SMS Tracking violence against kids in Benin

Using SMS to track and report violence against kids in Benin. Anyone witnessing or experiencing violence texts a local number [I presume they mean texting after an attack not during one!] Using the Ushahidi platform the message reaches the authorities who then have to respond. This is a great idea but I am not clear if and how it can really work. For example so far only 13 reports – do the children and youths have mobile phones or access to phones? Do they know the service exists? The second problem is what happens if there are 50 reports all at once in different parts of a city? And what authority do the child protection officers who are meant to respond have to arrest those commiting acts of violence? Where do the police fit in.

These questions have not yet been answered but a full interview is here and video below.

The Violence Against Children (VAC) project is an initiative co-implemented by PLAN and Save the Children in West Africa and takes place over 4 years (2008-2011) in seven countries: Togo, Ghana, Benin, Guinea, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire and Gambia. The VAC project trains and engages children and youth themselves as advocates and agents of change to end violence, together with adult community allies. A comprehensive UN report proposes recommendations for action to prevent and respond to violence against children around the world. Earlier this year, the project explored the idea of setting up a text message based system that will collect and map out reports of violence against children in communities in Benin and Togo.

The managers of the VAC project sent the following statistics about violence against children in Benin: according to a study conducted by the Benin Ministry of Family in 2007 (Etude nationale sur la Traite des enfants réalisée par le Ministère de la Famille en 2007) [fr]: