The British Council recently published a new report looking at peacetech initiatives responding to the Syrian crisis. Our own projects – SalamaTech and Be Heard – were featured in the study, which also quoted our Executive Director, Deirdre Collings.
The report, entitled “Innovative Peacebuiding in Syria: A Scoping Study of the Strategic Use of Technology to Build Peace in the Syrian Context”, draws on research and interviews with 20 experts working with Syrians. The report considered issues such as identifying ongoing peacetech initiatives in Syria, how technology could be better used to enhance impact, and possible roles for the British Council in this space.
As Deirdre Collings notes in the report:
“One of the biggest disadvantages to the Syrians who still believe in peace and a better future is being able to cut through the noise to make their voices heard; to join hands across their isolation and understand there are like minded others from other constituencies with whom they can work strategically; to bridge the silence and the barriers that the conflict has put up between people who believe in peace.”
To that end, The SecDev Foundation has developed several initiatives to support Syrian voices of resilience caught in this prolonged conflict.
Since 2012, our project SalamaTech has helped non-violent Syrians stay safe online and make their voices heard. In providing Emergency Tech support, we assist Syrians who have been arrested or had their accounts hacked. We encourage Syrian civil society organisations to operate securely with Digital Safety Audits and Real-Time Remediation. Our network of Information Freedom Champions provide in situ Be Heard training to support people caught by conflict inside Syria. Together we are empowering a chorus of Voices of Resilience – who will be heard.
More recently, we launched A Tale of Two Cities, a pilot initiative that leverages the internet to connect youth in Syria with their peers in Canada. As part of that work, youth in Ottawa launched a social media campaign called #Salt4Syria to raise awareness for their peers trapped under siege in Eastern Ghouta.
There are many non-violent Syrian citizens – who believe in peace, in human rights, in justice – still in the country, working hard on the ground and in their places of refuge for a better future. We remain committed to using peacetech to support these courageous men, women and now youth – both inside and outside Syria. We thank the British Council for featuring our efforts in their latest publication.