New and Emerging Forms of Violence Data for Crisis Response: A Comparative Analysis in Kenya

The project will produce a robust evidence base on the opportunities and limitations of social media data on violence reporting to inform UK emergency and crisis response, in the context of violence monitoring in Kenya.

Effective UK Government crisis and emergency response increasingly depends on the availability of timely, reliable data on political violence, to determine the scale and dimensions of crises and tailor responses. While social media reports of violence can inform the design, targeting, and geography of crisis response, there is limited robust research on their reliability and comprehensiveness.

This project addresses this gap, by testing reliability and comprehensiveness of social media data, against conventional media reporting of violence in a real-time context: the August 2017 Kenyan elections. It will identify opportunities new data provide for policy, and what limitations restrict usability, along three dimensions: 1) reporting timeliness; 2) targeting of crisis response; and 3) geographies of violence risk. Building on extensive social media use in Kenya, and a history of violence reporting via social media the case facilitates a test of social media data in a promising context.

The project is being carried out in partnership with researchers at the University of Sussex, the Armed Conflict Location & Event Dataset (ACLED), and the Centre for Human Rights and Policy Studies (CHRIPS) in Nairobi, Kenya.

Key contacts

Photo of Patricia Justino, IDS Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction Research Fellow

T: +44 (0)1273 915752


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Gauthier Marchais, Research Fellow in the Conflict and Violence research cluster at IDS

T: +44 (0)1273 915731


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T: +44 (0)1273 915688


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Jeremy Lind

T: +44 (0)1273 915747


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Photo of Tony Roberts, IDS research fellow, Digital

T: +44 (0)1273 915642


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Partner researchers

Giuseppe Maggio
Project Dates:
February 2017 - February 2018
Project Status:
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Research Themes / Programmes:
Conflict, Violence and Security