There are times, like today, when I stand amazed at the number of people – hailing from so many different circles – that throw their support behind Ushahidi at every turn. Today we heard that Ushahidi is a finalist in the 2009 WeMedia Gamechangers Awards. A couple Twitter messages out to some people we know and in about an hour there was already 25 votes and comments, leading all contenders. Unreal!

The same applies for our proposal into the USAID mobile phone challenge happening on NetSquared. We submitted the new Ushahidi push into even more mobile work, and before you knew it we were topping the charts on stars and comments.

Community is Drives Ushahidi

The takeaway from this for us is just a re-affirmation of what we already were aware of through beginning stages of building Ushahidi back in January and February in Kenya. That is, the community support is what makes it move, sink or float.

The developers are the part of the community that donate their time and brain power to solving some fairly difficult challenges and making the platform actually work. They are experts in everything from Java to PHP, mapping to API development.

The designers make it look good, and ensure that the user experience is both simple and useful.

There are content and branding experts who help us write content, and force us to refine the message and branding.

Finally, there are the great number that I call our greater community of support that are fervent followers and champions of Ushahidi in their circles of influence. They are the ones who open doors to conferences, meetings, partnerships, media and funding that we never could have done on our own.

In truth, Ushahidi does not belong to me, Ory, David or Juliana – it belongs to you. In a way, we’re just the curators. There is a reason why it’s a free and open source project… not just the software either. :)

To YOU, the community, we say a heartfelt “thank you”.

[Update: Just got word that a podcast interview that I did with Clark Boyd of The World/BBC is up. My part starts about 1/3 of the way in.)