OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign up, Login or Learn more

Voice - An International Media Project for Women

What is the biggest contributing factor to women’s inequality in disadvantaged communities? The lack of a VOICE. Women everywhere suffer from inequality, abuse, and demoralization. However, in western cultures, most women have a voice with which to speak out against these injustices. Women in impoverished communities all over the world may have a voice, but they rarely have an audience to listen. How do we give women a voice? By using media (video, photography, audio, Skype, and their written words) to deliver their message to a specific, targeted audience with the resources, funding, and drive to help. The "Voice" gets delivered to pre-qualified social activist groups in partner universities throughout the developed world.

Photo of Amy Carst
107 155

Written by

Provide a short description of your idea

The Voice Project works with a group of women - who are in need of help - in an impoverished, urban area (anywhere in the world). Native women field staff work with the group to create an in-depth, holistic picture of the women's lives and the specific problem they are trying to solve. They create a full media kit, including video and audio interviews, photography, and written words, and deliver this media kit directly to a pre-assigned university group. This university group, in turn, becomes familiar with their assigned women's group and they begin the process of IDEATING a solution to their problem(s). The university group and the women's group work in COLLABORATION over the course of 6-9 months. The women are just as involved in the problem solving as the university group. The idea here is that the women themselves should be empowered to solve their own problems, however, they often lack the resources, funding, and necessary framework to do so. The university group can "fill in the blanks" in this way, using connections, fundraising, and advanced education and technology skills to help the women reach their goals. The university group (hereinafter called the "primary university" group) will partner with a university group in the women's home country as well. This will serve two purposes. The university group in the home country can lend cultural knowledge about what will and will not work, and involving these students will help raise local awareness of issues and help to create a cultural shift by engaging students (male and female) in solving problems affecting women in their community.

Get a user's perspective on your idea.

Our target audience is women in impoverished, urban areas around the globe. We aim to work with groups of women with a common need. That "need" could be assistance in starting a small business, developing an educational program for girls without access to schooling, or establishing a safe-haven for victims of abuse within their community. Our primary university groups will problem solve, in collaboration with the women's group and the home country university, over a 6-9 month period,. They will work together to create a long-term solution to the problem(s). This solution may also require fundraising on the part of the primary university group. The women will be closely involved in creating their solution, further empowering them. Without significant cultural knowledge, we cannot begin to understand the plight of these women. This is another reason they MUST be involved in creating the solution.

Show us what implementation might look like.

We will begin with our pilot project (explained in the "Fill in the Details" section). Training in Digital Storytelling will begin in August of this year. Our Ugandan field staff will begin working with our first women's group (the Entebbe Sharks Girls' Rugby team) on September 1st. In October the field staff will deliver, to the university team at NYU, the media kit. On November 1st the team at NYU will begin collaborating with the Entebbe Sharks on a way to solve their problem, specifically how to acquire annual funding for their own team, as well as how to build up a larger organization, creating more teams and helping more girls. NYU will partner with Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda on the ideation. We will closely monitor the ideation process, and will document it in its entirety. It is expected that the pilot project will be a learning process, complete with mistakes and missteps along the way, but it will serve to create a working model from which to serve future projects. Once the 6-9 month ideation process is complete, field staff will visit the women's group every 10 weeks to document progress, and at the end of a full 12 month period, the field staff will visit the women's group once a year, to conduct an annual report. Once we have successfully run through the pilot project, we will begin replicating the Voice Project in other high-need urban areas around the world. This will consist of training field staff, recruiting more university partners (which will not be difficult, as we've already had several respected universities contact us to partner), and locating more women's groups (which also will not be difficult in high-need areas).
Through our experience with women in impoverished communities, we have learned that when given the opportunity, these women have a LOT to say.  Often, we have walked away from conversations and thought, "Wow, if only the world could hear what she just said".  Most people in the western world will never leave the western world.  For this reason, most of us have absolutely no idea what lies beyond our line of vision.  We are not incapable of helping, nor are we selfish, heartless people.  We simply don't know how serious the problems affecting global women really are.  When we do see or hear about them, it is through second-hand stories or commercials on television that de-humanize the people in them by showing only the most malnourished, fly-covered children in an effort to make us donate money.  While this tactic works on a targeted funding level, it also creates in us a sense of disconnect and pity.  It makes us view about 80% of the population as so beyond hope that there is nothing we can do to make a difference. 

Prototype:

  • Field Staff: A team of women in Uganda.  We have known these women for years, they are capable, educated,  reliable, motivated, and they have the necessary, state of the art video, audio, and photography equipment and the resources to facilitate this project. 
  • Women's Group: A young women's Rugby team in Entebbe, Uganda, the Entebbe Sharks. This team is comprised mostly of children who have been orphaned.  The team was established to empower these girls (as we all know, rugby is a TOUGH sport!) They are struggling financially to find continuous funding for the team, and they want to reach out to other girls who can benefit from joining the organization.  
  • Primary University Partner: An existing team at NYU, ready and willing to take the challenge.
  • Home Country University Partner: Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda will work in collaboration with NYU to lend cultural understanding to the ideation process and to become more familiar with issues affecting their community.  
  • Digital Storytelling Training: The team at Creative Narrations is training me (Amy Carst) and I will, in turn, train our field staff on how to accomplish the best results with digital storytelling, how to use the equipment, how to get the groups to "open up", etc.  It is common for women in these areas to be hesitant to open up to outsiders, and for many of them it is not the cultural norm to speak of their injustices.  That is why our field staff must be comprised of mostly native women AND why the projects have to be so long in duration.  We do not expect the groups of women we are working with to share all of their concerns with us over a one day, one week, or one month time span.  We must work with them long-term and slowly, safely, build a trusting relationship.  
  • Educational / Health videos: The team at The Global Health Media Project (globalhealthmedia.org) has provided us with an extensive, award-winning library of globally sensitive health videos on everything from cholera to umbilical chord care in newborns.  These videos have been translated into multiple languages. This will begin our educational video library, which will be built upon with videos on starting small businesses, small-scale farming, safety, etc.  
  • Promotion beyond the pilot project: I (Amy Carst) will travel nationally and internationally, speaking on behalf of the Voice Project, recruiting university teams and field staff, finding high-need women's groups to work with / support, acquiring corporate sponsors, and speaking out against the inequality and injustice that women face worldwide.  I will also travel to field staff locations, as they are established in impoverished urban areas across the globe, to train field staff in digital storytelling.

