The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence is monitoring the election in eastern Sri Lanka. They are using the emerging standard, Twitter updates mashed with google maps, a blog, and mobile phone access to spread the word. Even if you are not interested in the elections you should check it out in case you need to do something similar in your own country.
CMEV is comprised of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) the Free Media Movement (FMM) and INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre. Despite financial constraints they plan to field 330 stationary monitors at selected polling centres across the Eastern Province along with 49 Mobile Teams.
The problem with being a security officer is that you spend much of your time dealing with the dark side of human nature. War, conflict, crime, accidents, violence, deceit, and trauma are all part of the daily grind. Every now and then its good to raise ones head out of the muck and mire and look for something positive. For me Avaaz.org is one of those things.
The Carnegie Council has an interesting presentation by Jan Egeland, former UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, in which he introduces his book, "A Billion Lives: An Eyewitness Report From the Frontlines of Humanity". Its all good but a couple of quotes really caught my attention.
Jan Egeland on the need for more than just humanitarian aid:
"...in the old days, they said, "Send the Marines." Now it's, "Send the humanitarians. They will keep them alive, and we can maybe forget about it." Well, we keep them alive, until they are massacred."
Jan on humanitarian security in a post UN Bahgdad bombing world:
"...it is a watershed when we go from just preparing ourselves to survive in crossfire with militias, with child soldiers, with drunken soldiers, with mines, and so on—we have lots of procedures to survive in such circumstances, but we do not know how to survive when a well-financed, ruthless organization plans for one month to kill you."
You can watch a video excerpt of the presentation below.
Is the world a more dangerous place to live now than it was ten years ago? How about a hundred years?
According to this first video the answer is yes. In it the University of Hawaii examines the complex issues of armed conflicts, peace-keeping operations and humanitarian relief with the input of former UN and government officials, humanitarian aid workers and PKO experts.
In "A Brief History of Violence" Steven Pinker argues the opposite. His data suggests that we are living in what might very well be the most peaceful time in human history.
So who is right here? Is the world safer? How do our cognitive biases shape our perceptions of the risks we face now versus those faced by our ancestors?
John Bell’s post, “Nonprofit Widgets in the Age of OpenSocial” got me thinking about how to use widgets to support advocacy for human security, humanitarian access, and the security of aid workers. I’m not a coder but luckily many websites can help generate widgets based on content selected by the user. The “Selected News” sidebar on this page is an example of such a widget.
Of course there are other widget options. If you’re looking to do some fundraising organizations like the Network for Good can help you create a custom widget. They call them badges. Beth Kanter used one to help her raise funds to send young Cambodians to university. If you go to her blog and scroll down a little you can see the widget in the sidebar.
If you have any ideas you want to share please leave a comment.