Good governance: a driving force for peace in fragile states
“Conflict countries were once considered data deserts and today they are data blizzards,” said Sheldon Himelfarb, president of PeaceTech Lab, an organization that uses the intersection of technology and media toward peace-building efforts. PeaceTech Lab, in addition to scores of other groups both small and large, have been harnessing the power of technology to understand more accurately what is happening on the ground. This understanding is absolutely essential to assessing local needs in any given area — and therefore helps pave the path for addressing very real problems from the bottom-up, rather than from the top-down.
While all this information is more accessible, there are still hurdles to overcome when it comes to implementation. How can peacekeeping organizations use this information to affect policy? In the case of PeaceTech Lab, exchanges allow civil servants to work with the tech sector to brainstorm. In Kenya, tech companies have enabled people to report brewing conflict in real time, which allows leaders to prevent crises. In other cases, individuals can call for help. While there is still a long way to go, the field is making exponential advances, just like technology.