Explain your idea in one sentence.

Voice is an international media project that creates a direct channel between women in need and a specific, targeted audience with the capacity, resources, funding, and drive to IDEATE a solution to their problem.

What is the need you are trying to solve?

If a tree falls in the woods but no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? If a woman needs help but there is no one to hear her plea, does she have a voice? We will use media (video, photography, audio, Skype, and the written words of women participating in the program) to deliver their message to a specific, targeted audience with the capacity, resources, and drive to help. Who is the audience? Pre-qualified university student groups, comprised of social activists and entrepreneurs willing to devote a significant portion of their time to their assigned women’s group. Each social project will be 6-9 months in duration, from start to finish, although the relationships students will develop with their group may very well continue on for life. Field staff and volunteers will prepare the project prior to assigning it to a university, creating a complete "media kit" for the group of women needing help. The field staff will conduct interviews which will be recorded on video. The women will tell stories of their lives, their hopes and fears, their dreams, their biggest problems and safety-issues in day to day life. Field staff will translate and create the “Voice Book” which will combine the women's words with beautiful photography of their daily lives. Once the media kit is complete, it will be distributed to the chosen group of university students, who will become familiar with their group by viewing and reading the material within the kit. The following week will begin with face to face meetings (between the women and the IDEATORS) via Skype. These face to face meetings will happen once a month. It will be the mission of the selected university group to IDEATE, and work in collaboration with their assigned group to reach a solution to the most serious safety and well-being problems affecting the women they are working with. Young, driven, activist-minded, intelligent college students who want to make a difference, will be given the most important project of their life, one through which they can immediately “change the world”. In addition to working in collaboration with the women, the primary university group will also work with a university in the women's home country.

Who will benefit from this idea and how would you monitor its success?

The world will benefit from this idea. While women in impoverished countries may see the most immediate benefit, the world (men, women, children, business, government) has been suffering from the disproportionate balance of women in power for centuries. If the world is run entirely by men, it is out of balance. This would be equally true if the world was run entirely by women. Balance is balance. Any decision made without an appropriate male and female balance is an incomplete decision. We know that the majority of decisions affecting the general state of our planet are made by men. So isn’t it logical to assume that the majority of decisions are imbalanced? This is not to say all male-dominated (or female-dominated) decisions are wrong. But how can we trust decisions that are only representative of one-half of our species? Monitoring of success will be completed via the field offices' annual reports. At the conclusion of the 9 month project, the field office will conduct "site visitations" at 10 week intervals to monitor continued success. After the first year, field offices will conduct site visitations on an annual basis to monitor progress and prepare an annual report.

Who would be best equipped to implement this idea in the real world? You? Your organisation? Another organisation or entity?

This international media project will be best implemented by the establishment of field offices in high-need, urban areas. Field offices can consist of a brick and mortar building, or they can simply consist of a small team (volunteers and/or staff) who work “in the field”. Volunteers, or staff, would need to be equipped with iPads, camera (with recording capabilities), and internet access. The volunteers, or staff, would need to be at least partially comprised of native women, in order to communicate with the women groups and to ensure that the project is conducted in a culturally sensitive manner. Volunteers, or staff, would need to be bi-lingual in English (or Spanish) in order to translate written and spoken material for presentation. There would need to be a skilled writer on the team, however, this person could be located anywhere in the world. There is an amazing group of Ugandan women at the Malayaka House orphanage who are the ideal team for our pilot project in Uganda. In addition, there are countless international volunteers (Spain, USA, Mexico, Germany, etc.) who either live in, or simply spend significant time in, Uganda. Many of these volunteers are educated, cultured women with a passion for effecting positive change in Uganda. The Malayaka House orphanage home will be established as a field office for our pilot project in Uganda (described in Prototype) and will remain a field office for all future Voice projects.

Where should this idea be implemented?

This idea can be implemented in disadvantaged communities across the globe. We would like to begin with a pilot project in Entebbe, Uganda. We are associated with the Malayaka House orphanage in Entebbe, and have spent significant time living and working in Uganda. Because of our connections in Entebbe, we can work with myriad groups of women; from aunties working at the orphanage, to women coming to our gates asking for help with caring for and feeding their children, to girls living as “street children” in various slums throughout the Entebbe / Kampala region. We also work closely with the police in Entebbe and are regularly informed of issues of abuse on women and children, and child neglect or abandonment – both of which are rampant in Uganda. In addition, a multitude of women are not experiencing abuse, but wish to provide for themselves through starting a business or learning a skill. However, many of these women do not have the money or resources to do so. Malayaka House is working hard to create income-generating opportunities for the women we work with, but there are countless other women outside our walls who would benefit greatly from the resources, training, ideas, experience, and funding that could be generated through this international media project.

