What is Ushahidi?
Ushahidi is a non-profit technology company that specializes in developing free and open source software for crowdsourcing, visualization, and interactive mapping. We build tools for democratizing information, increasing transparency and lowering the barriers for individuals to share their stories.
Ushahidi started as an ad hoc group of technologists and bloggers hammering out software in a couple days, trying to figure out a way to gather more and better information about the post-election violence in Kenya in January 2008. Since then, the Ushahidi platform has gone open source, and due to it being free, is now being utilized by organizations big and small all over the world.
Ushahidi has shown what a small team of dedicated people can do, leveraging technology to impact and create change all over the globe.
How has Ushahidi changed the political and social scene in Kenya and in the other countries where it’s been implemented?
We have been disruptive in the crowdsourcing space and in showcasing the potential of technology in circumventing traditional hierarchies as far as information collection, visualization and dissemination.
How did digital technologies best meet your needs, rather than the traditional avenues of publication and dissemination?
Digital technologies offer the possibility of integration of various streams, ability to get up and running in a low cost way, and the possibility of reaching a much wider audience.
What is it about the Web that makes it an effective platform for influence?
It’s accessibility, low barriers to publication of information, the ability to be who you are.
What can’t the Web do to change attitudes and behaviours?
The Web can’t change attitudes and behaviors - it can influence, but it’s individuals who change.
In which regions, sectors and social structures will we see the greatest and most radical change effected by the Web in 10 years?
No question, Africa.