USIP’s “Smart Tools for Smart Power” initiative brings together peacebuilding practitioners and technology innovators to identify high-impact opportunities for technology to bolster peacebuilding and stability operations. To date, USIP has spearheaded reviews of the value and challenges associated with three promising platforms:
- Mobile Phones and Peacebuilding
Mobile phone technologies are the subject of considerable enthusiasm in the peacebuilding sector, yet little has been done to evaluate systematically the factors of success or failure in conflict environments. In 2010, USIP brought together experts on peacebuilding and mobile phone technology to focus on the use of mobile phones in one of the most difficult conflict environments today: Afghanistan. USIP published a follow-up report in November, 2010. In 2012, we conducted the first-ever mobile phone-based nationwide survey in Afghanistan via SMS and interactive voice response (IVR).
- Crisis Mapping
The 2010 earthquake in Haiti presented disaster relief experts with unique challenges, for which open-source crisis mapping platforms like Ushahidi offered new solutions. USIP worked with experts from USIP’s Haiti Working Group to provide support to Ushahidi in Haiti and to capture the lessons learned from its work in a Special Report . USIP has also been a consistent supporter of the annual International Crisis Mapping Conferences.
- Serious Games and Simulations for Peacebuilding
In 2009, USIP partnered with 3D Security, Lockheed Martin, and USIP’s Center for Education and Training to focus attention on an area of technology that has seen great advances in recent years, but which remains underutilized by the conflict resolution community: simulations and serious games.