We’ve all heard the expression “if the walls had ears” and know that the walls could spread a lot of gossip if they had mouths to repeat everything they heard. Most of the time we don’t have to worry about the walls talking. But in Cyprus, the walls have plenty to say… and it’s being documented.
The Cyprus 2015 Project is spearheading a graffiti documentation project, tracking the positive and negative graffiti through out the island. Reports can be submitted via email or using a smartphone. Basically, a “What the Walls are Saying” participant takes a picture of the graffiti, poster, or inscription, identifies it as positive or negative and uploads it to a crowd-sourced map. The idea is that this data can be used as an indicator of how reconciliation efforts are going on the island.
This is relevant in Cyprus which has been a divided island for over three decades. The north is controlled by Turkey and is Turkish-speaking while the south is internationally recognized as independent and is Greek-speaking. There have been ongoing efforts to unify the island with varying degrees of success.
The “What the Walls are Saying” documentation project is powered by Ushahidi’s CrowdMap technology originally conceived to crowd-source crisis information, but now adaptable for business purposes like identifying local resources and ecological ends like protecting elephants.
Where else could this technology be used to build peace in a participatory way?