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BACKUP PILOT PHASES

Between May 2019 and February 2020, WWoW conducted various field missions in two African regions: Guinea-Conakry and Rwanda, with the aim of testing the BackUp tool and gathering initial user feedback. After meeting with nearly 600 individuals, these tests allowed us to identify on-the-ground networks that would facilitate the tool's deployment. They also validated its relevance, agility, flexibility, and ease of use.

BackUp meets the very practical needs of beneficiaries in the field (victims, whistleblowers, healthcare services, local institutions, etc.). These users expressed particular interest in security, access to real-time information and data, viable and sourced for the prevention and prediction of atrocities.

Furthermore, these field missions allowed us to gather essential information on the extent of conflict-related sexual violence and how to improve certain functions of BackUp to increase its efficiency. These elements were crucial to ensure the continued deployment in the months to come.

In essence, the main strength of BackUp lies in its digital dimension and its ability for rapid and secure dissemination. The tool is intended to be constantly updated and recalibrated based on user feedback. It continuously adapts, thanks to precise indicators, to each context and every need.

GUINEA-CONAKRY

WWoW conducted a preliminary pilot mission in Conakry in May 2019.

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Numerous consultations were held with various players, in order to identify their needs and assess the relevance of BackUp in this context. Among the nearly 300 people interviewed, the team was able to present the BackUp tool to :

  • nearly 100 survivors of the Conakry stadium massacre during several focus groups organised with the support of AVIPA[1] ;

  • more than 100 members of Guinean civil society organisations, representatives of the FIDH and the Mukwege Foundation, to assess the potential for coordination around their respective activities and the needs of typical human rights organisations; 

  • national institutions, in particular during direct exchanges with the Ministers of Justice and Security and Civil Protection, as well as the Police Captain, Ms Marie Gomez, Head of the police unit specialising in sexual violence, OPROGEM, and her teams;

  • prosecutors and investigative judges through a series of focus groups;

  • more than 150 students in training at the National Police School in Conakry, who are responsible for filing complaints;

  • more than 80 Judicial Police Officers in 5 central police stations and 6 urban police stations, during visits and interviews, making it possible to analyse the processes involved in taking complaints from victims and to identify needs;

  • the Delegation of the European Union and representatives of the European PARSS [2] programme on security, in order to study the possibilities of cooperation concerning training for judicial police officers and prosecutors;

  • several doctors, health centres and more than ten psychosocial agents.

BURUNDI / RWANDA 

Two missions were carried out in October 2019 and January 2020.

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Due to the security situation in Burundi and the impossibility of going there, WWoW decided to refocus its action on the border territories where Burundian refugees are located.  The team carried out two missions to Rwanda in 2019 and February 2020, to ensure meetingt all the relevant stakeholders [3]. Both missions were carried out in collaboration with the support of Maison Shalom, founded by Marguerite Barankitse [4]. Among the nearly 350 people interviewed, the team was able to present the BackUp tool to :

  • nearly 20 civil society organisations in Kigali and Butare, including: the Comité des Réfugiés Urbains, ACAT Burundi, Impunity Watch Burundi, Maison Shalom, (Marguerite Barankitse herself and her entire team), the Mouvement des Femmes pour la Paix et la Sécurité, the American Refugee Council and others. They all have networks inside and outside the Mahama camp;

  • Members of the High Commission for Refugees;

  • 3 Burundian researchers from the University of Kigali and the Aegis Trust[5] ;

  • 150 urban refugee survivors, in two focus groups, in the presence of a Rwandan psychologist from Maison Shalom. 80 of the survivors had never told their story in public;

  • 10 survivors from the Mahama camp to analyse the feasibility of disseminating the tool in the camp and its capacity to be disseminated despite security constraints; 

  • 3 representatives of civil society organisations in the Mahama camp;

  • 10 male survivors who had never spoken. The issue of male victims of sexual violence has proved to be a real problem in Burundi, where, beyond the shame and taboo, they are not listened to or given access to services, either because of their situation or because of their gender;

  • 2 Burundian refugee journalists in Rwanda who have been documenting the crimes committed in Burundi since 2015;

  • 1 general practitioner at Kigali Central Hospital.

 

[1] Association of Victims, Parents and Friends of 28 September 2009

[2] Programme d'Appui à la Réforme du Secteur de la Sécurité en Guinée-Conakry, funded by the European Union.

[3] As the first mission in September 2019 was not sufficiently conclusive, WWoW has decided to organise a second mission to ensure that all stakeholders and needs are covered.

[4] https://www.maisonshalom.org/propos/maggy-barankitse

[5] Research Centre for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Violence - https://www.aegistrust.org/

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