rights organisations beyond the ICTs.

Stage J
Montag, 2. Mai 2016 - 15:15 bis 15:45