POLITICS

Transforming the information flow

Ushahidi (“testimony” in Swahili) was first developed to map reports of violence in Kenya after the post-election fallout in 2008. The site has grown to become an important resource for citizen journalists in times of crisis such as the Haiti earthquake. The Ushahidi platform provides tools for communities to crowdsource real-time information using SMS, email, and Twitter. It is one of the best non-profit tech companies that specializes in developing free and open source software for information collection, visualization and interactive mapping; while also building tools for democratizing information, increasing transparency and lowering the barriers for individuals to share their stories. Without doubt, Ushahidi is a disruptive organization that is willing to take risks in the pursuit of changing the traditional way that information flows.

Their roots are in the collaboration of Kenyan citizen journalists during a time of crisis. The original website was used to map incidents of violence and peace efforts throughout the country based on reports submitted via the web and mobile phones. This website quickly had 45.000 users in Kenya, and was the catalyst for them realizing there was a need for a platform based on it, which could be used by others around the world. Since early 2008 they have grown from an ad hoc group of volunteers to a focused organization. Their current team is comprised of individuals with a wide span of experience ranging from human rights work to software development; they have also built a strong team of volunteer developers primarily in Africa, but also Europe, South America and the U.S.

Ushahidi_website

Web site: http://www.ushahidi.com/

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In action: Haiti