What might a day in the life of a community member interacting with your idea look like?

For our group projects, participating women will work with field workers (at least some of whom are native women). The field workers will ask predetermined questions to gather information (in a culturally sensitive manner) on the women's lives, their specific problems, their concerns about participating (if any), what their goals for the program are, etc. The women will be video and audio taped in a comfortable setting with a native woman as the interviewer. They will be photographed (same parameters), and they will be engaged in a collaborative storytelling project which will allow the fieldworkers to write down the women's thoughts in a fun, creative way using poetry, song, and other storytelling techniques. They will also be shown how to use the online forum, which will allow them to communicate with other women and to watch an extensive library of videos of their choosing. These videos will range in subject from newborn care to hygiene to starting a small business to gardening / farming. Once a university group has been assigned to that particular project, the women will begin communicating with their assigned university team using Skype. The process will be entirely collaborative so that the women are empowered to build their own solution with their team. In addition to the use of media to educate the IDEATORS on the plight of their assigned group, the project will also use media to educate the women on issues directly impacting their safety and well-being. The online forum (to which they will have full access) will have videos on everything from newborn care, nutrition, urban and small-scale farming / gardening to hygiene, abuse, how to call for help, menstruation, and starting a small business. It will also - eventually - consist of a larger community of women from around the world in similar situations, who are also taking part in the project. Through a Google translate-style program, women will type their posts in their native language, and the posts will automatically be translated into the native language of women around the world who wish to read, or respond to, the posts. This will further develop the sense of community, on a global level.

107 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Simon Robins
Team

Hi Amy,
Shane Zhao from IDEO pointed me in the direction of your idea as it has some real relevance to my own https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/urban-resilience/ideas/shoutbox.
Just wanted to say how much of a great concept I think it is and was wondering if you've developed it any further?
Also, if you're interested have a look at my concept as it may have some application in any further development work you are doing in this area.

Kind regards,
Simon

Photo of Katrina Sterling
Team

Amy, such a powerful mission behind this idea! I can't imagine the great impact this will make on the future of those woman you will be reaching. An educated (empower) mother increases the likeliness of a more empower offspring! This idea can lead to a complete change of direction for the future of these women and their families. These are the type of missions I pride myself on advocating for! Applause to you and your team and good luck :)

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

I would like to thank everyone who has supported us and shared insightful comments on our project. We did not get shortlisted, however, through this collaboration we have made some great connections which will help immensely with long-term goals and planning. Thank you!

Photo of Natasha Freidus
Team

Hi Amy, sorry we didn't make the next stage but hoping to continue working with you! Best, Tasha

Photo of Rapudo Hawi
Team

Amy I value your input; the lessons we learned are milestone and are continuing to draw are very major.

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

We are very proud to announce that we have just updated our project to include an essential component which was brought to our attention by team member, Natasha Freidus. Our project links university groups in the "developed world" to women's groups in impoverished, urban communities. The university group then works in collaboration with the women's group to IDEATE a solution over the course of 6-9 months. However, we have added an integral component to our project, which will make it much richer and allow it to have a greater impact on the communities we are working in. The primary university group will PARTNER with a university group in the women's home country. These local students will work in collaboration with the primary university group, lending cultural knowledge and - most importantly - developing an awareness of women's safety and well-being issues within their own community. Engaging community members in this way is a key step to creating the cultural shift that needs to happen to truly effect change. On our pilot project, our primary university is NYU (New York University) and they will partner with Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda to reach the most culturally effective solution and to directly involve Ugandan students in the efforts to bring safety and empowerment to their Ugandan sisters.

Photo of Natasha Freidus
Team

Wow you work quickly Amy! Great news-- what departments will be partnering?

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

We are just at very beginning stages, but the plan is to work with the Ethics and Human Rights program of their College of Humanities and Social Sciences department.

Photo of Karolle Rabarison
Team

This university partnership sounds like a promising component, Amy. Looking forward to seeing the next steps in this project.

Photo of Caroline Fish
Team

I would be interested in partnering to help give forum to the voices of women involved in this project. I run a web-based interactive forum to empower people to share visions, strategies, and struggles for equality. The hope is to minimize the isolation of community-based human rights efforts in countries around the world. Where you unite individual problems with people with resources, my forum is a platform to share those stories and connections, the ways people come together to forge such solutions. I would love to help bring your success stories to light when this project moves forward. Please be sure to contact me if you're interested: bethefoundation.org@gmail.com and the site is http://bethefoundation.org

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Here's a friendly tip for both of you: update your OpenIDEO profile so folks can dig who they're collaborating with. Think skills, experience, passions & wit! Looking forward to seeing more of you across conversations on this challenge...

Photo of Yoel Kluk
Team

Thank you Caroline, rest assure we will invite all possible resources and your platform seem like a perfect fit. We appreciate you visiting and sharing and offering to join.

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Hi Caroline, thank you so much for your offer to partner. I spent some time researching your forum, and I think it's a GREAT thing that you are doing. A way for humanitarian activists to connect, bounce ideas off each other, and possibly partner on projects, is a major need. Thank you! As this project takes shape, I will contact you to see how we can work together to give an even stronger voice to these women.

And Meena, thank you for the advice! I updated my profile :)

Photo of Diane Houle-Rutherford
Team

Congratulations Yoel..and to the team. I will be happy to follow the development. And to promote your project with people I know. Do you have any contact in UNICEF? I am working with a team of field people from all over the world in New York next week.

Photo of Annekatrin Els
Team

I hope Entebbe Sharks gets selected for the pilot project. What a great idea it would be for the young girls who have already learned so much through the sport to reach out and teach more girls about it !!! We are excited!

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Good luck to everyone as we move to the next phase!

Photo of Gonzalo Garcia
Team

The voice has been denied to women in all history stages. Since the existing of writing works in the western culture, women have not been listened. We have well known passages of this. Telemaco saying to his mother, Penelope: "…word must be a matter of men, of all of them, principally mine, whom in this Palace the power has"
Homero: "…an important part in the man growing is to learn how to control what in public is saying and to keep silence women of our specie"
Current situation is not very different in some places of our culture: in several ways women voice is not listened, in the parliament seats, in our contemporary politic, in the offices, schools or in the neighborhoods of urban areas.
The idea to give "voice" to women is wonderful and necessary: we have to work hardly in this way and supporting efforts of people who are making this dream possible.
Congratulations

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Thank you for the wise words, Gonzalo. We will give these women a voice!

Photo of Pilar Marmolejo
Team

Good luck¡¡¡

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Thank you, Pilar!

Photo of Clara Fleisher
Team

This is a fantastic proyect!!! Good luck

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Thank you, Clara! We appreciate the support!

Photo of Kavita Gonsalves
Team

Amy, I really love your Voice project, especially how it transforms digital storytelling into activism---I just wanted to recommend the following as potential collaborators for your project:
http://mediaforchange.org/
https://www.facebook.com/mediaforchange.org

We are partnering with them as we realised video blogging is the best way to get the Krantikaris' stories out to the world.

Hope that helps! :)

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Thank you so much, Kavita. I will research Media for Change now!

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

And Kavita, I would very much like to collaborate. Do you mind if I add you to my team?

Photo of Yoel Kluk
Team

I am wondering on the prototype description what elements or variables we are not sure about and how might we test them? what kind of experiences would our users share when testing the prototypes? how would they tell the story of the project?

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Good questions, Yoel. Yes, we welcome all user feedback, especially questions regarding the prototype. If you have questions about possible obstacles or issues we might run into, in general or specific to a particular part of the world, your input will be invaluable.

Photo of Parnasri Ray Choudhury
Team

Dear Amy: So nice to read your project and the idea, developed with days of dedicated hard work and the team spirit, no comments just an applaud, look forward to see your idea growing bigger and better over the time.Good luck.

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Thank you so much, Parnasri. Good luck to you as well. This is a fun, exciting forum for sharing ideas!

Photo of Parnasri Ray Choudhury
Team

Thanks to you too Amy, I've been closely following your project and will continue to learn from your excellent team work, lets stay connected. Loads of luck.

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

I see a general theme in many of the best ideas of this challenge. That theme is that we must do more than just treat the symptoms of global problems, we must treat the underlying cause. The only way to do this is to create a shift in thinking. We must create an actual cultural change, at the core of the problem. It all goes back to education. We must implement a process with which to educate young men so that they grow into adults that respect women. We must educate young women so that they grow into adults with a respect for themselves. In order to do this, we must change the way mainstream media in these parts of the world (and, quite honestly, in our own) treats women. We must work toward launching campaigns that show women as strong, powerful, and educated. We must work toward eliminating campaigns that portray women as objects. We must educate young men and women on menstruation, pregnancy, and child birth. We must create media campaigns that shame men who abuse, demoralize, or harass women. In order to change their way of thinking, we have to change the formula of education and media, and we have to do it NOW. In all societies, our perception of the world is shaped primarily by two things; our education and the media. Knowing that, the answer should be simple. That is where we strike. That is where the solution lies. You give women an education, you give them a voice. You teach men to respect women, you save the world.

Photo of Congmin Liang
Team

It is true that most women in western cultures have their voice to speak out against injustices. They know their rights, because they want to be treat equally and they get the rights they want through their voice. They usually go on the streets, TV, or Internet to fight for their rights, and to let everyone hear their voices. But the women in impoverished communities around the world might have their voices, but people did not listen to them or even did not care about them. Those women want to get the rights like everybody else, but in some reasons they might not be treat equally and they do not have ways to let people hear their voices. It is really important to let their voices to be heard, because they have they right like others, and they need to be treat equally. I think the government need to help them to get their rights and let people to hear their voices. Nice idea.

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Thank you for the kind words, Congmin. I agree with your thoughts. If we give women around the world a voice, the world will benefit greatly.

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

I would like to share with everyone that we have just updated our project. Adding bullet points, organizing, and removing some of the redundant text should make the information easier to digest! Thank you to everyone for your support.

Photo of Natasha Freidus
Team

Woohoo! you got the bullet points working:) looks great Amy!

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Yes, finally! Karolle helped me out :)

Photo of Colleen Todd
Team

I love this. Creating a direct channel between people who need help and those who can help them. Great idea!

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Thank you, Colleen! We appreciate the support!

Photo of Julienne Landsdown
Team

Amy! I think collaboration sounds like something we should explore between Voice and BoxGirls. Julienne

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Hi Julienne, I agree. Where are you located?

Photo of Julienne Landsdown
Team

I am in Nairobi and the gym is in Kariobangi.

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Great. I am going to do some research on your project and we can connect via email. Does that work? I am in Uganda quite often, and I was already planning on visiting Nairobi the next time I'm in EA.

