Next Gen Philanthropy Forum

It was an honor to represent Ushahidi at The Next Generation Philanthropy Forum in London, where I gave a brief presentation on Ushahidi’s genesis, current activities and future plans. It is very encouraging to meet experts in Social Media, Diplomacy and Technology, who are already aware of the Ushahidi platform and its potential. A recording of the webcast will be available soon on the Legatum Institute website. Meanwhile, you can read a great summary of the talk from Anthony Mayfield of icrossing. (Thank you so much Anthony!)

It was a great opportunity to learn about the inner workings of the philanthropic community, Legatum funded programs and the issues around measuring impact. The keynote by Jared Cohen was definitely a highlight for many, his positive and inspiring outlook on the power of technology to help communities participate online and solve problems was infectious. I would highly recommend watching the video of him as soon as it is released on the Legatum website.

I was fortunate to have a conversation with Michael Green, c0-author of Philanthro-Capitalism: How giving can save the world. We talked briefly about mobile money and how it could change aid delivery. Think of Kiva using M-Pesa as part of its operations, or philanthopists setting up direct channels for disbursing money. It was interesting to think of the ramifications of technology for NGOs at large. Speaking of mobile money, it was interesting to learn from Jared Cohen that an M-Pesa like system of mobile money is currently being used in Afghanistan to pay soldiers, and the idea is currently being replicated in DRC. (Both are difficult places for physical movement of money and people). For Ushahidi this introduces the idea of one day adding a ‘mobile-money’ donation button onto the ‘How-to-help’ tab of Ushahidi, such that one day, when the ‘big bang of real time data’ does happen (if it hasn’t happened already), we can incorporate even more innovation to the field of crowd-sourcing crisis information.

Meanwhile, do keep reading our blog and following us on twitter, we have several announcements coming up, relevant to the collection of real time data in Kenya and improvements to the Ushahidi platform.

Our sincere thanks to The Legatum Institute for including us in the event, and many thanks to the panelists and presenters for sharing the knowledge.

More Links:

- 2009 Legatum Prosperity Index

- The Legatum MIT Center (Interested entrepreneurs should apply for seed grants -Deadline November 19th 2009)

- icrossing – A digital Marketing Agency. Anthony Mayfield’s talk will be of particular interest to those interested in social media, I greatly enjoyed his presentation.

- Newdea – The Measurement and Monitoring Platform

- Geneva Capital – Consulting and advice for philanthropists.

- Invisible Children

- The US Department of State

- The Steven Levy article on Wired about Twitter (I made a brief reference to this during the talk, asking whether the ‘the pulse of  the planet’ should include the developing world, and platforms that aggregate real-time data)