'Technology in Service of Humanity': Facebook and the Satellite Sentinel Project

“Anyone wanting to join forces and keep updated with what is happening in Sudan with a focus on Southern Sudan -- this is a great project aiming at saving lives,” Kenya’s Kim Rune recently wrote on the Satellite Sentinel Project’s (SSP) Facebook page.

SSP's website averages about 50,000 unique visitors per month from 80 countries. In addition, the project's Facebook page has drawn fans from 19 countries who speak 17 languages. About half of SSP's Facebook followers hail from the United States; most of the remainder come from Sudan, Egypt, Kenya, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, India, Australia, the Netherlands, Italy, Denmark, France, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, Sweden, Japan, Switzerland, and Pakistan.

Facebook fans offer insightful comments and seem enthusiastic and hopeful about the potential of the Satellite Sentinel Project—a first-of-its-kind collaboration between Not On Our Watch, the Enough Project, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, commercial satellite imagery provider DigitalGlobe, Google, and web strategy firm Trellon, LLC. SSP's goals are to prevent a return to full-scale war between Sudan and South Sudan and to detect, deter, interdict and document mass atrocities along the border between the two nations.

“People laugh at notions of high-tech humanitarianism,” comments Yun Kyung Gal. She adds, “The folks at Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) are so awesome! Reading the warning signs of atrocities and crisis from space!”

HHI takes the lead on tasking the satellites, analyzing the imagery, and writing the reports, with additional analysis from DigitalGlobe. The Enough Project provides field reporting, policy analysis, and communications strategy.

Bintou Julius Bintu of Juba says, “Combining satellite imagery analysis and field reports with Google’s Map Maker technology to deter the resumption of full-scale war between Sudan and South Sudan, the Sentinel Project is greatly contributing to peace in SUDALAND.”

“The term Sudaland refers to the land occupied by ‘what used to be the Sudan,’” explains Bintu. “It in other words means the divided Sudan. Sudaland includes areas of the independent South Sudan, the three war-torn states of Darfur and the remaining twelve states of North Sudan.”

“This is amazing,” agrees Bob West of Los Angeles. “Why should superpowers be the only ones with satellite vision? Satellite Sentinel allows private citizens to see what’s happening on the ground deep inside territories ravaged by war criminals, and to put pressure on governments to intercede. The project was conceived by George Clooney. Seriously.”

“Join George Clooney's Satellite Sentinel Project page that shows you real ground activity and helps you to become involved,” urges human rights activist Joanie Johnson Dingess.

“Technology in service of humanity,” sums up Mokonzi Uhuru Kemal Mwinyi.

For the latest updates, follow SSP on Facebook.