Towards a Safer City

Measuring the effectiveness of crowdsourced data

This study compares the Harassmap data with a quantitative analysis of the data collected based on 450 questionnaires (300 complete by women and 150 by men) distributed evenly between six administrative units of Greater Cairo and a qualitative analysis of the data collected based on 48 (30 female and 18 male) focus group discussions (FGDs) conducted. The FGD provided an open forum for participants to discuss sexual harassment, giving the researchers insight into how they perceive the phenomenon. Thematic analysis and qualitative case-oriented open coding were employed to study the data.

"The Ushahidi map is an effective tool for data collection for sensitive issues, encouraging more participation and sometimes more truthful reports than other typical data collection means."

Key findings:

  • 95.3% of female respondents reported having been harassed in the past, most commonly during the afternoon either on the streets (81.4%) or on public transport (14.8%).
  • Results showed that sexual harassment has a significant psychological effect on the harassed, with 81.8% of respondents reporting feeling upset or disgusted by their experience.
  • Different types of harassment were reported more commonly depending on the approach employed with forms such as catcalls and ogling most common in the IDIs and forms such as touching, physical assault and rape more frequent in the Map reports.
  • Harassment was reported as occurring at broadly similar rates in the morning, afternoon and evening (although rarely at night) the Map data, while the vast majority of cases were reported as occurring in the afternoon or evening in the field data.  
  • The Map narratives exhibited a recurring four part structure characterised by 1) a set-up of the scene, 2) details of the harassment itself, 3) the response of the harassed individual, and 4) the moral. Longer narratives sometimes, but not always, included this fourth element of the moral, which offered public comments on harassment in Egypt in General. This structure was not seen in the IDIs where shorter question and answer exchanges were more common than extended narratives.
  • Explicitly sexual language was found in the Map reports than in the interviews where euphemisms and vaguer language were generally favoured.
  • Details of the responses taken by the harassed were scarce in the short Map reports however in longer reports descriptions of the reaction taken were often longer than the description of the sexual harassment event itself. In the IDIs, few details about the responses taken by the harassed were included and the harassment tended to be minimised.
  • Fuller and more comprehensive reports were received via the Map than in the interviews which may suggest that people are more willing to speak about the issue online than in person. This may represent a major advantage of the Map over traditional methods. The Map offers a space where individuals can speak relatively freely and anonymously, although the Map is not a perfect method for data collection as a great deal of information was lacking in the Map data set.
  • Our findings broadly support the hypothesis that the Map is an effective tool for data collection for sensitive issues despite its limitations.




focus group discussions


percent of female respondents had been harassed in the past