Browsing articles by "Hameed | Jalalagood - Part 3"

Crowd Sourcing: Reporting and Mapping Incidents

Dec 28, 2011   //   by Hameed   //   Culture and Tech, photos  //  No Comments

Crowd sourc­ing tools and appli­ca­tions that are used to report inci­dents and map them: they can be used in dis­as­ter response and relief, elec­tion mon­i­tor­ing, report­ing human right vio­la­tion inci­dents, cre­at­ing a detailed visu­al report of an orga­ni­za­tion’s projects, etc.

Fol­low­ing tools and appli­ca­tions are inte­grat­ed for the above men­tioned tasks:
Front­li­neSMS: to col­lect raw data and inci­dent reports
Face­book, Twit­ter, E‑mail, phone calls, a GPS for exact loca­tions and oth­er means can be used to col­lect data as well.
Ushahi­di or Crowdmap are used as the final report sites.

I trained Shuha­da Orga­ni­za­tion (an aid and relief orga­ni­za­tion in cen­tral Afghanistan) staff to cre­ate a map of their projects in the region. Shuha­da Orga­ni­za­tion Map on Crowdmap

My team helped cre­ate a visu­al map of Afghan Elec­tion 2010.
Togeth­er with the pub­lic health hos­pi­tal we used it for report­ing dis­ease inci­dents in East­ern Afghanistan in 2011.

A T‑shirt in Kabul and a T‑shirt in Islamabad

Dec 26, 2011   //   by Hameed   //   photos  //  No Comments

An Afghan in Kab­ul, Afghanistan wear­ing this T‑shirt that says, “ONLY A DEAD TALIBAN IS A GOOD TALIBAN”. And in the bot­tom it says, “Repub­lic of Afghanistan” in Pashto.

A store in Islam­abad, Pak­istan sell­ing these T‑shirts that have a pho­to of Osama bin Laden and under the pho­to it says, “Well-known” in Eng­lish and in Arabic.

Signs in Islamabad International Airport

Dec 26, 2011   //   by Hameed   //   photos  //  No Comments

Trans­la­tion: All pil­grims are kind­ly request­ed to pray for the bet­ter­ment of their peo­ple and their nation (Pak­istan).

Pak­istani pil­grims wait­ing on a line for their flight to Sau­di Arabia

Trans­la­tion: “Warn­ing: Smug­gling drugs into Sau­di Ara­bia is death penalty.”

U.S. Prepares for a Curtailed Relationship With Pakistan

Dec 26, 2011   //   by Hameed   //   links  //  No Comments

Mushahid Hus­sain Sayed, the sec­re­tary gen­er­al of the Pak­istan Mus­lim League‑Q, an oppo­si­tion polit­i­cal par­ty, summed up the anger that he said many har­bored: “We feel like the U.S. treats Pak­istan like a rainy-day girlfriend.””: this is a quote from the New York Times arti­cle. It’s fun­ny that he thinks that the U.S. treats Pak­istan like “a rainy-day girl­friend”. Nobody spends bil­lions of dol­lars on “a rainy-day girlfriend”.
Pak­istan, Afghanistan and the U.S. are three coun­tries that have been affect­ed by ter­ror­ism the most. I think it’s extreme­ly impor­tant for the three nations to have strong, true and hon­est rela­tion­ship with each oth­er. And to pre­vent ter­ror­ists from spread­ing, oth­er nations’ con­tri­bu­tion in this war is vital.

U.S. Pre­pares for a Cur­tailed Rela­tion­ship with Pakistan.

