Ushahidi‘s name means “testimony”, which is fitting. The peacebuilding organization creates software that allows individuals to share their “testimonies” about events in order that other people may become better informed. These “testimonies” can be used to keep track of outbreaks of violence, as was the case after the election in Kenya in 2008. They can also be used to map where relief efforts are needed, such as after the earthquake in Nepal earlier this year. So far, Ushahidi has received over 6.5 million “testimonies” through their programs. In this way, Ushahidi is accomplishing their goal of “creating technology that solves global problems.”
Ushahidi’s crowdsourcing software is applicable to many industries, only one of which is peacebuilding. These industries include human rights, environmental activism, humanitarian aid, and development on the international level, among others. Their software contains multiple features, including collecting and managing the “testimonies”, or data, presenting the data in a visual format, and alerting users to changes in the data. The open source code software also allows users to create their own branding. In addition to creating the software, Ushahidi will also work with users to train them and provides technical support.
In addition to their crowdsourcing software, Ushahidi has several other products. For example, RollCall allows members of team to contact each other on any and make sure that each member is okay, which is particularly useful in crisis situations. CrisisNet, on the other hand, allows people who have collected data on crisis situations an easy way to format and analyze their data. This allows journalists, analysts, and others to get the information they need from the data more quickly. In turn, this allows them to spread information about the crisis in a more time-efficient manner. To learn more about Ushahidi, their crowdsourcing software, and their other products, visit their website.
Sources: QuakeMap Cast Study; Ushahidi
Photo: Peace via Steve Rotman [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]