Annual Report 2017

PeaceGeeks:
A Year in Review

4

Countries of active work

4

PeaceTalks

108

Workshop Participants in Jordan

153000

New immigrants to be served by Pathways (launching 2019)

70000

Unique new users of Services Advisor Turkey

2

Million dollars committed to PeaceGeeks until 2020

Letter from our Founder

Renee Black

More than at any time in our lives before, the world needs more peacebuilders. It starts with each of us.

Technology is reshaping our world in ways that create potential for connection and growth, but also in ways that are unpredictable, unsettling and destabilizing. Social media is used by individuals, political groups and foreign agents to sow conflict and confusion. Extremist movements, including white supremacists, use the most secure tools and savvy digital media strategies to recruit new members and target vulnerable youth. Our world today is increasingly characterized by screen addiction, online bullying, digital echo chambers, fake news and ‘alternative facts.’ It can all feel very overwhelming.

But there is a silver lining to this moment. The digital peace movement is growing around the world, with more people and organizations engaging in credible, sustained and impactful ways to resist the tide of intolerance. More women and people of color are running for local office than before. Artists and activists are using this moment to create stories that give us hope. There is renewed understanding of the need for civic engagement, listening, compassion, critical thinking, and seeing the common humanity in one another.

Within this context, PeaceGeeks has had a pivotal and groundbreaking year. We are making important strides in our strategic plan by promoting peace through digital narratives, empowering vulnerable communities displaced by conflict and disaster, and strengthening our foundation and resilience as an organization.

Winning the Google Impact Challenge in March is allowing us to work on peace in our own country by developing a revolutionary new application that will help newcomers coming to Canada to overcome critical challenges they face upon their arrival. Pathways will connect them to personalized roadmaps of the services they need most so they can thrive in their new communities. Our first prototype of this app is expected to be released in July 2018. Our three-year Meshkat Community project in Jordan just entered into its second year and focuses on amplifying local voices against hate, polarization and extremism in online and offline spaces. PeaceGeeks has also opened its first international office and volunteer network based out of Jordan.

This year we also renewed our existing partnerships with UNHCR and the International Criminal Court, while establishing important new relationships with global humanitarian leaders such as the International Rescue Committee and Mercy Corps. In 2018, we will continue to build on this strong foundation to create lasting impacts in the communities we serve through strong partnerships, effective collaboration and solid community engagement.

We would not be where we are today without the incredible support from our amazing team, volunteers, board and donors and it is clear that we need your help more than ever to address the current and emerging challenges arising from the evolution of technology in our lives. Thank you for making it possible for PeaceGeeks to continue to be a force for peace in the world, and we look forward to staying connected in 2018!

Sincerely,
Renee Black

Executive Director and Founder

Our Mission & Programming Focuses

Peace, open-sourced.

PeaceGeeks is a nonprofit organization that builds digital tools to empower communities in the pursuit of peace.

Connecting communities at risk

Whether in humanitarian crisis situations or countries of permanent resettlement, poor access to information is a critical setback for people rebuilding their lives.

In Jordan, Turkey and Canada, PeaceGeeks helps immigrants, refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) connect to their most urgent services. We supply real-time information and locations of life-saving humanitarian services like food, water, and shelter, for displaced and crisis-affected communities. We also support newcomers to successfully resettle by helping them navigate their most relevant and timely resources.

Amplifying voices for peace

Digital tools, social media, gaming, bots, videos and misinformation play an increasingly prominent role in inciting and escalating social divides and violence.

PeaceGeeks collaborates with citizens and civil society organizations to amplify constructive dialogue and digital content that strengthens social cohesion and community resilience. We convene and inspire creative and locally-relevant community action, particularly among youth and women, to prevent the continued escalation of online hate, violence, extremism and polarization.

Strengthening access to justice

In situations of human rights violations and crimes against humanity, technology can help close the gap between the most affected communities and traditionally top-down decision-makers.

PeaceGeeks uses mapping, digital communications and online information crowdsourcing to help communities and policy makers understand the scale of human rights abuses. We also work with civil society organizations and policy makers to strengthen digital security and responsible data practices in the area of human rights.

Engaging global citizens

From political interference to humanitarian innovation, global security and conflict are increasingly intersecting with online spaces and technology, in ways that the world has yet to fully understand.

PeaceGeeks hosts events that convene people of all backgrounds, including human rights and development practitioners, innovators, private sector, civil society groups and the general public, to learn how communities can play a role in addressing emerging peace and human rights issues.

