Frequently Asked Questions

Who is behind Ushahidi?

The Ushahidi platform is a collaborative project created by volunteers and managed by a core team. Most of the development team comes from different countries in Africa, including Kenya, Ghana, South Africa and Malawi. We also have contributors in the US and Europe. The core team is made up of Ory Okolloh, Erik Hersman, David Kobia and Juliana Rotich who originally started Ushahidi in Kenya in their free time, and have since moved to work on the platform full-time. (Founder bios)

What is Ushahidi?

“Ushahidi” was the original name of the web mash-up we built in response to the 2008 post-election violence in Kenya. Shortly thereafter, “Ushahidi” the company was formed as we started to turn the original web mash-up into an open source platform. The name “Ushahidi” now refers to the company and our flagship platform is now called the “Ushahidi Platform”.

Why did you build the platform?

The core platform is built on the premise that gathering crisis information from the general public provides new insights into events happening in near real-time. It is also expected to help organizations marshal efforts to assist areas that are not well covered in the mainstream media.

How and why did Ushahidi start

“Ushahidi”, which means “testimony” in Swahili, was a website that was initially developed to map reports of violence in Kenya after the post-election fallout at the beginning of 2008. Since then, the name “Ushahidi” has come represent the people behind the “Ushahidi Platform”. Our roots are in the collaboration of Kenyan citizen journalists during a time of crisis. The original website was used to map incidents of violence and peace efforts throughout the country based on reports submitted via the web and mobile phone. This website had 45,000 users in Kenya, and was the catalyst for us realizing there was a need for a platform based on it, which could be use by others around the world.

Since early 2008 we have grown from an ad hoc group of volunteers to a focused organization. The team is comprised of individuals with a wide span of experience ranging from human rights work to software development. We have also built a strong team of volunteer developers primarily in Africa, but also Europe, South America and the U.S.

What does Ushahidi mean?

“Ushahidi” is the Swahili word which means, “testimony”.

Where is the company based?

We are first and foremost a virtual organization, with team members hailing from across the globe. On the technical side of things, the company is a registered Florida 501 3 C non-profit organization.

Who does Ushahidi plan to help specifically?

Organizations, companies and individuals needing information collection tools and channels for encouraging participation.

What is the driving force behind Ushahidi?

The idea that people can report what they see and for that information to be available online. That a world class company creating software can arise from Africa.

How can others get involved with Ushahidi’s work?

If you are driven to make an impact on the world, and would like to contribute your skills to the Ushahidi Platform, consider yourself an Ushahidian and join us. Learn more here.