Making All Voices Count

Ushahidi Uchaguzi community meet up
Brainstorming session at a Ushahidi community meetup at the iHub in Nairobi, on strategies for Uchaguzi, 2013 Kenya General Election deployment.

Ushahidi is delighted to be part of the consortium, together with Hivos and IDS, which has been selected to manage the Making All Voices Count: A Grand Challenge for Development (MAVC) fund.

MAVC brings together Sweden, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and Omidyar Network (ON) to create a $45 million fund to support innovation, scaling-up, and research that will deepen existing innovations and help harness new technologies to enable citizen engagement and government responsiveness.

At Ushahidi we focus on creating technology tools that have both depth and reach. We understand that that to be able to create those tools we need to develop ecosystems that encourage innovation; that allow us to build quality products while maintaining the nimbleness and speed necessary to be able to lead in our industry. With our partners in MAVC we have the opportunity to create, support and grow the technology ecosystem in 12 countries. We will work to support organisations and individuals in those countries to create and execute strategies and tools to positively impact each other and their governments. We will work to develop, strengthen and implement strategies for governments to become more efficient in how they connect with the citizens, for example through opening government data in meaningful ways.

The first Ushahidi map was created in just 6 days to address a problem that needed an immediate solution. Some very successful Ushahidi maps have been running for over 3 years (and counting). From this we learn that each Ushahidi deployment is unique. The problem a Ushahidi map addresses, the opportunity a Ushahidi map seizes are unique to the circumstances in the country and community the deployment is covering. We also learn that each Ushahidi deployment is the same, making voices count for impact. We appreciate that each of the 12 countries that MAVC will work in is unique. By bringing the unique experiences and lessons from all 12 countries together we will discover what we have in common as we learn from each other on how to amplify the voices in our communities.

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