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ActionApp

Project Overview

A Smartphone application that will assist and provide tips for nonviolent struggle.  It has both an “official” and “undercover” name to ensure anonymity.

Identifying the Problem

Citizens all over the Middle East have been uprising against the oppressive regimes in power. The Arab Spring began in Tunisia, where the people who took to the streets in nonviolent protest ousted the national government in less than a month. After 18 days of persistent acts of nonviolent demonstrations in Egypt, President Mubarak announced his resignation. The Yemeni people overthrew their government after protesting for a little over a year. Similar civil uprisings have spread to Algeria, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Syria. 

A unifying feature of the Arab Spring has been the use of social media to organize demonstrations and communicate messages, photographs and videos of what has been happening. Protesters have utilized Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for these purposes. But what seems to be missing is a social media device that not only facilitates the organization of demonstrations, but also encourages such acts of protest to remain nonviolent by educating its users about basic human rights and the history of nonviolent protest.

Creating A Solution

Sorine decided to create “ActionApp,” a Smartphone application for the iPhone and Android that will inspire nonviolent resistance against oppressive regimes through easily available guidelines. While messages of resistance used to be communicated through books and leaflets, activists are now using social media. The rapid increase in the distribution of Smartphones provides a unique opportunity to distribute useful information through applications such as “ActionApp.”

While “ActionApp” encourages citizens to participate in non-violent protest against oppressive regimes, it has also been developed to serve as an educational tool. “ActionApp” provides information about universal human rights as well as examples of how nonviolent struggles have succeeded in the past. Additionally, it provides links to human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch in order to provide the users with extra resources. 

Sorine is working alongside CANVAS to develop the app. CAVAS is an organization that encourages and helps facilitate nonviolent struggle around the world. It has trained people from many countries, including Egypt, Tunisia and Belarus. Many of Sorine's ideas for her app have developed out of the work already done by CANVAS, so the organization will be associated with “ActionApp” and a link to their book on the issue will be included.

Sorine will begin by distributing the app to HIA Senior Fellows, along with contacts around the world. Identifying these contacts will be facilitated by the Research and Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (RCT), since the organization currently works in many of the areas in which “ActionApp” would be useful. The goal is for “ActionApp” to be available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin and Urdu. 

Sorine’s development and distribution of “ActionApp” is currently underway. She has completed the development of the prototype, which is ready to be launched. Sorine will make the app available free of charge, as she believes that charging for its use would defy its purpose – making information about nonviolent resistance as easily and widely-available as possible.

Lessons Learned

The main lesson Sorine has learned while developing her project is the importance of using your network – it is not easy or wise to go about something like this on your own. She encourages anyone considering a similar project to sell the idea to multiple organizations and to work with them to help spread the word about the product.

Funding

Because Android does not require money for launching an app, Sorine will launch the app with Android as soon as she finds someone who can assist her with the technical aspect. Once she has successfully launched “ActionApp” with Android, Sorine will begin fundraising in order to launching the app with Apple, which costs about $100.

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About This Project

HIA Program:

Denmark Denmark 2011

Developed by:

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