Nangarhar Media Office: Collecting and Disseminating Information

Dec 21, 2011   //   by Hameed   //   Culture and Tech  //  No Comments

Nan­garhar Gov­er­nor’s Media Office uses sim­ple tech­nol­o­gy to gath­er infor­ma­tion and secu­ri­ty updates and to dis­sem­i­nate that, if/when need­ed. Nan­garhar province in the east­ern Afghanistan has 22 dis­tricts and every morn­ing, the media office calls the dis­trict gov­er­nors and get updates on secu­ri­ty sit­u­a­tion in their dis­tricts. They use a notepad to jot down any notes dur­ing their tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion with the dis­trict gov­er­nors. They always check with the provin­cial direc­tor of Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Direc­torate (NDS) to make sure that the infor­ma­tion and fig­ures are accurate.
The office emails their dai­ly provin­cial reports to every­one in the gov­er­nor’s office but since a lot of the ben­e­fi­cia­ries don’t have access to the Inter­net they have to print the reports and give every employ­ee a hard copy. In addi­tion to that, they also call the local and inter­na­tion­al jour­nal­ists in the area and brief them with any new inci­dents reports. So that the jour­nal­ists can then fol­low up on those sto­ries. There is a lit­tle phone book that has the phone num­bers of jour­nal­ists in it and they car­ry it with them around.
Also they call them when there before inau­gu­ra­tion cer­e­monies or oth­er spe­cial events if the jour­nal­ists would want to cov­er the event and report. The media office call them, usu­al­ly a day or so ahead of the event.
Nan­garhar media office has a con­fer­ence hall that they use for press con­fer­ences and it also serves as a room for jour­nal­ists to drink tea and work on their reports. There are one or two com­put­ers for the media office use only. Most jour­nal­ists come here with their note­books to write and edit reports and then they dig­i­tize that some­where else later.

My team is help­ing Nan­garhar Media Office with a spe­cial SMS sys­tem that will make their work much eas­i­er. We’re work­ing togeth­er with Pay­wast, which is a SMS social and busi­ness net­work­ing com­pa­ny in Afghanistan to make SMS groups for the media office. There will be dif­fer­ent groups (for exam­ple, journos’ group or dis­trict gov­er­nors’ group) and each group will have mem­bers and an admin/owner. If the media office, which is the admin of the group send a mes­sage to the jour­nal­ists group, every­one will receive it. Then if the jour­nal­ists want to send a mes­sage back only the admin receives it. So it’s an inter­ac­tive group that takes them one text mes­sage to get a report to every­one in a cer­tain group. The own­er of the group (the media office in this case) can add/remove mem­bers from the group. Once the group is up and work­ing they no longer have to car­ry that phone book with them. They can send/receive mes­sages from their web inter­face or right from mobile phone.
Inno­va­tion and Sup­port to Emer­gen­cies, Dis­eases and Dis­as­ters (InSTEDD) uses a sim­i­lar tech­nol­o­gy called GeoChat for real-time group com­mu­ni­ca­tion. GeoChat is an open source group com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­o­gy that lets team mem­bers inter­act and main­tain shared geospa­tial aware­ness of who is doing what where — over any device, on any plat­form, over any network.

From Afghanistan to Cambodia

Dec 18, 2011   //   by Hameed   //   links, Peace  //  No Comments

Online Freedom of Expression in CambodiaToday, I met with a spe­cial group of young cit­i­zen jour­nal­ists and blog­gers in Phnom Penh, Cam­bo­dia. At this 4 hours event we dis­cussed Online Free­dom of Expres­sion in Cam­bo­di­an. I shared my expe­ri­ences about blog­ging and the use of social media in Afghanistan and the prob­lems and obsta­cles that we are fac­ing in this area. Dig­i­tal media col­lec­tive forum fea­tures my talk.

More details about the event here.

First Graduates of Shaheed Mirranay Education Center

Nov 28, 2011   //   by Hameed   //   Children in Conflict, Human Rights, Peace, Poverty  //  1 Comment

Sha­heed Mir­ranay com­put­er and Eng­lish lan­guage cen­ter was built in April 2011. It’s locat­ed in South­west of Jalal­abad city- one hour dri­ve from Jalal­abad city. Togeth­er with my team I set up it’s solar pow­er sys­tem and the com­put­er lab. We installed five com­put­ers and a print­er, four solar pan­els with a pow­er invert­er, and four car bat­ter­ies. The solar pow­er sys­tem gen­er­at­ed enough pow­er to run the five ener­gy effi­cient lap­tops for six months sev­er­al hours every­day (After six months, two of the four bat­ter­ies stopped work­ing now and they are plan­ning to replace them soon).

