On 11 November at the iHub in Nairobi and streamed online, Ushahidi and iHub Research will present research projects that are currently underway, talk about the role of research at Ushahidi and the iHub, and extend an invitation to the research community to participate in a discussion about how we might collaborate in the future.
With over 20,000 deployments and growing, Ushahidi has become a rich resource to study crowdsourcing, online communities and the use of technology tools by the humanitarian relief, local government and election observation communities (to name a few). Ushahidi’s sister project, the iHub in Nairobi, is a similarly rich area of study – supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in Nairobi and setting an example of African leadership in the development of local technology solutions.
Both organisations have a small research arm – with Ushahidi focusing on questions around how Ushahidi deployers manage verification, how other open online communities like Wikipedia manage and debate sources, as well as patterns in Crowdmap deployment data. iHub Research, on the other hand, is looking at questions around the impact of ICT hub communities on members, how Nairobi cyber cafes are managing to remain profitable while the cost of Internet access has declined, as well as how mobile apps might offer a way to increase citizen participation in government and as a tool for more effective public service delivery.
As open source organisations committed to the communities we serve, Ushahidi and iHub Research are using this seminar as an opportunity to engage with the research community on areas of common interest. We will present the highlights of our research, cover issues around the role of research in our organisations, the methods that we’re using, the challenges that we face and the things we’re learning. We’ll then open it up to the audience for questions and comments on how we might collaborate in the future. Speakers include Jessica Colaço, Angela Crandall from iHub Research and Heather Ford and Patrick Meier from Ushahidi, as well as Ushahidi Research Intern, Maria Grabowski Kjær.
If you’re interested in joining the conversation, please sign up at the Meetup group and join the Ushahidi research mailing list to introduce yourself and your research interests so that we have a better idea of who we all are and where our collective interests lie. Otherwise, we’ll see you at 16:00 EAT on 11 November!
Maria Grabowski Kjær, Ushahidi Research Intern, is a MSc student in Social Anthropology at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. In her current field study, Maria explores how users of Ushahidi communicate, organize and mobilize as a network online, and how this type of ‘cyberactivism’ propagates to people on the ground. Maria writes for Global Voices Online and also contributes to the monthly Global Voices Podcast. She is the web editor of a Danish environmental organisation, Forests of the World, that fights for sustainable use of the world’s forests. Maria’s fundamental interest is in people and society, social change and human rights – and her passion is to document in photo and sound.