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

I just did further research on Box Girls Kenya, and I'm very impressed. Our pilot project for Voice is actually based on a similar idea. We will be working with a girls rugby program, also a very "tough" and empowering sport, to help them find funding and get more girls to join. I have a lot more to say, but we can connect via email later :)

Photo of Natasha Freidus
Team

Thanks for adding me to your team Amy, I'd love to talk more about potential overlaps between our projects. One question I had was about the audience of your project - are you envisioning room for peer to peer learning here as well or do the channels solely exist between women's groups and university students? What do you think are some of the challenges of a model where students' work is limited to a nine month cycle? What are strategies to get around those? Thanks!

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Hi, Natasha. There is absolutely a component of peer to peer learning. The University groups are established to help with long-term collaboration which culminates in a solution. The thinking here is that university students are focused on the project, they have access to technology, educational information, and resources that the women do not. And, as part of a social entrepreneurship course, they will have the time, energy, and dedication to see the project through to completion. The university group will have a 9 month timeline, however, the women's groups will not be left in the dark after that. They will have significant resources, through field offices, local teams, and via the internet, to continue receiving benefits from the project. In fact, a quarterly, and then annual follow-up (with accompanying annual report) is a portion of the process. And we wish to establish an online forum for women all over the world, in similar situations, to be able to communicate with each other. We envision a google-translate style program that will allow women in India or Uganda or Guatemala to read posts from women in other countries, and vice versa. This is the online forum through which I thought your "Mapping Our Success Stories" could play an integral role.

Photo of Natasha Freidus
Team

Thanks for clarifying Amy! I'd love to be able to message you directly, can you shoot me an email at www.creativenarrations.net/contact or let me know how to reach you?

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Emailing you now :)

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Natasha, looking at your site, I see just how in line these ideas are. Your section on Digital Storytelling is exactly how we plan to capture the essence of a community that would otherwise be impossible to understand by a group of American university students. Your site reads: Digital Storytelling & Community Video:
Through hands-on workshops, participants learn to blend together voice, imagery, artifacts, and video footage into compelling personal and community narratives. We specialize in customized train the trainer work, and provide ongoing support following production wrokshops.

This is EXACTLY what we would train our field staff to do. And then they would create a "media kit" or "storytelling package" that would be delivered to the university partners. There would also be LIVE collaboration, via Skype, etc. But this digital storytelling component would be the core of the project.

Photo of Natasha Freidus
Team

Nice! Am going to email you now.

Photo of Yoel Kluk
Team

Welcome to the team!!

Photo of Natasha Freidus
Team

Thanks Yoel, so glad to be here and meeting such innovative thinkers on this forum.

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Hi Natasha, I incorporated Creative Narrations into our prototype. I sent you a private message also. Any interest in traveling to Uganda and training our field staff in digital storytelling?!

Photo of Natasha Freidus
Team

Sure thing Amy!

Photo of Ryan Sarafolean
Team

I couldn't agree more in terms of the importance for individuals to be able to safely and confidently tell their stories. We have a similar program at the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy in Nairobi, Kenya. Check it out - http://www.kiberagirlssocceracademy.org/programs/journalism-club/

If you ever are in Nairobi , you would be more than welcome to swing on down to the school for a visit and see the Journalism club in action.

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Hey Ryan,

Wow, your project is incredible! I know the need there is great, and you are doing some very powerful work. I would love to learn more about the journalism club! And I am in Uganda frequently, so it's possible that I could make a side trip to Nairobi the next time I'm there.

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Ryan, I just researched the journalism club...and it really is exceptional what they have put together. I would love to talk to you more about it, as these projects take shape.

Photo of Karolle Rabarison
Team

Wow, this journalism club looks like the most wonderful thing.

I wanted to share with you guys a couple of other examples of initiatives that empower individuals to tell their own stories –for inspiration and/or other ideas. One is a rural newspaper run by locals-turned-journalists (women) and like the shedders magazine, highlights the joys and challenges of the community. The other is video-driven and teaches individuals to literally show an issue in their community and to lobby for change.

http://badalja.com/of-us-for-us-by-us-fast-growing-rural-newspaper-ensures-progress-for-women/

http://videovolunteers.org

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Karolle, this is invaluable information! I especially love videovolunteers.org. The concept of working with a group needing help and crafting the message into a format that can be delivered to an audience, is very similar to our concept. The main difference is the audience, and the follow-up part of the plan. Instead of being distributed to the general public via traditional media outlets, our project seeks to deliver the message to a small, targeted audience with the desire to take immediate action. Both concepts are strong, and both seek to achieve the same goal. I love that you shared this with us! One of the best parts of this Open Ideo forum is that I have realized how many other people and organizations are working toward a similar goal. This community is helping us to fine tune our own plans, and creating invaluable connections. Thank you so much, Karolle!

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Karolle, a few weeks ago you shared this videovolunteers.org site with me. Do you know any of the people behind this project? I would love to ask them some questions about their process.

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

We have just updated our project page with the Prototype.

Photo of Karolle Rabarison
Team

At the risk of sounding stupid, I must ask: Where do I click to see the prototype? (I might be looking in the wrong place!)

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Hi Karolle, No, you are not stupid :) I made a mistake...we posted the prototype and then took it down because it wasn't formatted correctly. Rohith is working on it right now and we will re-post shortly. I updated the "How might you Prototype this Idea" section, however, and that is still up. But the Information Architecture for the web site was taken down and will be put back up soon!

