Digital Advocacy for Change
by Renita Siqueira
Curated by Vandita Morarka
You’ve gotten to know our team, we’re bringing you this series so that you can get to know our work better too. We explore the different verticals of our work through the lens of the people leading them.
In today’s day and age, communication is key. We are continually conversing and communicating with each other and more often than not, through digital mediums. Constantly liaising between people and organisations, the role of a mediator is extremely important. At Safecity, we use communications and social media towards digital advocacy for building change in the following ways:
Creating awareness about sexual abuse and the laws: When we first began mapping sexual violence we realised that there were many who were unaware of what sexual violence really was, there was a related lack of awareness regarding laws and rights. We used Social Media as a tool to disseminate information through campaigns like ‘Know Your Rights’ an informative poster series which explained the different types of sexual harassment and related rights to our audiences.
Documenting our work: Safecity does a myriad of things along with crowdmapping sexual violence. Post all the on-ground work, we use social media to document our efforts. This serves a two-pronged purpose of documentation as well as informing people about the various activities we undertake. This led to people getting in touch with us asking us to conduct workshops in their institutions and took our awareness campaigns to larger audiences.
Sharing our stories: As stories began pouring in from various sources, be it on-ground or online campaigns or workshops, we decided to mould and shape some of those stories into poetry, into art, into something that could convey the depth of these incidents and encourage people to speak up and break the silences leading to our campaign ‘Broken Silences’.
Conversing with audiences: Social media is powerful and we wanted to use that power to engage and interact with our audiences and followers to know their thoughts about topics like sex, gender, sexual violence and abuse, menstruation and other issues that are usually considered taboo and engage them in solution oriented conversations around these themes. With this goal in mind, each week, we invite a new person to curate our Twitter handle. The reason for this rotation is to bring out different thought processes on the issue and engage people to be spokespersons for such causes. We also have TweetChats on our Twitter handle @pinthecreep every Friday on varied topics. These TweetChats enable us to have conversations with people around the globe from different backgrounds and cultures, all converging to speak about issues that affect all of us.
Collaborating with partner organisations: The work that we have taken up, to collate data on sexual violence in public spaces, needs people and groups to come together. It’s a monumental task and we recognise that joining hands with likeminded people and organisations can give this work the thrust that it needs in achieving the goal. In Delhi, we worked with Action Aid India and DNA to highlight the issue of the appalling lack of sanitation; last year, we collaborated with Main KuchBhiKar Sakti Hoon to celebrate the International Day of the Girl; during the 16 days of activism against GBV we had conversations with various organisations that work towards ‘making education safer’. Our recent collaboration has been with The Red Elephant Foundation under the banner “Project 21” where we are launching our apps together on the International Day of Peace. While we provide people with a platform to report sexual violence and build communities to fight the issue, Saahas provides help and support resources to those who have experienced sexual violence.
Providing audiences a platform to voice their thoughts: At Safecity, we believe that everyone has something to say and if given a chance to speak, it can make a world of a difference. Through our blog, #TheWritersMovement, we provide people with a platform to share their thoughts about gender, safety, women’s rights, sexual violence and other related issues. We invite poets, bloggers, and simply anyone who has something to say. With our app, anyone can now upload a blog anytime and from anywhere.
Handling Communications and Social Media can sometimes be tough. However, the experiences are always fulfilling when you realize that you have helped bridge the gap between people in some way and formed relations that have a lasting impact on our communities.
With our app we are now taking our digital advocacy further, it’s more power to the people, to you, to our users. You can directly share your blogs, organise events, communicate with each other and help those in need. Each one of you has the power to make your city a safer place, we hope our app helps you realise your power.
Connect with us?
Write in to firstname.lastname@example.org with feedback and queries and also stay tuned in to this space for more details on the launch of our app on 21st September, 2017.