Customer Story

Digital Public Square

In this Customer Story, RIWI helped elevate the voices of women marginalized by ISIL. This is the story of the Aswat Project with Digital Public Square.

The Challenge

In 2016, the spread of ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) propaganda online dominated social media feeds of vulnerable communities. ISIL set out a restrictive vision for women and girls across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Meanwhile, Syrian women were escaping violence inside their country and were cut off from their home. Digital Public Square (DPS) sought to amplify these marginalized voices from across the MENA region and to open discussion on critical issues such as education, mobility, and work outside the home. Since much of the audience for this initiative lives in sensitive environments where Web users face heavy censorship, the DPS project team needed an accurate, rapid solution that provided greater safeguards for respondents’ privacy than traditional in person interviews.

The Solution

In order to meet its needs, DPS leveraged RIWI’s patented Random Domain Intercept Technology and Web-based data collection methodology. This allowed DPS to anonymously engage its audience without capturing any personally identifiable information or exposing the audience to the risks associated with face-to-face interviews or with data collected from social media. RIWI’s platform was used to gather more than 65,000 responses on issues facing women and girls in the region.
The second phase consisted of testing and optimizing varied videos produced by female documentary filmmakers, featuring stories about Syrian women’s resilience, leadership, independence, and ingenuity to highlight everyday heroines and challenge the perceptions of women and girls across the region.
The last step was to build the website to share the findings globally and thereby help provide a platform for the world to hear. This was developed by DPS to highlight the survey findings and the documentary videos. It is one of the largest studies of its kind ever conducted and was fielded online in Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, State of Palestine, Saudia Arabia, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

The Impact

The project was successful in elevating the voices of women marginalized by ISIL and revealed alternative narratives which contradict ISIL propaganda on the role of women and girls. People around the world learned about the brutality of ISIL from the authentic voices of women and girls with lived experiences under the ISIL regime. Audiences across the globe could now, for the first time, measure how their own countries’ attitudes toward women and girls compared to the views expressed in other countries. Less than four weeks after Digital Public Square published the results on the interactive website, the platform received over 500,000 site visits, engaged over 65,000 individuals in 16 countries, generated over 93 million impressions reaching over 18 million people, streamed over 230,000 video views, and received 62,000 page likes and 160,000 post likes on Facebook.

RIWI’s technology enabled us to do what many previously believed to be impossible: to anonymously source over 100,000 authentic citizen responses across the Middle East and North Africa in a matter of weeks, amplifying women's voices in this ground breaking initiative. Farhaan Ladhani CEO