Photo of Yoel Kluk
Team

Also, the prototypes will be formally tested as prototypes as teh idea is - HOPEFULY moved forward - and refined. It is a fun stage and i am particullary lloking forward to that part of the process. I think Rohith came up with an amazing concept so I would call what we have now a protocept :)

Photo of Karolle Rabarison
Team

Hahah, thanks for clarifying!

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Hi Karolle, I updated the prototype. In the "Prototype" section, I broke down our pilot project, and I put an image of our web site format in the "Make It Visual" section. Thanks, Karolle!

Photo of Sara Baker
Team

Can't wait to see how this idea takes shape into actions that will change SO many lives!

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Thank you, Sara! You have played a role in shaping this idea :) Do you mind if I add you to the team??

Photo of Sara Baker
Team

Of course!

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

You are added to the team. Thank you, Sara!

Photo of A Woman's Heart Foundation Africa
Team

O, hi Amy, now I see you idea. I think women in disadvantaged communities do need a voice. I also say they need enlightenment. As people and in this case as women, after we have asked for all we know and think we ought to have, it may end there, but if we are told time and time again that we deserve more and we are worth more, we make a more informed decision when we speak out to make a demand on our rights.

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Thank you for your thoughtful comments!

Photo of shruti kapoor
Team

Hi Amy, sounds like an interesting idea. I do agree that giving VOICE to those that need it the most is extremely important. Channeling that voice to people who can make a difference is equally important. I think your solution touches on both of those. I am curious to know more about how this will be implemented. How is it difference from say a documentary. Take for example Girl Rising, it's a fabulous documentary showcasing the voices of young girls in difference countries. How is your solution different from creating a documentary? I am not clear on that front. Having said that I'd like to help in anyway I can and be a part of the team. Maybe we can talk more about how you are implementing this idea. Thanks!

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Hi Shruti, thank you for the kind response. I just reviewed your website and I think you are doing amazing work. I would be honored to have you join our team! The differences between this project and a documentary are numerous. Although a short documentary could be one component of our project, it is the interactive nature that sets it apart. Film footage, their written words, photography, music, and Skype will be used to create a complete, multimedia package which will allow the women to tell their story to one, specific group. The media package will be delivered directly to the university team, and they will spend 6-9 months working, in collaboration with the women's group, on finding a solution to their most serious issues. They will connect via Skype once a month, and the women will interact with their team. However, it will be through the interviews conducted by our field staff (comprised of native women) that they will learn the most about the women's backgrounds, their stories, their fears, their hopes and dreams, etc. Storytelling is a huge component of this process. We feel the women will be much more comfortable really opening up to other women of their same culture and background (the field staff) over a period of time. We realize that they may be a little more reserved when Skyping with their university team. However, we feel this is an important part of the process as well, to let the women know they are involved in their own solution, and to empower them to affect change in their own lives.

Photo of SocioApps
Team

Hey Amy,
your idea sounds great! we think our idea and your digital channel can collaborate to deliver content through our app to its subscribers. Lets spark a conversation over the same. Please suggest your views over our idea @ http://www.openideo.com/challenge/womens-safety/ideas/secureme-help-get-helped-smart-affordable-for-safety-security-instant-rescue

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Hello! Your idea looks really intriguing. I have to read a little more thoroughly to fully grasp the concept, but it seems to have a lot of potential. In addition to texting and emailing, an app is a wonderful idea for allowing women to discreetly and anonymously submit information. It looks like you are also incorporating an immediate "beacon-style" feature to your device, as well, which would alert other people wearing the same device to an offense going on nearby? Is that correct? I would have a lot of questions about how this would work, but the concept is great.

Photo of SocioApps
Team

Thanks for your reply!
Yes it connects the nearby users to respond to offense happening next to them. They can see the position of the victim and number of people responding to the emergency. It works to the range to 500-1000m without using any mobile network. technically it can work anywhere in any city, without buying any special services. It would help the tourist visiting unknown places. We have prototype and validated our idea. It's now under refinement and future modification. Our prime target is to bring this device in cost range of <$40, with no additional costs. Seeking your advice, support and views.

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Fantastic! I also like that it can be purchased by someone who is visiting an area...not necessarily a "tourist" but an aid-worker, or someone along those lines. This might help encourage more aid-workers to travel to areas that are considered somewhat "dangerous" knowing that they will be notified of assaults and where they are occurring. Also, I think it should be addressed that some people are going to be more apt to respond to such an issue. For example, while a notification that a woman is being assaulted in a specific location may successfully alert many other women to the offense, those women are not likely to respond to the distress call. Assigning "neighborhood watch dogs would be helpful. People who are able to respond and help. And then everyone else can simply use the notification as an alert to avoid the area. It can also be used as a reporting tool to gather statistics on where and when these crimes against women are being committed. Great idea!

Photo of SocioApps
Team

Yes, We appreciate your support.
We also get data which is displayed as safety index of particular location. User can view the same prior to visit any place. For phase two of our mobile app users we can notify users about unsafe areas during their commute. User can even get notification if their loved ones or kids enter any potentially unsafe area's. Currently notification works on mobile app.

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

I think it's great. Let's discuss further as we move to the next phase of the project.

Photo of Yoel Kluk
Team

I think the prototype makes this project even more powerful, by using technology and databases with the addition of Rohith and his team, the audience group is now not only ready to listen to women but also to actually help.

