In the Timor story ( /open/usaid-humanity-united/inspiration/how-the-timor-genocide-was-prevented-story./ ) the prevention of violence depended on building a case with the U.N. and proving one sided violence.
The two basic challenges I wanted to address were:
1) how to record the evidence in a safe, scalable manner, and
2) how to share this to the world at large from hard to access places that may be surrounded.
For capturing evidence, digital cameras seem an ideal choice. Hidden digital cameras that could transmit pictures to a hidden location would keep the users safe. A fairly new technology called the wifi SD card makes this possible. ( www.eye.fi).
But why the homing pigeon?
- In a few spoofs in recent years, the homing pigeon was portrayed as faster than broadband in countries with developing networks. The video above was a repeat experiment of a previous spoof that was done in Africa, to illustrate how slow the networks were. In effect, a pigeon carrying the latest 128GB memory cards today could carry close to a terabyte of data over long distances.
-proven in war time. Bomber planes carried two pigeons in WW2, because they could relay a distress message as far as 1000 miles.
-discreet, low maintenance, inexpensive, and reliable.
In short, this concept is made up for four parts:
1) provide the means to document and capture events. A kit would be devised to allow the users to easily hide the cameras in trees or away from the users- bushes or roofs , and provide a timing feature or wires to activate the camera remotely. The wifi SD card would transmit the images automatically to a hidden hard disk around the village. (see www.eye.fi )
2) an ad hoc network of wireless routers would be set up around the village powered by it's own car battery/solar panel. A device will unlock the individual cage as the storage disks are filled wirelessly, or as the time runs out. An automated system would allow the pigeon cages to be well away from the community in anticipation of an attack. In peaceful times, the pigeons would be released to larger cages/lofts, and eventually released back to fly home to be replaced every few weeks/days.
3) There are several homing pigeon clubs in Africa . A partnership could be formed with NGOs to train and ship homing pigeons to hard to access places. Additionally, an option should be available for the communities to learn how to use and train the birds themselves for use with neighboring villages.
4) Once the pigeons have flown back to their 'home' with the evidence, clear instructions should be provided on how to expediently share the evidence onto a website/map and send the evidence to mass media channels/human rights groups.