Below are projects that we are actively working on. As an adaptive organization, our work depends on the needs expressed by partners, and information gaps that we identify. This can mean that our project page doesn’t capture all of the things we are working on. If you are curious about our work, or want more information about what we do and who we work with, don’t hesitate to get in touch post [at] theengineroom [dot] org. We would be happy to talk more.
The engine room’s Responsible Data Program works with partners to develop and improve usable resources for activists, to effectively collect and use data for advocacy. Part of the Responsible Data Program, the Responsible Data Forum convenes activists, advocates, security thinkers, researchers and technology doers, for learning and building sprints. These sprints are designed to produce tools and resources that make it easier for activists and organizations to address ethical, security and privacy challenges when using data in advocacy.
In the Matchbox project, the engine room pairs up with tech-heavy transparency and accountability projects in Latin American and Southern Africa to provide strategic support and to matchmake with resources and expertise. This pilot project is designed to test a model of support that relies on demands from organizations and projects rather than offers of supply from support organizations. The Matchbox project is made possible by a generous grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
The engine room is working with partners Civicus and Wingu on the DataShift project. The DataShift builds civil society organisations’ capacity to generate and use citizen-generated data to monitor development progress, demand accountability and campaign for transformative change. The DataShift is gathering and sharing experiences in using citizen-generated data in civil society projects in three pilot locations (Nepal, Argentina and East Africa (Kenya and Tanzania)) until December 2015. The engine room is contributing to the Datashift in three ways: leading in-country direct support to help civil society organizations improve the planning and implementation of citizen-generated data projects; leading development of the Learning Zone, an online space collecting existing resources and original research on collecting and using citizen-generated data more effectively; and providing overall strategic support to the initiative.
A core part of our mission is to support social change organizations as they make difficult decisions about technology and data. To further improve and systematize the support we provide to human rights organizations, we will be working on several projects to better understand the options, opportunities, and challenges facing human rights documentation initiatives. Two projects – one working with Amnesty International and Benetech, and another funded by the Oak Foundation – will explore new and emerging technologies, data types and approaches used in human rights research and documentation. We hope both projects will help inform effective, responsible decision-making among human rights organizations about the way in which they use data.
The Social Tech Census is an online, searchable database of support for advocates around the globe looking to make better use of digital media and mobile phones. The Census identifies a variety of resources for the use of technology in advocacy. The Census was produced in 2012 with support from Oxfam Novib. If you have any questions about the resources that are included in the Census, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
The engine room is working with partners in Accountability Lab in Liberia, Pawa 254 in Kenya, and The Network Society in South Africa to conduct research to better understand of how ICT tools are adopted by transparency and accountability projects. This research will produce a framework that can be used by organizations making decisions about how to integrate technology into their work. We will also explore the role and utility that standardized approaches can have for transparency and accountability projects. This project is funded by the Making All Voices Count initiative. The photo featured was taken by Orafrik Production.
Strategic Support Partnerships
A big piece of our work is providing direct support to organizations who are looking to build their technology, support, and advocacy strategies. These projects are driven by the partners’ needs and center on the partner organization’s success (rather than any one particular project deliverable).
The engine room is working with WeGov to find new projects and identify trends in how technology is being used for increased government transparency and accountability. As part of this project, we are producing in-depth columns and reports and we are liveblogging events that are of special relevance to the role of technology in transparency and accountability.
Recognizing the increasing role played by technology in anti-corruption campaigns, the Transparency International Secretariat partnered with the engine room to provide direct, dedicated and in-depth support to national chapters.
The engine room supported the Independent Review Mechanism for Norway’s commitments under the Open Government Partnership, by facilitating civil society consultations and contributing to the production of the final report.
To better understand how trainings in digital security work and how they can be improved, the engine room is conducting a qualitative study by interviewing support organizations and participants of training of trainers, or ToTs.
The first empirical global data set on technology and civil society, TechScape aims to inform and enhance the work of international support organizations, trainers, donors, policy makers, academics and journalists.
A series of data sets – quantitative and qualitative – on the media behavior and engagement of protesters, coordinators and international spectators behind the Egyptian uprising of 2011.