Sithi.org: Cambodia's First Human Rights Database and Web Portal

This Entry has been submitted.

Sithi.org: Cambodia's First Human Rights Database and Web Portal

Cambodia
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The first initiative of its kind in ASEAN and has revolutionized NGO cooperation, documentation and monitoring of human rights.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Cambodia suffers from a widespread and flagrant disregard for human rights, and recent years have seen alarming trends in relation to repression of civil and political freedoms, as well as governmental crackdowns on access to information. The Sithi.org online portal provides users a unique opportunity to access human rights material. By increasing the availability of data and information, Sithi.org facilitates sophisticated evidence-based dialogue and advocacy in order to enable civil society and other stakeholders to more effectively improve the situation of human rights in Cambodia. The intended short-term beneficiaries of Sithi.org's information and capacity building elements are non-governmental organizations (“NGOs”) and Civil Society Organizations ("CSOs") themselves, though the results of this Project will eventually benefit all Cambodians. The digitalization of data means that the actual reach of the information shared and disseminated through the Sithi.org portal goes beyond just Cambodia, and to those interested in human rights globally.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

As the only comprehensive Cambodian human rights information-sharing portal and the first initiative of its kind in Southeast Asia, Sithi.org is an innovative and valuable resource for NGOs, CSO’s and other potential stakeholders. Sithi.org encompasses digitalized human rights data, issue analysis and information gathered through the work of CCHR and other NGOs and CSOs in Cambodia, as well as from regional and international human rights organizations and international bodies. The portal is designed to facilitate the sharing and dissemination of information pertaining to human rights by those interested in and/or working to promote and protect human rights in Cambodia. Sithi.org is thus a unique online one-stop shop for information on human rights in Cambodia, including human rights violations maps, publications and media reports on human rights issues, relevant laws, and practical information such as directories of civil society actors, funding agencies and state institutions.Sithi.org is designed to change the way in which CSOs in Cambodia monitor, document and use information on human rights – moving away from decentralized bureaucratic processes dominated by large NGOs towards a centralized, specialized and collaborative approach resulting in more research and analysis, and more innovative ideas for policy, legislative and structural changes.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The Sithi.org has earned particular recognition for its mapping of human rights violations. Using Google Maps, CCHR has created digitalized maps that present information on human rights violations across Cambodia in an innovative and user-friendly format. The maps on development trends, for example, have been accessed online and used by the media when reporting on Cambodia’s increasing problems with grants of economic land concessions. These maps have also been used by NGOs when conducting advocacy. For example, the maps on land concessions were used as part of a report to the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. In addition to Google maps, the Sithi.org Project has created static maps that visually document specific human rights violations in a set and specific category. So far the Portal includes static maps on journalists killed in Cambodia since 1993 as well as a static map on reported rape cases across the country since 2009 and land conflicts between 2007 and 2011. The Sithi.org team is developing maps on violations of freedom of expression and maps of acid violence in Cambodia. Sithi.org is the only access to such visual representations of human rights and other violations, as well as the corresponding data, in Cambodia.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Sithi.org is unique, as the only human rights web portal that provides comprehensive access to Cambodian human rights information, laws and analysis. The founding vision underlying Sithi.org is that it enables the entire community of Cambodian NGOs, CSOs and individual human right defenders to cooperatively share information and reports at one central clearinghouse for data and ideas. CCHR encourages the entire human rights community to work together to contribute to and improve Sithi.org, thus progressing cooperatively towards common goals rather than wasting resources on duplicative individual efforts.
About You
Organization:
Cambodian Center for Human Rights
About You
First Name

Virak

Last Name

Ou

About Your Organization
Organization Name

Cambodian Center for Human Rights

Organization Country

, PP

Country where this project is creating social impact

, XX

How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

Innovation
Select the stage that best applies to your solution

Established (you've got demonstrated success)

How long have you been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Social Impact
FOUNDING STORY: We want to hear about your “Aha!” moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution’s potential to change the world.

The development of Sithi.org came as Cambodia was suffering – as it still does – from a systemic disregard for human rights while decentralized bureaucratic processes meant that the development sector was increasingly stagnating due to a domination of established large NGOs. In 2008, CCHR implemented the Database Project, designed to streamline and improve the ways in which CSOs in Cambodia monitor, document and use information on human rights. This project was the inspiration behind Sithi.org, as CCHR saw an opportunity through a human rights portal to move towards a decentralized, specialized and collaborative approach resulting in more research and analysis, more innovative ideas for policy, legislative and structural changes. The idea behind the project is to encourage civil society organisations and others working on human rights in Cambodia to be more collaborative and therefore effective, and to increase awareness and understanding of human rights in Cambodia in order to mobilize action.

Specify both the depth and scale of your solution’s social impact to date

Sithi.org's greatest social impact to date has been its systemic facilitation of inter-NGO cooperation and innovation in Cambodia. As noted above, trend maps from the site have been used by numerous NGOs for advocacy work on land grabbing, corruption and social land concessions. Improving data and analysis sharing within the NGO community also enabled CCHR to partner with 16 other organizations in 2010 to release a widely-reported joint civil society study of freedom of expression entitled "Cambodia Gagged: Democracy at Risk?” A vibrant, informed and systematically cooperative civil society will greatly benefit all Cambodian citizens.