The train­ing cen­ter recruit­ed many poten­tial stu­dents and select­ed 317 of them in 18 dif­fer­ent lev­el com­put­er and Eng­lish lan­guage class­es when it start­ed. With four Eng­lish lan­guage teach­ers and two com­put­er train­ers it is open 6 days a week for 8 hours each day. The cen­ter has a gen­er­al man­ag­er and two guards. Sev­en months after its start, Sha­heed Mir­ranay Eng­lish lan­guage and com­put­er cen­ter is award­ing cer­tifi­cates to its 300 grad­u­ates: 110 stu­dents will be award­ed cer­tifi­cates in basic com­put­er skills and 190 stu­dents will receive cer­tifi­cates in inter­me­di­ate Eng­lish lan­guage use. I was vis­it­ing the train­ing cen­ter last week and all the teach­ers were busy putting fin­ish­ing touch­es to their stu­dents’ cer­tifi­cates. They’ve already start­ed recruit­ing new stu­dents for their upcom­ing classes.

When I was vis­it­ing this cen­ter in Sep­tem­ber, all these lit­tle kids seemed very sad because they had been told that the cen­ter would close down that month because there were no more funds for it. How­ev­er, they were able to keep it run­ning and keep it fund­ed some­how. This time, the stu­dents looked way hap­pi­er. They did­n’t have to wor­ry about the closure.

Com­pared to the rest of Nan­garhar province, Khogyani has the most Tal­iban and insur­gents. Going there, I drove through sev­er­al bomb craters on the road that had tar­get­ed Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force (ISAF) and Afghan Nation­al Army (ANA). Tal­iban and oth­er insur­gents exploit teenagers and lit­tle chil­dren by giv­ing them a bomb to plant on the road. They give them $15 for each bomb they plant. The day before my vis­it, two US army tanks had been blown up by an Impro­vised Explo­sive Device (IED) on the road in the near­by area of Mim­la. Two teenagers that were plant­i­ng a bomb on the road were killed in an airstrike that day.These kids don’t know any­thing about bombs and ammu­ni­tion. Some­times, they get killed due to pre­ma­ture detonation.

Besides insur­gency, peo­ple also grow pop­py on a very large scale in this area. Under the Tal­iban, their num­ber one income was from grow­ing pop­py. It’s still grown here. When I was there, I saw that the dis­trict prison was full of detainees who had been cap­tured for grow­ing pop­py or for their involve­ment in oth­er insur­gent activ­i­ties. The dis­trict gov­ern­ment was redi­rect­ing detainees to oth­er pris­ons in the country.

Pho­to cred­it: Najib Bismil

In an area like this which is infest­ed with the Tal­iban and oth­er insur­gent groups, an edu­ca­tion­al insti­tute plays a sig­nif­i­cant role in edu­cat­ing the next gen­er­a­tion and pro­vid­ing them with the right tools and skills need­ed to serve their coun­try. They will have a brighter future than that of their ances­tors, a decent job and a more sus­tain­able income to sup­port their fam­i­lies. When I was vis­it­ing this edu­ca­tion cen­ter two months ago, one of the stu­dents told me, “I want to learn com­put­er and Eng­lish lan­guage to work with an inter­na­tion­al orga­ni­za­tion and help build my country.”

Basketball in Jalalabad

Nov 27, 2011   //   by Hameed   //   photos  //  2 Comments

Be in Jail for 12 Years or Marry Your Rapist

Nov 26, 2011   //   by Hameed   //   Uncategorized  //  No Comments

Afghan woman jailed for being a rape vic­tim offered release if she MARRIES her attacker

Gul­naz was con­vict­ed of adul­tery because she had sex out­side of mar­riage by being raped. After falling preg­nant by her attack­er, she and the baby were jailed for 12 years. She has been giv­en the choice to mar­ry her rapist and be freed from jail

Read the full sto­ry here.

Proud to Be an Afghan

Nov 25, 2011   //   by Hameed   //   Uncategorized  //  1 Comment


Za Afghan Yem and Mann Afghan Hastam.