Ushahidi has always made an effort to invest in innovation. It’s what led to the iHub, BRCK, New Knowledge, and others.

Last September we set about a process of crowdsourcing innovative ideas internally, we wrote about it here. We had over 50 ideas, some of which included a crisis preparedness Virtual reality game; think Pokemon Go meets zombies to make sure you know your earthquake evacuation plan. One product rose to the top and we invested in building a prototype. It’s called Dispatcher, a product focused on enabling people to give and get help in their communities, using machine learning to match resources with needs, whether that is lending a hand to move boxes or providing EMS services in the wake of an earthquake.

When an innovation proves that it’s going to thrive better on its own or that it’s mission is divergent from the core Ushahidi mission to help marginalized people raise their voice, we consider spinning it out of the core organization. Ushahidi and it’s staff has incubated and spun out non-profits such as the iHub, and the Standby Volunteer Task Force, and for-profit entities such as BRCK and New Knowledge.

Ushahidi is excited to announce that we have done it again! We are spinning out Dispatcher as its own entity. This will give Ushahidi the ability to continue its focus on the core platform, community, and our open source roots.

With this spin out also comes a leadership transition at Ushahidi. I, Nat, will spin out and lead Dispatcher as a new entity, and take on a new challenge to build this product and organization. Our own Angela Oduor Lungati, long time champion of our community and open source work, and current Director of Community Engagement, will take over the helm here at Ushahidi. Because Ushahidi means so much to me, I will transition to the advisory board and stay involved helping Angela and the team to achieve our goals, increase our impact, and continue to help marginalized people around the world raise their voice and get the help they need. One of the things that we are very proud of here is that Ushahidi is bigger than any one person, we have gone through multiple leadership changes, founder transitions, and rode the sine wave of being an innovative non-profit at the intersection of humanitarian, development, and the open source software movements. As such there will be a three months transition period through September in which Angela will work closely with me to collaboratively hand over the many important responsibilities of running this impactful organization as ED.

I can’t imagine a better person than Angela to lead this organization into the next evolution of Ushahidi. Angela is now the only person at Ushahidi who has been here longer than myself, as one staff member put it recently, “she is the heart and soul of Ushahidi.” I couldn’t agree more, there is no one who cares more about our users, our community, and our team than Angela. She has been an engineer, served as an important bridge between our product teams and our users, and maintaining a connection to our larger global community. I remember countless team retreats, video calls, and conversations where we could be discussing anything from refactoring the frontend from Angular to React, or deciding whether we should take on a new program contract supporting human rights workers in Uganda, and Angela would inevitably be the one to ask the question, “What will this mean for our users, our community?” That is the right question, and as long as we keep asking it, I’ve got the utmost confidence in Ushahidi making an impact, raising voices, and continuing to serve the thousands of organizations using our tool.

Angie’s ultimately the best person to lead the organisation as I transition, and I look forward to working together over the next couple of months, and years to come.