Transmitting Peace from Englewood to Kenya

In its first 3 weeks, over 23,000 NEW subscribers signed up for PeaceTXT, a multidisciplinary project to explore the potential of mobile technology to amplify Cure Violence’s proven approach to reducing violence. Cure Violence has the remarkable distinction among violence prevention programs for having two comprehensive evaluations demonstrate the effectiveness of the public health model in two cities.

PeaceTXT, made possible through the generous support of the Rita Allen Foundation and based on learnings culled at Cure Violence’s Englewood office in Chicago launched its first international pilot project in Kenya (Read more here). Brought together by social innovation accelerator, PopTech, Cure Violence partnered with Ushahidi,Medic Mobile, and Sisi ni Amani to launch PeaceTXT. As tech guru for good Patrick Meier, Director of Crisis Mapping at Ushahidi, explained: “The purpose of PeaceTXT is to leverage mobile messaging to catalyze behavior change around peace and conflict issues. In the context of Chicago, the joint project with Cure Violence aims to leverage SMS reminders to interrupt gun violence in marginalized neighborhoods. Several studies in other fields of public health have already shown the massive impact that SMS reminders can have on behavior change, e.g., improving drug adherence behavior among AIDS and TB patients in Africa, Asia and South America.”

As they report on their blog, Sisi ni Amani was “founded in response to the events of 2007-2008, and the potential for future violence and the use of mobile technology to create a foundation for, plan, and help spread the post-election violence. During the 2007-2008 violence, mobile phones – specifically SMS – were used to spread rumors and fear and to organize weapons distribution and attacks. Violent actors were extremely effective at using these widely proliferated technologies, while peace actors were neither well prepared nor able to leverage these technologies to the same effect.” (Read more)

Since inception, Cure Violence has sought ways to expand the breadth & depth of our ability to change the thinking for those at the highest-risk for violence both locally and internationally. PeaceTXT is providing a tremendous opportunity to help make this happen.

Further Reading