Working Group on Low Tech Environments
Classifying Variables of Low Tech Environments
We worked to better understand the variables and dynamics of what makes up a low tech environment so that we can better understand how to unpack responsible engagement and ownership with communities in human rights documentation.
We envision this discussion leading to a set of guidelines, or a checklist, of questions for people to consider before they introduce new technology to a low technology environment. These people could be funders, technology developers, intermediaries, or others. This is not a checklist in the sense that checking off boxes will ensure a completely successful project. Instead, by reviewing these items, fully groundtruthing their relevancy with allies in the local community, and seeking additional advice from partners where needed, a technology project will reduce its risk of being counterproductive.
A more complete checklist would include at least the following sections.
- Defining what the project aims to accomplish
- Defining the various kinds of low tech environments
- Documenting things that technology can make easier or more difficult
- Symptoms or patterns where technology might help
- User personas in low tech human rights documentation
- Symptoms of having introduced too much technology
Defining low tech environments
Having "low" access to technology of technological literacy can be a result of the user community, the infrastructure, or both.
- Tech capacity
- Accessibility and availability of the tech
- Population density
- Inequities (gender, race, class, etc)
- Opportunity to engage (time, freedom, awareness)
- No internet (bandwidth)
- Cell network coverage
- Physical infrastructure (roads, cars, trains)
- Freedom of expression legally enabling environment
- Degree of electrification
Dynamics that get harder and easier depending on degree of techification of project
- Verification of data
- Equity of access
- Informed consent
- Follow-up (growing the community by continuing to engage with them)
Category A: Victim; Witness; Survivors of the Violations.
Category B: Perpetrators; Government (as a System).
Category C: Frontline Service Providers/Government Workers; First Responders to Human Rights Violations; Community Translators.
Category D: Investigators; Investigative Journalists; Advocacy Organizations as Fact-Finders.
Category E: Journalists (as Reporters); Professional Translators; Advocates/Advocacy Organizations; Data Encoders; Data Analysts; Data Verifiers.
The group will update the Wiki Page and continue discussion over a shared document, with the end goal of creating a guide for practitioners and funders on the considerations to be made when planning to add technology to a project.