REACH Intervention in Kyrgyzstan featured in Study about New Media’s role in Peacebuilding Operations

September 27, 2013

Voices from the Field : Featured Report

Kyrgyzstan : By reviewing the role of social media and technologies to support peace building efforts, Sarah Költzow’s research uses REACH Mapping Tool in Kyrgyzstan as an example of new media’s application to the humanitarian field. Indeed, using community-based mapping, this tool allowed the identification of conflict areas in 2010, as well as destroyed shelters. The community has been involved in different forms of mapping such as winter pasture, in order to delimitate peacefully new boundaries in the case of conflict issues over natural resources. Another feature of this mapping tool is the creation of early warning systems using mobile phones technologies, with SMS-based surveys.

Byron Pakula : REACH Regional Manager

We use GPS-enabled cameras and link this through Google Earth for example. We take photos of irrigation canals that are not working, which have led to disputes. We can then go back and take updated photos once we rehabilitate them. We also take photos of houses being reconstructed that were identified after the conflict, and show the progress of their construction as part of a monitoring tool”.

As this mapping tool evolved from being used for emergency assessment to monitoring and evaluation, this study supports the idea that new media used wisely can positively impact a peace building process. Challenges highlighted by the author through a series of interviews of REACH managers compiled issues about the translation of this kind of tools (now available in Russian), the need to develop an alternative form of the tool for non-internet users, and finally the imperative of communication over the tool in order to make it used more broadly.

Please access the full report : here

To read more about REACH action in Kirgizstan please visit our country page.