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Amplifying Witness Voices

Wherever they are, with whatever technology they have at hand

The Whistle is an academic start-up based at the University of Cambridge. We develop digital tools to connect witnesses of human rights violations to advocacy organizations

Connecting Data with Action

With the rise of smart phones and social media, more people can document and report human rights abuses. In order to best amplify the voices of witnesses, human rights organizations must gain access to these materials through secure, and simple and trustworthy technology. 

That’s where The Whistle comes in. As an interdisciplinary team of sociologists, technologists, and industry experts, we work for and with our local partners to create a products that areis appropriate, useful, and needed within the community. 

Currently, we are working on cases with  four partners in different parts of the world: Global Rights Nigeria, End Everyday Racism, Humans for Rights Network, and Supply Chain Organizing Coalition. 

How The Whistle works

The Whistle helps witnesses and advocacy organisations document violations such as sexual violence, racism and abuses in the workplace and at refugee camps.

A Reporting Interface

An easy-to-use web/mobile form that enables witnesses to report human rights violations to advocacy organisations and that directs them to supportive resources

A Dashboard

A dashboard for advocacy organisations that allows case workers to view, analyze, verify and comment on reports.


Slow tech

We believe that one size does not fit all. Through long-term collaborations with local partners, we ensure that our system is useful to the community that it serves and that its design aligns with the values of our partners’ projects. 

Research informing design

The Whistle is committed to reflexive research. By thinking and writing critically about our own work as sociologists and technologists, we aim to advance sociological thought on the intersections between technology and human rights.  Our product design process is a methodological approach that serves a dual purpose: informing the tools that we build and underpinning theoretical developments in the areas of the sociology of human rights, the sociology of technology and the sociology of knowledge.

An interdisciplinary team

The team behind The Whistle — made up of academics, researchers, product designers, and engineers —brings interdisciplinary expertise to the project.


Dr Ella McPherson

Founder & Principal Investigator



Isabel Guenette Thornton

Product Lead

Matt Mahmoudi

Program Lead

Devika Ranjan

Communications Manager

Louis Slater

Engineering Lead

Tom Berman

Engineer