Introducing Martus 5.2.0

By Benetech, posted in Human Rights on

Secure data collection and analysis made easy with customizable forms and data export

Martus, a Benetech initiative, today unveiled product updates to further empower human rights defenders to document and analyze data in the pursuit of justice and policy reform. Based on feedback from Martus users in over 50 countries, updates include the ability to easily create customized forms for data collection, to export Martus data into various file formats for data analysis, and to import multiple Martus records at a time for richer datasets.

Martus 5.2.0 is free and available for download at: https://www.martus.org/download.html

We sat down with Benetech’s Human Rights Program Product Manager, Tarun Malik, and Program Associate, Collin Sullivan, to learn more about Martus 5.2.0.

What is the role of data collection and analysis in human rights?

Data collection is the first step in giving victims of human rights abuse a voice. Those experiencing abuse are typically vulnerable members of society who are easily silenced. Without data, it’s very difficult to challenge authorities who say an occurrence never took place. This is why data collection is so critical and why human rights defenders need the tools and resources to securely document the violations they encounter.

While data collection is a powerful tool in the fight for human rights, it’s useless unless the findings are made actionable. This is where data analysis comes into play. It allows organizations and individuals to more thoroughly answer questions regarding the who, what, where, when and why surrounding human rights abuses. Analyzing the data—whether it be from 10 incidents or 10,000 incidents—can provide valuable insights into potential solutions. So just as data collection is integral to demonstrating abuses, data analysis is integral to understanding the abuses and identifying how best to advocate for change.

Could you give an overview of the updates?

New features and enhancements allow Martus users to:

  1. Import forms from github.io/forms for customizable data input
  2. Import multiple encrypted records at once
  3. Export data as unencrypted files in two additional formats: .csv and .json

How do today’s updates empower human rights organizations to collect and analyze data?

The updates allow anyone to easily create their own customizable forms for data collection. This will help human right organization/s and activists to standardize data collection across their organization/s and make sure that the data collected is complete, making it usable in legal proceedings.

Further, we have added two additional formats for data export to make data analysis much easier with external tools. This empowers organizations and activists to use their favorite tools to understand and analyze data to obtain insights and take further action.

The data import functionality allows for a frustration free experience in transferring Martus accounts to different devices.

Can you provide an example of how today’s updates will aid an organization in its efforts around data collection and analysis?

Consider a human rights organization fighting for LGBTI rights. Each day members of the organization speak to victims and document findings using paper questionnaires or a simple Word documents. Those documents are then stored in a binder or computer file and never analyzed. That information is susceptible to confiscation, damage, or simply neglect. If or when the organization decides to analyze the data to identify similar cases or incidents, such as geographic and demographic similarities, it will be time intensive and error prone due to the lack of data structure.

Using Martus, with the updates released today, the same organization can now easily create their own questionnaire and collect data on the violations. That data collection is streamlined and secured through advanced encryption. The data can then be shared and analyzed to answer questions and to inform future activities. Now, instead of sitting on a shelf, the valuable insights collected by those fighting for LGBTI rights can be used to give the vulnerable a voice and to advocate for change.

For more information on Martus 5.2.0 visit: https://www.martus.org/