Featured milestones

See our major accomplishments of 2017

This year, PeaceGeeks won the Google.org Impact Challenge, opened a new office in Jordan, deployed an SMS platform for the International Criminal Court, launched Services Advisor Turkey, and so much more! Take a look:

Winning the Google.org Impact Challenge Canada

In March, PeaceGeeks won the top prize of $750K in the Google.org Impact Challenge Canada, a competition supporting Canadian nonprofits using technology to tackle the world's biggest social challenges. Out of 900+ nonprofits, we placed in the top 5 with our Services Advisor Pathways project, an all-encompassing app that fast-tracks newcomers in Canada on a pathway to successful resettlement by connecting them with a personalized directory of their most relevant services based on their circumstances. Learn more.

Launching SMS platform for International Criminal Court (ICC) in Uganda

PeaceGeeks developed and launched in April a free interactive SMS platform for the International Criminal Court. The SMS platform enables victims, communities affected by the crimes alleged in the case of Mr. Dominic Ongwen, and the general population of Uganda, to follow the proceedings before the Court. Mobile technology enhances and complements the work of the ICC, having the potential to reach a wide population with timely information. The platform is freely available to subscribers in three different languages: Acholi, Ateso and English. Learn more.

PeaceGeeks opens in Jordan!

PeaceGeeks opened its first overseas office in Amman, Jordan, to implement a 3-year project called Meshkat Community. Our Jordan team is joined by amazing and dedicated members, including: Walaa Abudiak, Dana Salih and Ahmad Alzghoul. Learn more about our team.

Launching Services Advisor Turkey for the UN Refugee Agency

This year, PeaceGeeks and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Turkey rolled out Services Advisor Turkey, a web app helping refugees locate and access the humanitarian services they need most. Services Advisor helps UNHCR assist the 2.7+ million refugees in Turkey, and hosts nearly 6,000 humanitarian and government service records. Following the official public launch in November, the platform reached 70,000+ unique new users and 125,000+ unique new clicks by the end of 2017.

Partnership with International Rescue Committee and Mercy Corps

In October, PeaceGeeks established a breakthrough partnership with major humanitarian organizations International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Mercy Corps to build and deliver a joint digital initiative for the humanitarian community called Signpost. Signpost combines the efforts and expertise of PeaceGeeks, IRC and Mercy Corps to design go-to platforms for trustworthy, responsive and accessible humanitarian information on vital needs for vulnerable communities in conflict and crisis worldwide. Learn more.

Featured projects

Supporting communities in Jordan, Turkey, Canada and beyond

Funded by

Meshkat Community

With three-year funding from the Government of Canada worth over $1 million, Meshkat Community is an initiative launched by PeaceGeeks in Jordan in 2017, which strengthens community cohesion and constructive dialogue in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region by building the skills, networks, knowledge and action of citizens. The aim of Meshkat Community is to increase creative and peaceful citizen engagement in challenging hate, violence, extremism and polarization to reduce community vulnerability in the Middle East.

Current programs of Meshkat Community include Community Resilience and Capacity Building Workshops, an Artists-in-Residence Program and annual Peace Awards Contest, which are taking place in Amman, Karak, and Irbid. In 2018, the project will expand to other parts of Jordan including Ajloun, Aqaba, Salt, Ma’an, Tafieleh and Zarqa.

Learn More
Funded by

Services Advisor Pathways

With $750,000 funding from the Google.org Impact Challenge, PeaceGeeks' Services Advisor Pathways project is in its first year of design and implementation.

Services Advisor Pathways is a redesign — for a Canadian context — of the Services Advisor prototype we developed in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Starting in Metro Vancouver, the new Pathways app will help newcomers navigate life in their new communities, by presenting them with a personalized roadmap of their most relevant services, such as language training, employment and healthcare, based on their circumstances and needs.

Pathways is being developed with the endorsement and close collaboration of Local Immigration Partnerships, settlement organizations and municipal and provincial governments, with aims to scale across Canada.

Learn More
Partners

Services Advisor
& the Signpost project

The Signpost project is a new inter-agency collaboration between PeaceGeeks, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Mercy Corps. This goal of this collaborative initiative is to provide the humanitarian community with the go-to platforms to reach refugees, asylum seekers and crisis-affected communities around the world with accessible information. Signpost unites the common goals between PeaceGeeks' Services Advisor web app and the IRC and Mercy Corps' Refugee.Info platform — empowering crisis-affected individuals with real-time information to make informed decisions at the most critical moments.