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

I agree, Yoel. I think our team should connect via Skype early next week to clearly outline the parameters of our pilot project. Now that we have the university group (NYU), we have a US team and a team in Uganda, and we have identified our first women's group, we can work toward kicking off the project. I have sent a few emails to other teams who are working on complimentary projects as well. This forum is full of invaluable resources!!!

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Oh, and safe travels to Mexico / Peru!

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Just want to tell everyone how wonderful this Open IDEO program has been so far! Our hope is that our project gets taken to the next phase, but regardless of the outcome, the collaboration that has been facilitated through this forum is invaluable. Just this week, I drove to NYC from my home in Vermont to meet with a new team member. I met Rohith through this forum. He and the rest of his team at NYU are combining forces with my original team to create a working prototype that embodies both projects. I see a lot of positive development in our future!

Photo of Franca Leeson
Team

Great idea, well thought out. Good luck!

Photo of Yoel Kluk
Team

Thank you Franca, you were part of the ideation, we can add you to the team...

Photo of Tim Hurson
Team

Great project that deserves every level of support.

Photo of Yoel Kluk
Team

Thank you Tim, by the way, I would like to talk to facilitators without borders about this project and one of my team mates Amy.

Photo of Nicole Merhi
Team

great Idea !!!all the best

Photo of Avishag Levy Kaplan
Team

Good luck!!

Photo of Avit Romano
Team

Good luck!

Photo of Orly Kluk
Team

This is a wonderful idea, I support it and hope it wins so the lives of many women can be changed.

Photo of Yoel Kluk
Team

Ryan, thank yous o much for sharing. You do have a great project too. Wow! I had the opportunity of spending a day at a school in Entebbe Uganda and was very empowering. I would love to see first hand the journalism club in action. Have you tried to parter your club with a school somewhere else?
you know we are very excited about our project, we feel what is innovative about it is the fact that is reversing the "normal" flow: normally we go from the west to help and teach and do... in this project the idea is to create the audience for women that need it. Thank you again for your comment

Photo of Rohith Rai
Team

Hello Amy,

I went through the idea and would like to tell you that we are a team of graduate students from NYU, have a similar idea but, we would like to give voice to women who have faced problems like sexual abuse, assault and are being ill treated etc. We wanted women to share their problems with us and we wanted to keep their identity as anonymous unless they would like to go into the public. Here is our Idea http://www.openideo.com/challenge/womens-safety/ideas/open-database-for-college-based-sexual-assaults
We have limited this idea only to the college students as of now for prototyping. But i found your idea interesting, and possibly, if we can find women who were assaulted, and your team can bring up their Voice. Our team can also collaborate with you and help you in the second part of prototyping, where you assign students to people as University partners, and we collect the information to publish it as a magazine article or as a video.
Let me know what you feel and how wold you be able to collaborate with us.

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

So nice to meet you! And you are right, I see a lot of potential for collaboration here. Our ideas are very similar - I think your idea is just a bit more focused on one specific issue. Focus can be a VERY good thing. I also think it is very fortuitous that we have found each other via this project and that you are the perfect example of a university group wishing to make a significant impact in the world. Sexual abuse toward women in disadvantaged areas of the world is one of the biggest issues facing women, and girls, today. However, with our project, we didn't focus on sexual abuse alone because of our experiences in Uganda. There are so many additional problems affecting women there that we wanted to give a "forum" to all women wanting to be heard, or needing the knowledge and resources to take a big step in their lives toward self sufficiency, starting a business, or finding vocational training. I see a TON of potential for us to work together on this. We could combine forces, in addition to your group at NYU being the PERFECT first university partner. Finding a women's group to work with will not be difficult, and we have the perfect field office / team in Uganda because of our relationship with the Malayaka House orphanage, and the greater Entebbe community. If your focus is to work with women who have been victims of sexual abuse, we can certainly make the appropriate connections. I see your idea as being more focused on finding a team of authorities to help and less on "ideating" on the solution over a period of time. In essence, you have already performed the "ideation" through creating your project. Your "ideation" IS your project. And I think you have reached a very solid, working solution. What if we were to combine these solutions? If we were to work with a group of Ugandan women, getting to know them (as proposed in our project - via Skype, email communication, their written words, and video interviews conducted by our Ugandan field staff), becoming familiar with their issue (in this case sexual abuse), and then moving forward into a planning phase? Of course, the first part of the planning phase may very likely include contacting the authorities. However, cultural context is often a key factor in all of these situations. Depending on the women's current situations, and the likelihood of the authorities to respond in one way or another, there may be varying methods to contacting the authorities. And sometimes it may be a bad idea, at least at first. And I want to make clear that we would be keeping the women's information 100% confidential. Their identities would be completely anonymous, with the exception of the field staff and the university group (such as yourselves) that would be working directly with them, getting to know them, collaborating on solutions, etc.

It seems to me that we have a remarkably complete plan for a prototype here - the university partner, the field staff, a strong US team, and a focus for the first women's group. What do you think? Would you like to try collaborating on this and joining forces?

Amy

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

And if you agree, I would love to add you to our team :)

Photo of Rohith Rai
Team

Amy,

Firstly, i am also very happy to meet you on a platform like this. I see a lot of positive words in the post, and i feel that there is every possibility for us to collaborate and get a prototype done. The fact that, we have all the people set up for carrying out a prototype, which will be the driving force.

I am ready to join your team and we can pull some more helping hands from others. Lets get started.

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

This is great news, Rohith! I just added you to our team. Very exciting!

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Great! I will message you with my contact info as well.