Furthermore, Sithi.org has greatly increased the overall availability of information on human rights issues in Cambodia. By September 14, 2011, Sithi.org had received over 261,844 visitors. The human rights portal has been accessed not only in Cambodia but also across the world, including from the United States, Great Britain, Australia, Germany and Singapore, among others.

What is your projected impact within the next 1-5 years? Is your idea replicable? If so, how?

We want to increase the amount of information available – spanning the panoply of human rights set out in Cambodian and international law. The ultimate goal is that all the information that is needed in researching human rights issues in Cambodia will be available under Sithi,org’s roof. In May 2011, for example, Sithi Project staff met with SEACeM staff to share their experiences administering a human rights web portal. In addition, Sithi.org has been incorporated into the South-East Asia human rights portal. With information about human rights violations across South-East Asia now available on one portal.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and mark growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

ncrease the amount of information on human rights in Cambodia is on the portal to make it a one stop shop

Six-Month Tasks
Task 1

To launch both a new Sithi.org homepage and a Sithi blog, improving website accessibility, responsiveness, functionality

Task 2

To strengthen additional user-friendly web portal infrastructure

Task 3

To train and courage other CSOs to undertake joint dialogue and advocacy initiatives, driving them to cooperatively contribute

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

help empower Cambodian citizens though information sharing to demand greater respect for human rights in the 2012 elections

12-Month Tasks
Task 1

To continue to focus on improving and increasing the Portal’s usability, technical capabilities and innovativeness

Task 2

Improving access to information whereby comprehensive data, statistics and case studies will be documented and housed on sithi

Task 3

To train and courage other CSOs to undertake joint dialogue and advocacy initiatives, driving them to cooperatively contribute

How many people have been impacted by your project?

More than 10,000

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

Sustainability
Explain how your company, program, service or product is structured

Non-profit

What barriers have hindered the success of your project to date? How do you plan to overcome these and other challenges as you grow your solution?

Extremely low levels of internet penetration in provincial Cambodia have hindered the ability of one of sithi.org target audiences –ordinary Cambodian citizens to access Sithi.org. This reduces the impact of Sithi.org to the extent that many individual Cambodians cannot reach the website. To overcome this challenge, Sithi.org is focusing on reports and analysis that will benefit civil society organizations that can actually access the portal, and whose work will in turn aid ordinary Cambodians. While internet penetration remains low, it is growing at speed.

How do you see the information-technology and media sectors shifting over the next decade? How will your solution adapt to and/or drive that changing environment?

The IT sector in Cambodia is developing fast. While penetration remains low, access to broadband internet is becoming increasingly common in urban areas. Young members of Cambodia’s growing middle class are extremely web savvy. This demographic group will make up Cambodia’s leaders of tomorrow. Through sithi.org CCHR seek to foment amongst them an increased sense of social responsibility and awareness of the situation of human rights.

Failure is not always an option. If your solution fails to gain traction in the next two years, what other applications of the idea could you explore?

The collaborative nature of sithi.org means that through partnership there are a number of different applications that could be pursued to encourage greater traction. For example, with the documentation of individual human rights violations, this could be partnered with relevant organisations both domestically and globally. Also it could be promoted by the use of on the ground training on human rights.

Expand on your selections, explaining how you will sustain funding

Sithi.org could diversify revenue streams by promoting the brand with merchandise. Sithi in Khmer (and in Thai and Laotian) means human rights and, as such, there are a number of merchandise initiatives that could be undertaken using the word Sithi. This would also help to strengthen the sithi.org brand and help it gain further traction. Also sithi.org could encourage users of the portal to donate to it’s continue development. The most important element of sithi.org is that as an information sharing website it remains free for its users. Selling advertising space would also not be appropriate as this could lead to perceptions of a lack of independence.

Tell us about your partnerships

Whilst there is no formal partnership arrangements for the implementation of Sithi.org, collaboration will be key to improvements regarding the functionality of the Portal as well as for the collation of information that will be disseminated through the Portal. To date CCHR has collaborated with a number of stakeholders such as human rights NGOs, state institutions, IT specialists, donors, academics and researchers to build and promote the Portal.

What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section?

The Sithi Project staff is currently composed of six CCHR staffers, including four paid staff members and two interns who receive modest stipends. Together, this team will work to ensure that Sithi.org meets all of its growth milestones and other goals.
Staff Members include:

1. Ms. ChorChanthyda, Project Coordinator
2. Mr. NuonPiseth, Web Developer
3. Mr. Hem Sokly, Documentation Officer
4. Mr. Jonathan Caleb-Landy, Consultant
5 and 6. Two Newly Graduated Cambodian Interns

Changemakers is a collaborative and supportive space. Please specify any community resources you would need to grow and sustain your initiative. Select all that apply

Investment, Collaboration or networking, Innovation or ideas.

Specify any resources you might offer to support other initiatives. Select all that apply

Marketing or media, Research or information, Collaboration or networking, Innovation or ideas.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren’t specified within the list

CCHR has created a strong and innovative web portal that is being used by a number of different stakeholders to access and disseminate information about human rights in Cambodia. Yet, more work is required to develop this new approach. The improving of the Portal itself will help strengthen Sithi.org to build on momentum to maximize the rapidly growing user base. Further developing and improving the Portal could also access a vast untapped audience for the dissemination of information on human rights in Cambodia.

Summary
Define your company, program, service or product in 1-2 short sentences

An innovative one-stop online portal for information on human rights in Cambodia.

randomness