The Martus Concept
Testimonies. Field investigations. Photos. Videos. The stories and voices of victims and witnesses continue to be the foundation for human rights advocacy. But here’s the challenge: Human rights practitioners confront grave risks when attempting to secure and use the stories they collect in advocacy campaigns. Martus empowers those who defend human rights to address this challenge by providing them the tools they need to gather, secure and utilize their information.
Our Theory of Change
At Benetech, we have learned that we add the most value to the work of our partners and users by helping them leverage their information to make progress toward justice. This progress comes through both current and near-term advocacy and through supporting longer-term, larger-scale accountability mechanisms, such as legal proceedings or a commission of inquiry.
Our theory of change is based upon the belief that the stories of individuals suffering abuse, secured with Martus and combined with analysis of the patterns and scale of abuse, make a powerful contribution to the cause of justice. For an example of how this theory plays out through the full spectrum of the path to accountability, you can read the story of our work in Guatemala.
For over nine years, our Human Rights Program included the data-driven, scientific side of analyzing human rights violations. This was the focus of our Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG). In February 2013, HRDAG successfully spun out from Benetech to become its own independent organization. Our theory of change, however, remains constant, which is why Benetech plans to partner with HRDAG whenever possible.
Looking Ahead: Building the Next Generation of Martus for a Growing Base of Human Rights Defenders
With support for new development from the MacArthur Foundation and Radio Free Asia’s Open Technology Fund, Benetech is moving forward with a multi-year project to build the next generation of the Martus technology, including a mobile application.
Our product managers and developers are busy ensuring that the new Martus harnesses the latest mobile technologies, enhanced scalability and security, and analytic and visualization tools to help a growing base of users accomplish more with the invaluable stories they collect. We are looking forward to rolling out this major set of enhancements to Martus. We are also working to more easily integrate other critical tools being used by human rights defenders.