Photo of Rohith Rai
Team

Hey Amy, Just wanted to ask how far are we from prototyping. I did not receive any mail from you. In case, you are busy with other stuff, let me know what i and my team here can do, we are ready to start the prototyping process. my email: rohith3873@gmail.com

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Sending you an email now :)

Photo of Natasha Freidus
Team

HI Amy, we have submitted a few ideas that are similar in terms of using media to record women's stories. Take a peek, would love your feedback. http://www.openideo.com/challenge/womens-safety/ideas/this-happened-here
http://www.openideo.com/challenge/womens-safety/ideas/mapping-our-success-stories
Have you found the groups you work with have reliable broadband access to support the communication iniatitives you lay out here?

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Hi Natasha,

Both of your ideas are great but I LOVE the Mapping Our Success Stories project. I think this would be a great way for us to collaborate on our projects. There is a component of our Voice project which very closely resembles yours. We wish to create an online forum that would be presented to the women's groups at the start of their "enrollment" into the project. The project lasts several months in duration, and during that time, our field volunteers will visit the women once a month. During these visits, the women will be able to access the online forum, through which they can view videos on things like newborn care, starting a small business, hygiene, small scale farming, nutrition, etc. However, another component of the forum is a global network of women. It will be a social network through which they can reach out to one another, post stories about their lives, ask questions, etc. I see women in Uganda being able to communicate with women in India, or Peru, or anywhere else in the world. The purpose of this is to create a sense of community, on a global level, with the understanding that women are experiencing many of the same obstacles - and successes - all over the world, and often we just need to hear someone else's success story to be inspired to do the same. Your "Mapping Our Success Stories" could be a component of this forum, and the Voice Project could be a targeted method of obtaining these stories and connecting groups of women in similar situations, all over the world. To answer your question about internet access...it depends where in the world we are talking about. Since this Amplify campaign is for women in urban areas, I believe that most of the locations would either have internet access available or would have "field offices" or other locations where internet could be provided for free (churches, libraries, schools, etc.). During the duration of our project (approximately 9 months) the women would have internet access at least once a month when the Voice Team visits their group and provides all day usage of internet via iPads, etc. Outside of that 9 month period, the women would be able to visit any of the "Women's Voice Partner" locations (again, churches, libraries, schools, shelters, etc.) to use free internet for accessing the forum. In Uganda, for example, internet is relatively easy to come by, even in rural areas. However, in other parts of the world, such as rural India, it may be significantly more difficult. As this project is focusing on urban areas, I think we have a major advantage. And tackling the problem of how to help those in more rural areas is something we can work on as the initial project takes shape. Natasha, I would love to collaborate with you on your Mapping Our Success Stories project. Thank you for reaching out!!

Photo of Natasha Freidus
Team

Sure thing, let's keep talking Amy!

Photo of Joel Gingery
Team

Great idea, Amy!
As part of the process to design and create a self-sustaining program I'm wondering if you are aware of the work of Elinor Ostrom, winner of the 2009 Nobel prize in Economics regarding the role of institutions and perverse incentives in shaping the situations that women experience? http://www.geo.coop/vol-2/issue-9 An introduction and example of this can be found at: http://geo.coop/node/653
A central concept in her work is that to achieve lasting and appropriate changes in society it is helpful to approach social problems by building or changing appropriate institutions, i.e. the system of rules or norms we follow. Looking to the long term, I wonder if you would be interested in incorporating this perspective into your initiative? That is, including this perspective into the knowledge base of participants and/or addressing the cause(s) of the social situations that you are combating?

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

Thank you for this info, Joel. I do not know of Elinor Ostrom, but I am going to google her and become familiar with her right now :) And I agree completely with what you are saying. When creating social change, it is not enough to just look at the symptoms. There is always an underlying cause, a "root" of the problem. And without digging up that root and studying it, we cannot begin to create lasting social change. Thanks again, Joel!

Photo of Amy Carst
Team

A message from Namatovu, a beautiful, 22 year old Ugandan woman who knows firsthand the difference between having a voice and not having a voice. She came to live at Malayaka House several years ago. She is one of the lucky ones, given a VOICE because an amazing person was there to listen and to ensure her voice was heard! Today she is fully self-sufficient, running several small businesses, providing for herself, and teaching other women to do the same.

My name is Namatovu Gladian. iam 22yrs old. i came to malayaka house when l was 16yrs with my 2 brothers and 1 sister we lost both our parents. although we lost them and ended up in the orphanage l can still put a smile on my face and l have been PATIENT. if l wasn't patient i wouldn't have become what lam today, l wouldn't have known Uncle Robert,Malayaka house and all the skills that i know today. but now because of PATIENCE i was given an opportunity of working and saving my money,and l have a VOICE to speak on my money and do whatever l want, like paying my own bills in my house.this gives me hope and courage that my future is bright because i am in the right place with right family and in my future l also hope to provide skills and job opportunities to other peoples,especially women and young children like the way Uncle Robert does it. And for this i promise 1 day l will be like him and it is my biggest dream, and it is in my mind. here where I am today l have a VOICE to speak and everyone believes in and listens to me .

Photo of Yoel Kluk
Team

Cultural clashes are important to consider, I like this idea because it keeps in mind that what we would want to do or think it would be best it is not always the right and accepted approach. I think this idea is reversing the normal way of approaching the problem, instead of US going to the women or users of the idea and teaching, educating, providing them with a path; they are coming to us to teach us and propel our ideation towards their goal. Congratulations! it is a great concept. Reverse brain storming in action.