Consulate Hosts “PeaceTech Exchange” to Promote Women’s Safety and Empowerment

Technology experts and civil society activists at PeaceTech Exchange in Mumbai on December 6, 2014. The event was held in partnership with the United States Institute of Peace and Samhita Social Ventures as part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender

Mumbai – The U.S. Consulate General Mumbai partnered with the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and Samhita Social Ventures to organize a “PeaceTech Exchange” in Mumbai, December 6-7, 2014.  The two-day event brought together more than 50 Indian technology experts and civil society representatives, working to prevent gender-based violence, to discover how technology can help them achieve their goals.

Opening the event, the Consulate’s Public Affairs Officer Philip Roskamp said, “Western India has a number of technologically savvy individuals and organizations doing great work to prevent gender-based violence.  Through this event, NGOs can learn about how to use new technologies to promote women’s safety and empowerment.”

India-based technology experts and one expert from the United States provided NGO representatives with training on connective technologies such as online maps, text messaging, video, and social media platforms.  Trainers demonstrated how activities like crowd-mapping, crowd-funding, citizen journalism, and digital storytelling can help civil society groups reach their goals.

Sheldon Himelfarb, Director of USIP’s PeaceTech Initiative, said of the event, “We are fortunate that today we have unprecedented opportunities to use technology to bring about positive change, but we believe that wider collaboration across disciplines and organizations is needed to tackle complex problems like gender-based violence.”

Samhita Social Ventures Founder and Joint Managing Director Priya Naik added, “This event has not only initiated new discussions on the critical issue of gender-based violence, but it has also encouraged the development of partnerships between local civil society organizations and technology experts.”

The PeaceTech Exchange was part of the Consulate’s programming in support of the United Nations’ “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence” international campaign.  In addition to the PeaceTech Exchange, the Consulate also held a short film festival on December 5, 2014, to promote women’s safety.