HarassMap is now live, combating sexual harassment in Egypt with crowdsourcing

A movement that started in 2008 has finally gone live . HarassMap is finally launched in Egypt after two years of tweaking, fine-tuning, re-working, re-modelling and consolidating arguably the biggest concerted effort of crowdsourcing in the Middle East, making use of its mobile phone market of 55 million, of which 30-50% are owned by women. And now the Women of Egypt are slowly making it work in their favor, combating the biggest social problem in Egypt – Sexual Harassment.

WowElle had reported on the build-up to the launch of the effort in September. HarassMap has its central number  0169870900, a new energetic logo, and the main portal is now live at HarassMap.Org . If you are in Egypt and you feel you have been at the receiving end (no pun intended) of a testosterone male, you can right away text the brief details including the location, if its just an SMS you are sending across. Else there are three more ways to let the rest of Egypt be shamed into action.

You can also  send an email to report@harassmap.org, send a tweet with the hashtag/s #harassmap or  send the detailed Form at the portal which has even categorised the usual ‘forms’ of sexual harassment faced by women and makes it easy for the comprehensive report to be sent, consolidated by the Ushahidi Engine. Once you send your report, the sender gets a a response back informing them of available services, such as counseling, legal aid, and ECWR’s guide on how to make a police report. The data goes into the Mapped Data of the country, denoting high-risk areas as the number centered around each area gets collated over time. This would also heklp the police force in keeping a close watch on the neighborhood, and laso assist in having volunteer groups concentrate their efforts more on these hot-spots, educating men and women about this social malady.   One  could also subscribe to get notified, sending Harassmap an intimation of your expected location and it will feed you with alerts that have been  received, if any,  within 20 kms of your posted location!

Rebecca Chiao, the co-founder of HarassMap,  holds an MA in International Development and International Economics from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and has 12 years of experience working in NGO and program development. She designed, launched and managed ECWR’s Campaign Against Sexual Harassment between 2005-2007.

The reports have slowly started picking up momentum, from the first week of November 2010, with 94 reports submitted till date, with the maximum from Cairo city ! Hopefully, Harassmap would be the beginning of a concerted effort that can then be easily adapted across the globe on similar terms.

BBC reports on Egypt’s women fighting sexism.

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