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Humanrightstech is a non-profit organization based in Philadelphia. We leverage information technology to assist and encourage grassroots anti-poverty initiatives. We do this by training organizations to use the Internet to build capacity, create networks of support and broadcast the voices of poor people. We create web-based collaborative tools, establish community-based networking centers, and develop innovative models of the grassroots use of the Internet. The organization serves poor people and their communities, people of both genders and all races, in rural and urban areas, across the United States.
Human Rights Tech has four main organizational goals. These goals are:
- Break the isolation of low-income people and grassroots anti-poverty organizations via the Internet
- Build capacity of grassroots anti-poverty groups using the Internet and other information technologies
- Develop a communications infrastructure among grassroots anti-poverty organizations and supporting individuals and organizations.
- Empower low-income people by gaining mastery of cutting edge tools.
Formed in 1999, Human Rights Tech has nonetheless had an impressive history. Through our Internet Empowerment training Program, we have been able to visit poor communities across the United States, while concentrating our efforts in the Philadelphia area. We have trained leaders in these communities in the use of the Internet, thereby building the technological capacities of grassroots anti-poverty organizations across the country.
Some highlights of HRT's work include:
- We developed the prototype web site for the International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Human Rights, and we demonstrated the site at the Interim Planning Committee meeting in Capetown, South Africa.
- We trained leaders of poor people's organizations from across the United States and Western Hemisphere to use the Internet as an organizing tool in a mobile Internet training center during the month-long March of the Americas. Over 35,000 people from 39 countries followed the march on the web. (www.kwru.org/ehrc/moa.html)
We traveled to southwest Florida to help the Coalition of Immokalee Workers break their isolation via information and communication technologies, including the Internet and digital video. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is an organization of migrant workers primarily of Mexican, Guatemalan and Haitian descent fighting for dignity, dialogue and a living wage. (www.ciw-online.org)
We trained the Deaf Committee for Universal Human Rights (DCUHR) in Elyria, Ohio in web development and Internet communication. DCUHR is an organization made up of poor and working-class Deaf people and their supporters from Northeast Ohio. Their mission is to gain equality, a respectful living environment, and human rights for all Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf-Blind people.
We helped grassroots anti-poverty activists organize the March for Economic Human Rights, a peaceful march of over 15,000 people protesting poverty in America. Promotion, recruitment, and registration were all done via the Internet. The Philadelphia Daily News highlighted and praised our web reporting.
We are developing the web component of the University of the Poor, a web-centered educational institution dedicated to training grassroots anti-poverty leaders. The University facilitates the exchange of educational materials and resources among grassroots anti-poverty organizations, and provides an on-line space for dialogue and collaboration. (www.universityofthepoor.org)
Human Rights Tech's work is supported by the following foundations: