Random Hacks of Kindness: Kenya

Erik Hersman
Jun 5, 2010

[This is from my welcome message to the Random Hacks of Kindness participants in Nairobi, Kenya. A 2 day hackfest to solve tough technical problems in crisis and disaster response. Pictures. Live stream. Twitter, follow #RHoK or @iHubNairobi.]

Random Hacks of Kindness Nairobi Kenya RHoK

Welcome to the iHub. This place was created for hackers to come together and make cool stuff. As you can tell, it's brand new with construction still under way. However, we've had a fair number of events happen here. I can say that I've never been so proud as to hold an event here as I am of this one. You represent the spirit of everything that the iHub and Ushahidi stand for. Jessica Colaco and Linda Kamau lead the Ushahidi and iHub teams for this event. They, along with David, Joshua, Lillian and Angie put this together and will be available to you over the weekend for any questions. Thank you for coming.

Pothole theory

pothole theory Think of this when you build: you care about the pothole on your street, not the one 3 streets over. What fits your needs? What makes sense? What would you and your friends use? That's what we did right here in Kenya 2 years ago with Ushahidi. Ushahidi, as we all know means "testimony" in Swahili. It's a simple web-based platform that allows anyone with a phone, email or the web to send in messages about what's going on around them in a time. We call this crowdsourcing crisis information. Here's a video of how it worked in Haiti recently.

Ushahidi Haiti from Ushahidi on Vimeo.

There's a problem definition for Random Hacks about human sensing. If everything else looks too simple, take a look at it, and then at SwiftRiver, built to solve some of these same issues. SwiftRiver solutions

What is RHoK?

Some of you don't know quite what to expect today, tonight and tomorrow. It kind of sounds cool, but really, what is this whole thing about? Let me tell you. 6 countries 6 continents doing RHoK It's not just you. We're just the Nairobi pod of this global event that brings together almost 1000 programmers, designers and geeks from 6 nations: Australia, England, Indonesia, Brasil, America and of course Kenya. It's not just you. You'll be teaming up with others in this room to come up with simple solutions to complex problems. A lot can be done in 48 hours, imagine what you can do with a few other people just as dedicated as you are. It's not just you. The problems you're solving are for the world. The best apps and hacks are those that effect millions of people. Because, at the end of the day, Random Hacks is about solving big global crisis and disaster problems, using the power of technology. You might think that you're just laying down a simple line of code. This isn't the case. You are building applications that saves lives, speed recovery and something that just might make the world a better place.

Problem Definitions:

RHoK problem definitions

WeHaveWeNeed Application

Information Sharing/Situational Awareness Application

Haiti AMP

Coordinated Response/Diaspora


Credibility of the Human Sensor

Near Real-Time UAV Imagery Processing


The money tracker