The United Nations Department of Field Services (UN DFS), the peacekeeping operations, have been using Ushahidi to run their UN Situational Awareness and Geospatial (SAGE) program over the past five years. The UN SAGE software, powered by Ushahidi, is the incident reporting and situational awareness tool used to manage day-to-day activities across five countries where the UN blue hats are deployed to keep the peace in places like Mali, Haiti, South Sudan, Lebanon, and the DRC. It’s pretty incredible to wake up every day and go to work, and realize that the software you are building is helping keep peace in some of the most fraught places in the world. Think about it. This software, created by four Kenyans to crowdsource incident reports to understand what is happened on the ground, is now the primary tool used by the UN blue-hat peacekeeping operations for this same purpose -- to keep the peace. Ushahidi is all about helping keep the peace.

The UN team reported that they use the Ushahidi platform so that their field staff can report back to HQ throughout the day. These incident reports are sent from across the span of field operations, and the HQ uses them to make informed decisions and direct movement and activities of field teams accordingly. According to the UN DFS, on average 100 incidents or posts are reported a day in each country where SAGE is in use.

An independent report on technology in the UN, titled An Expert Panel Done on Technology and Innovation in UN Peacekeeping, recommend that the Ushahidi-based platform UN SAGE be expanded because, ‘peacekeeping requires a more structured and integrated approach to data collection, processing and dissemination to help maximize the use of GIS products and other data visualization.’”

Further, this same report highlighted an important issue that we see all too often in the technology for international development sector — reinventing the wheel. Often due to funding structures and broken procurement structures, organizations are constantly incentivized to build new solutions instead of using existing software solutions. The report noted this cyclical issue and recommended standardization using the Ushahidi platform: “SAGE stands for Situational Awareness Geospatial Enterprise. It is software based on the Ushahidi platform for incident tracking and visualization. SAGE is used in many but not all UN missions and is currently being upgraded. Over the years, different field missions have developed different data management systems—including Integrated Text and Event Management (ITEM) in MONUSCO, Geographic Incident Analysis Tool (GIANT) in Sudan, System of Incident Reports (SOIR) in Lebanon, and SMART in Liberia—sometimes “reinventing the wheel” in different parts of the world. It is therefore appropriate to standardize a platform across missions while allowing sufficient flexibility for them to customize the interface and reporting process."

Ushahidi is incredibly proud of the UN DFS’s use of our software. It’s an honor to know that the UN, the governing body of all the world’s nations put in place after World War II to keep peace globally, uses Ushahidi on a daily basis to keep that peace.

Other organizations interested in learning how the use and scale the Ushahidi platform across their activities are welcomed to reach out, or seek additional information here: