The STAR-TIDES network has identified products that keep people alive. A new member of the network, Protect the People (PTP), is looking at devices that keep people safe. In a conflict or disaster, affected populations face enormous risks related to their physical safety. Theft, rape, and targeted killings are indicators of broader instability. Lack of infrastructure keeps people in the dark both literally and figuratively. Without light, electricity, or information, populations at risk of violence have a difficult time protecting themselves and calling for help from international police and military forces with a mission to protect civilians.
The Protection Toolkit is an initiative to identify, develop, and test off-the-grid safety devices that have the potential to improve the physical safety of populations at-risk of violence. The sample toolkit includes solar lighting (D.Light), solar and wind up radio with communal siren alert (Lifeline Technologies Trading), and signaling devices such as a high decibel whistle, pocket mirror, and day/nighttime flares (Orion Signals). Additional items in design include a tent lock, bracelet alarm, and environment-specific blanket for children. Some of these tools such as lighting and locks can be directed toward projects to reduce gender based violence (GBV), while other tools such as siren alerts and flares may be used as community warning systems.
PTP would like to identify other protective devices within the STAR-TIDES network and conduct field research to test the effectiveness of these tools. Our hypothesis is that an integrated approach that places communications tools in the hands of affected communities and the forces that could protect them from harm will lead to innovations in the reduction of violence in emergency settings.
Thus, PTP is also looking to build a toolkit that would assist developing militaries in carrying out protection of civilian (POC) tasks. A fundamental task of POC is to conduct risk analysis and develop mitigation plans. What are some low-cost technologies that would better equip foreign militaries for expeditionary missions? Can satellite tracking systems, closed circuit TV systems, video surveillance, GPS, and GIS technologies be packaged into a comprehensive set of tools? Again, further research and consultation with foreign militaries is needed to identify resources that work. Given the significant U.S. investment in training and equipping foreign militaries for these tasks, it is well worth our collective efforts.
If you would like to be involved in research and forums around protection technology, please contact Sarah Williamson, Managing Director of PTP at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sarah contributed to the newly released
at the Army War College.