Women living in Mathare - one of Nairobi’s largest informal settlements - are commonly the targets of assault, mugging and rape as they go about their daily activities. These threats are greatest outside of daylight hours, but women must often travel very early in the day or late in the evening as they commute to and from work, school, the market or community latrines.

To help address the security problem for residents of Mathare, we are developing Makmende, a system of community foot patrols that will escort women along their daily commute. Using mobile technology to disseminate real-time information about the location of patrols, we seek to coordinate the formation of citizen-led walking groups that will escort women safely to their final destinations.

The project is in its early piloting stage, and our next steps over the summer are to meet with our partners in the Kenyan police force and local citizen safety committees to identify the appropriate people in Mathare to act as patrol leaders. Working with community members, we hope to have an early pilot up and running by later this year.

We believe that this project has great potential not only to improve the physical safety of women in Mathare, but also, by expanding the number of hours that they are able to securely travel outside the home, to improve their freedom of movement and general peace of mind.

Our Team:

Nan Zhang is a student at the law school and a PhD candidate in the Political Science Department at Stanford University. He is interested in issues of governance, political culture and economic development, as well as the role information technology plays in social coordination.

Ray Gilstrap is a PhD student in electrical engineering at Stanford University. His research interests are high-performance computer networks, wireless networking, space communications, and network accessibility in remote locations.

Margaret Hagan is finishing her 1L year at Stanford Law School. She holds a PhD in International Politics from Queen's University Belfast, and draws avidly in her spare time.

Clare Bennett is graduating with a BA in Product Development through the Science Technology and Society Program at Stanford University. She will be working as a Interaction designer and spends her free time trying to democratize fashion design and is a foreign language enthusiast.