Ushahidi one of the Knight News Challenge Winners for 2009

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Ushahidi is extremely excited to be one of the Knight News Challenge Winners for 2009!

We have received a grant in the amount of $70,000 to allow us to focus on testing and building partnerships in Kenya, where the idea of Ushahidi was born.

We at Ushahidi have undertaken to maintain a special commitment to Kenya, not just because of the origins of Ushahidi but also because we believe our long-term involvement in implementations and testing in Kenya will allow us to continue to improve the platform both technically and in terms of its on the ground impact.

In addition, we will be able to test what opportunities Ushahidi as a platform can unlock when there are multiple iterations of Ushahidi operating within a particular geographic area and when familiarity of Ushahidi within a specific community begins to grow over-time.

We have adopted, Ken Bank’s mantra’s of “If we build it, they will come” to grow Ushahidi, it is now time to move to the next level – we are building, they are coming, are they getting what they need from us?

4 Responses to “Ushahidi one of the Knight News Challenge Winners for 2009”

  1. beles

    The work at Ushahidi will help shape the future for the better by involving people who are directly affected by events. The strength of Ushahidi lies on it’s openness. Not only code wise but it’s reach. there is nothing that is an isolated incident in this world. Especially in this age of technology however minuscule it is events are interconnected and influence each other.
    That is why making Ushahidi to focus only about Kenya is counter productive and will result in a less efficient system. It should be left to pave it’s own way and grow naturally with out any constraints.
    For example there are a lot of refugees in Kenya from neighboring countries. There is a lot of corruption and abuse in the system that contributes to the social evils in the Kenyan society. The events in the countries where the refugees came from has a direct bearing on events in Kenya. A human rights abuse in Uganda results in corruption in Kenya.
    That is why it would be an interesting project if the Ushahidi team leaves the system open to any one who is interested to use it. True one can create an Ushahidi server any where. But that would not show the true reach and consequences of the incident.
    I think the collaborative works of many crowd sourced projects such as wikipedia can be a very good example for Ushahidi.
    I think the technical team should only strengthen it’s wings and let Ushahidi fly where ever the wind takes it. Do not restrict it’s movement but make it strong to withstand any abuse.
    It is true if you build it they will come. But when they come don’t tell them this is only for Kenyans.

  2. Dear Beles, thank you for your comment. I think you have misunderstood the post. Ushahidi will always remain open to anyone who wants to use it, not just for Kenyans. We will just work more closely with Kenyan projects to TEST and work to improve the platform.

  3. beles

    Hi Oky, Thanks for for the reply
    I am aware that any one can download and start an Ushahidi server. But not all communities where crisis occur have a person or organization with the means to deploy an Ushahidi instance. what i was pitching for was to have Ushahidi as center where all types of crisis from anywhere can be reported and aggregated. Managing an Ushahidi instance needs a considerable technical knowledge which is beyond the ability of an average user.
    What we learn from the success of wikipedia and other projects is that the most successful crowd sourced projects are those require the user to have very little technical knowledge and do not set boundary.
    But more over what makes so compelling to have an Ushahidi instance where all crisis can be reported is that most crisis are interconnected. Crisis waves that has completely different origin can resonate and become bigger crisis or defuse each other. Having one repository for all crisis will help us to visualize the interaction between this Crisis and devise a more effective remedy. Disconnected Ushahidi instances will not allow us to see this interaction between crisis.

    Besides having all this crisis at one places will not in any way reduce the effectiveness of the testing ground. In fact the development will have much more feedback therefore benefit from it.

    for example there has been an ongoing cross border conflict in north west Kenya and southern Ethiopia around lake Turkana and Omo region. It is a conflict that is displayed prominently on Horn of Africa’s Conflict Early Warning and Response Network http://WWW.cewarn.org/. The potential for further conflict just went up because of construction of massive dams on the Omo river.But this conflict is yet to register on the radars of Ushahidi though it is a Kenyan problem. I do not think this is a lack of interest by the general public.

    Granted the resources requirement to accommodate this added burden will be considerable. But I have yet to see an idea that has a potential to affect so many being derailed by lack of resources. If it is important, it always finds a way to resources as long as it is allowed to grow naturally with out any constraints.
    I am aware that this suggestion probably adds or alters the scope of Ushahidi, but not it’s goal.

  4. congrats for your win.was just surfing and bumped into your site.will revist to see what you all about.all the best.