Ushahidi Saves Lives

Julianna Rotich –

Ushahidi is a small organization that developed in Kenya as a platform to allow people to anonymously report violence and other misdeeds by posting on common mapping software. The ideal came from Ory Okolloh, a Kenyan lawyer and blogger based in South African. Okolloh had returned to Kenya to vote in and observe the disputed election of 2007. While there she received threats about her humanitarian work and returned to South Africa. That’s when she came up with the idea. Ushahidi, which means testimony is Swahili, was used to collect cell phone generated reports of riots, stranded refugees, rapes, and deaths on a map by the user.

Ushahidi has expanded to include allowing people to use it as a crisis map in natural disasters, track votes in the Indian elections, and follow medicine shortages. Ushahidi was a humanitarian force used in the Haitian and Chilean earthquakes.

Ushahidi is designed to be able to adapt to any particular crisis. Victims of disasters anywhere can text message relief organizations.

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