Updated Apr 02, 2019

Community Innovation Center

Aakash Gautam

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We provide skill-based training particularly on computers and sewable electronics in a safe space. We use user-centered design principles to support sex-trafficking survivors to work with other women in creating handicrafts and selling them online.

There are two major aspects in this innovation: technology and activities around those technologies. In terms of technology, a group of us are computer scientist by training. We are trained in user-centered design. Our technology is designed considering the illiteracy and lack of digital fluency among the sex-trafficking survivors in Nepal. We innovate in the application we create such as by...
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There are two major aspects in this innovation: technology and activities around those technologies. In terms of technology, a group of us are computer scientist by training. We are trained in user-centered design. Our technology is designed considering the illiteracy and lack of digital fluency among the sex-trafficking survivors in Nepal. We innovate in the application we create such as by adding naturalistic, extended voice-annotation to make it easier for the survivors to use the technology. Each task in the technology is made to be doable and learnable. There is flexibility in the technology that allows the survivors to appropriate the technology according to their interest and background. We have also built features such as real-time communication to allow the survivors to build a sense of community around the application by sharing audio and video, drawings, and comments. In terms of the activities, we pay special attention to making the space safe for the survivors. We want to emphasize the value of safe spaces in building trust and confidence. The activities are designed such that the survivors can help each other, negotiate their participation, and collectively form goals. All these are valuable in making the activities feel doable and not overwhelming. We also focus on building towards enduring skills such as speaking with confidence, providing constructive feedback, learning about financial management, discussing their legal rights and resources available.
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Stage 3: Proof of Concept

We built a voice-annotated web-application that supports the survivors to sell their crafts online. We observed positive uptake of the technology where they posted 32 items for sale within 10 days. The study suggests that we can scale the project.

Focus Areas:

Human Trafficking, Economic Empowerment, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and 1 MoreSEE ALL

Human Trafficking, Economic Empowerment, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and Gender EquitySEE LESS

Implemented In:

Nepal

NepalSEE LESS

1
Country Implemented In
35
Customers

Problem

Sex-trafficking is an acute problem in Nepal. While Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) implement some measures, there are flaws in their approaches. Reintegration is a complex process. The trafficking survivors lack the necessary human and social capital to leverage towards long-term reintegration. There is a need to support long-term reintegration through a holistic project that provides a source of livelihood as well as opportunities to build ties with the community. .

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Solution

The goal of the work is to design solutions to support sex-trafficking survivors in the reintegration process. In particular, we want to build their human and social capital. We will scale the project into a communal makerspace open to all women, including the survivors, to come together and work on crafts. The goal is to broaden economic possibilities for the sister-survivors provide them an avenue to interact and socialize with others.

Target Beneficiaries

Around 5000 to 12000 girls and women are trafficked annually in Nepal, most of them are trafficked into the sex-industry. Around 3000 are rescued and repatriated. This program aims to support these groups of rescued trafficking survivors. There are social and cultural factors that push the survivors to the margin. We want to challenge that structural inequity by supporting sex-trafficking survivors to achieve long-term, dignified reintegration.

Mission and Vision

We want to provide a platform for the vulnerable and marginalized to strengthen themselves and challenge institutional inequity that marginalized them. We believe that the way to strengthen democracy and humane values is to support marginalized, vulnerable groups. This project aims to be an example for just that.

Competitive Advantage

The problem that we are trying to solve arises because no one else is doing anything like this. The NGOs have not followed up with the survivors let alone innovate technology to support long-term reintegration. It is worth noting that there are very few resources available to the survivors. Most of them have been rejected by their families. 85.1% of trafficking survivors, according to a national report, have never been to school. Most find it hard to earn a living and struggle to find jobs. We have encountered cases where survivors were re-trafficked! All of these arise because nobody has done anything so far to support survivors in their long-term reintegration journey. We want to support the survivors by providing them an source of livelihood by building on a skill that they already possess i.e. creating handicrafts. To make it sellable, we plan to train them in embedded electronics in those handicrafts. We also will train them to use computers to sell the crafts online.

Planned Goals and Milestones

We want to create a small community makerspace in a place where around 22 survivors live. This space will have computers, and we will provide crafting materials and electronic components. We will train all the women who visit the center to work on crafts. We want to run this makerspace for 9 months to identify the elements that are valuable. This will allow us to improve the makerspace. We plan to create such makerspaces across the country and beyond Nepal (in the long run).
Funding Goal15,000
Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted250
New FeatureWe have created short videos and tutorials that provide show step-by-step instructions in Nepali to help the survivors post their handicrafts on sale. We have integrated the web-application with Etsy, a global marketplace, to facilitate the sale. We have created short videos in Nepal to help the survivors learn electronics that they will embed in their handicrafts. We are implementing a feature in the web-application that will support the survivors to make plans on how they want to sew the electronics on their handicrafts and also share it with others in the community.

The Team Behind the Innovation

We are a mix of computer scientist, social workers, psychologists, and most importantly, we are people who truly care about this problem. We have good relationship with the anti-trafficking organization. We have the capacity to iterate over the technology development and troubleshoot problems. We are creative in our approach but also critical and careful. We all want the same thing -- to create a platform that supports sex-trafficking survivors to achieve long-term, dignified reintegration.

EXECUTIVE TEAM INCLUDES WOMEN

Milestone

Mar 2019
Recognition ReceivedPENDING
Jan 2018
Created
Date Unknown
New Country Implemented In
Nepal

Supporting Materials

Nepal-postcard.pdf