Error message

Mobile phone technologies are the subject of considerable enthusiasm in the peacebuilding sector. Yet little has been done to evaluate systematically the factors of success or failure in the use of mobile phones for peacebuilding. This event focused on the use of mobile phones in one of the most difficult conflict environments today: Afghanistan. 

 

Mobile phone technologies are the subject of considerable enthusiasm in the peacebuilding sector. In the past few years, they have been used in connection with campaigns to restrain election violence, reduce corruption, develop the news media, and support counter-insurgency to name just a few. Success has been significant, but mixed. Yet little has been done to evaluate systematically the factors of success or failure in the use of mobile phones for peacebuilding. 

So to best understand the true potential of these increasingly powerful tools, USIP -- in partnership with cell phone pioneer Mobile Accord (who raised a record sum of over $37 million within three weeks of Haiti’s earthquake crisis with their “Text HAITI to 90999” campaign), the National Defense University, the United Nation’s-mandated UPeace, and TechChange -- brought together experts on international peacebuilding and mobile phone technology to focus on the use of mobile phones in one of the most difficult conflict environments today: Afghanistan. 

Using techniques pioneered in the 2009 Smart Tools for Smart Power program, the Center evaluated the reality of cell phone deployments along three vectors: 
  • Improving governance -  rule of law and anti-corruption  
  • Countering extremism - media development and counter-insurgency 
  • Delivery of essential services - education, health, agricultural development, commerce

Read a USIP Special Report Can You Help Me Now:? Mobile Phones and Peacebuilding in Afghanistan

Multimedia

Watch videos from this event:

 


Sheldon Himelfarb, Moderator
Executive Director, Center of Innovation for Science, Technology, and Peacebuilding
United States Institute of Peace
 
Colonel J.M. "Matt" Venhaus, Moderator
Jennings Randolph Army Fellow
United States Institute of Peace
 

Panel 1: Tackling Corruption and Improving Governance

Panel 2: Countering Extremism and Counter-insurgency

Panel 3: Delivering Essential Services 

Panelists included innovators from the DoD, Department of State, UN personnel, World Bank, Internews, Roshan, and NGOs (US and European) like Development Seed, Ushahidi, FrontlineSMS, and MobileActive.org.

Related Publications

Afghanistan Post-2014

Afghanistan Post-2014

Thursday, November 12, 2015

By: David Mansfield

Geospatial analysis and mapping have a critical role to play in reconstruction efforts in conflict-affected regions. This report explains the core problem in typical data collection techniques: bias. Data is collected only where collection is safe and thus is not representative. To be more effective, development programs need more in-depth analysis of their reconstruction efforts, even in the most insecure spaces.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Afghanistan’s Fourth Estate: Independent Media

Afghanistan’s Fourth Estate: Independent Media

Monday, August 10, 2015

By: Ann Procter

Afghanistan’s media have evolved at warp speed since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, yet being a journalist remains an extremely dangerous occupation, as many have been killed and still more threatened with violence if they persist in their work. The growth of Afghanistan’s democracy depends on a functioning media. This report examines the situation and offers paths forward to making Afghanistan safer for journalism.

Non-Violent Movements

USIP: In Review and Looking Forward (Video)

USIP: In Review and Looking Forward (Video)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

From a campaign for peaceful elections in Afghanistan to a radio program engaging youth in South Sudan, USIP worked with civil society, political leaders and others in 2014 on a range of actions to prevent, mitigate or resolve violent conflict during a particularly chaotic year in global affairs. Top USIP experts discuss highlights of the year and glance ahead at 2015.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Education & Training

The Crowd Who Would Be King

The Crowd Who Would Be King

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

By: Sheldon Himelfarb

Technology is connecting people all over the world, giving them new power and a stronger voice. But is it making government any better?

View All Publications