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Wednesday, March 30 • 5:15pm - 6:15pm
Beyond Documentation: What Is the role of tech in advancing economic and social rights?

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Because of their systemic and often hidden nature, the rights to health, education, food, housing and other economic and social rights fundamental to addressing poverty and inequality have been more difficult to enforce using traditional human rights tools. Increasingly, activists are experimenting with how to capture and transmit large amounts of information around the world at relatively low cost, including images, survey results or data visualizations. Leveraging the power of this technology has the potential to significantly alter the dynamics of advocacy on economic and social rights. A variety of factors, however, challenge the potential of these new tools, including: low tech literacy among human rights activists; the scarcity of tools specifically tailored to the needs of economic and social rights activists; and the need to develop a global audience that can partner with activists on-the-ground to analyze content and help bring evidence to a forum of redress. In Egypt, for example, a group of human rights researchers are in the early stages of developing an interactive online “scorecard” that rates the government’s performance (using a scale of red to green) on a range of indicators relating to economic and social rights. Despite the country’s longstanding patterns of socio-economic exclusion—which have left over 25 million people living in poverty—these rights have been relatively overshadowed by the dramatic socio-political upheavals of the past few years. Key questions in developing the scorecard include: How to combine data from various sources that would have otherwise remained fragmented? How to simplify that data into a format that is actionable and accessible to researchers, civil society, and policymakers? How to use that data to build an evidence base that can be used to foster public discourse, mobilize social movements and open up channels and opportunities for change? Taking this case study as our starting point, this node workshop provides a space for activists and technologists to come together to reflect on importance of addressing economic and social rights; explore the unique challenges in doing so; and brainstorm ways to design technological and methodological solutions that can best respond to those challenges.

Wednesday March 30, 2016 5:15pm - 6:15pm
The Demo Room

Attendees (48)