We’re thrilled to announce that on February 28th, Ushahidi was a winner of the inaugural Shield in the Cloud Competition for innovative technologies combating corruption. The challenge was put on by C5, and supported by PeaceTech Lab, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and SAP NS2. A dinner to announce the awards was held at C5’s PeaceTech Accelerator located at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, DC.

Ushahidi won the Shield in the Cloud award for the Non Profit category, and was one of five organization recognized. Others included Mark Labs, MyndGenie, Pole Star - PurpleTRAC, and Transparency International Ukraine - ProZorro.Sale.

We’d like to say thank you - it’s an honor to be recognized. We’ve been working hard over the past 10 years to provide a resilient technology that can be used to fight corruption, increase transparency, and strengthen accountability around the globe.

 Ushahidi deployments enable any citizen with a phone or computer to report on corruption, violence, human rights abuses, threats to public safety, lacking accountability, and other subject areas depending upon the focus of the project. These reports are managed and structured by the owner of the deployment on a single platform that can be filtered, sorted, searched, and then visualized on map, timeline, and activity views. The reports can then be routed to inform response by the organizations or escalated to appropriate authorities tasked with responding.  The platform is designed and hosted as a cloud enabled web-based application that is scalable across projects and sectors, and is not constrained by geography.

 We’d also like to highlight some documented impact of the use of the Ushahidi platform. For instance, in the 2013 Kenyan election deployment, Uchaguzi, of the respondents who reported an incident using Uchaguzi, nearly three quarters said that the incident reported was resolved. In addition, in the 2011 Nigerian Election, an academic study showed that the Ushahidi election monitoring deployment contributed directly to an increased voter turnout by 8 percent.

 A deployment of the Ushahidi platform called HarassMap launched in 2010 was also used to mobilize change in Egypt. This deployment of the Ushahidi software was run by a non-profit organization called HarassMap focused on combating sexual street violence and abuse. The project utilized the Ushahidi software as a crowdsourced education and reporting platform for tracking sexual harassment against women. The platform was anonymous and after sending a report to the platform, women received encouragement, safety tips, and instructions on how to file a police report. HarassMap was one of the earliest initiatives to work on sexual harassment in Egypt, and the only initiative established prior to the Egyptian revolution. HarassMap combined the cloud based Ushahidi multimodal platform, research, mass media and communications campaigns, and around 1,000 on-the-ground community mobilization volunteers in 17 governorates across Egypt, in order to convince people to stand up to sexual harassment and assault. The initiative was able to show citizens the scale of the problem and to dispel myths about, and excuses for, sexual harassment throughout Egypt. For its work, the initiative also won the UN World Summit Youth Award for “Power 2 Women!” Additionally, an independent review of HarassMap concluded that the Ushahidi Map is an effective tool for data collection for sensitive issues, encouraging more participation, and sometimes more truthful reports than other typical data collection means.

 Another prime example of the Ushahidi platform being used to combat corruption is a past deployment in Zimbabwe called, “I Paid The Bribe.” The deployment was used to aggregate local and global news articles to map incidents of bribery in Zimbabwe, increase awareness of the problem, and enhance transparency. Citizens were able to report on the nature, number, pattern, types, location, frequency and values of actual corrupt acts, via the web-based platform, in addition to email and SMS. The project aimed to quantify petty corruption by understanding the role of bribery in public service delivery. These reports were used to argue for improving governance systems and procedures, tightening law enforcement and regulation, and reducing the scope for corruption in government services.

As part of the Shield in the Cloud award, Ushahidi has been accepted into the C5’s Peace Tech Accelerator located at the U.S. Institute of Peace. We look forward to sharing more information as we learn more.

Finally, a huge congratulations to all of those organizations that were recognized for their efforts in developing innovative ways to fight corruption around the world last Tuesday. You all comprise an impressive group of peers and we’re proud to be standing with you as part of the Peace Tech movement.