PeaceGeeks' Services Advisor web apps are presently used by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide more than 3 million refugees in Jordan and Turkey with access to information on lifesaving humanitarian services.

Services Advisor Turkey and Jordan will join Refugee.Info Greece, Italy and Serbia as well as Khabrona.Info as instances of the Signpost Project.

Learn More
Partners and Sponsors

PeaceTalks

PeaceTalks is PeaceGeeks' signature speaker series aimed at engaging Canadians on critical and timely topics related to peace, human rights and technology, in an accessible and conversational format. This year, PeaceGeeks held 4 PeaceTalks, in partnership with Amnesty International:

Our 2017 PeaceTalks were sponsored by LUSH Charity Pot and HiVE. Over 400 people in total registered to attend the talks.

Learn More

Letter from our Board Chair

Simon Canning

PeaceGeeks builds digital tools to empower communities in the pursuit of peace.

Why is this important?

There is no doubt the world has had its share of troubles last year many of which will persist for the next few years. But the good news is we are doing meaningful and positive work such as:

  1. We are creating positive digital content in Arabic from our Jordan office, primarily supported by Canadian Government; messages and activities that foster inclusion and work for peace,
  2. We are empowering refugees and internally displaced persons in Jordan and Turkey as well as newcomers at home in Canada by providing digital access to services, supported by Google.org Canada,
  3. We are building our own capacity and resilience with improved staffing processes, new strategic relationships with organizations such as the United Nations Refugee Agency, and improving our internal governance processes.

We are making a positive difference at the community level and I hope you will be inspired by some of our stories here in our 2017 Annual Report.

We have a volunteer board committed to providing the right level of governance for our growing organization. To that end, as incoming Chair I am committed to working towards a governance model that drives the highest levels of transparency and accountability.

In 2018 and 2019 we will continue to work on the above and will start working towards a new initiative around strengthening digital security and privacy for other not for profits. We also hope to engage a dynamic Community manager later in 2018 to lead and engage our many volunteers around the world.

As the incoming Chair in 2017 it has been my privilege to serve as a PeaceGeeks volunteer and hope you will find the inspiration to support our work as well.

Sincerely,
Simon Canning

Chair of the Board of Directors
  • After [PeaceGeeks' Meshkat Community] workshop on Community Resilience, I have the motivation to participate and give back to my community.

    Badeeah Al Atmeh
    Badeeah Al Atmeh Meshkat Community Community Resilience workshop participant
  • By building on their global experience using technology to support refugees combined with innovative approaches that will be developed locally, PeaceGeeks is poised to make a pioneering contribution to the way that immigrants and refugees access information about services in Metro Vancouver.

    Nadia Carvalho
    Nadia Carvalho Vancouver Immigration Partnership Coordinator
  • Way before tech for good had its own hashtag, PeaceGeeks was out in the world trying to figure out how to use tech to level the playing field for people living through the most harrowing conflicts and crises on the planet. Tech is the medium but it's humanity that shines through PeaceGeeks' work.

    Andrea Reimer
    Andrew Reimer Councillor, City of Vancouver
  • Meshkat Community and PeaceGeeks provide a real opportunity to unify efforts in the institutions of Zarqa Governorate and build their capacity to plan and implement campaigns to curb racism and hate speech.

    Stage TP
    Stage TP Youth theatrical production organization, Meshkat Community National Alliance Partner
  • Our experience with the PeaceGeeks community is a rich and constructive one that [...] makes you wake up everyday and look forward to a community environment full of tolerance and love, and encourages the creation of altruistic and tolerant discourse.

    Arab Youth Activities Network Meshkat Community National Alliance Partner
  • The experience of the [Meshkat Community] alliance has changed the views of associations and institutions, to engage in a participatory manner as opposed to being competitive. Our partnership is breaking barriers and stalemate.

    Athar
    Athar Nonprofit organization, Meshkat Community National Alliance Partner

Donors, sponsors & partners

Partners for peace

Our projects would not be possible without these supporters.

Major Funding Partners

Signature Donor

Services Advisor & Signpost Project Partners

Pathways Project Partners

Meshkat Community Local Partners

Community & Technology Supporters

Financials

Our efficiency

2017 has been a groundbreaking year. PeaceGeeks received commitment for program funding worth over $2 million for the next three years. Thanks for your support!

Funding by year

Source of funding

Lean & Efficient

Thank you!

PeaceGeeks would not be possible without our incredible partners, donors and supporters. Stay engaged by following us on social media, or consider making a gift to fuel our mission to advance peace and humanitarian action.