[Note: This article was originally posted on Ensia, written by Katie G. Nelson] November 10, 2014 — Putting power into the hands of the people is, quite literally, Erik Hersman’s life’s work. With the help of mobile phone technology, open-source software and a team of socially conscious entrepreneurs, the Kenya-raised tech guru has emerged as one of the foremost leaders in Africa’s growing digital democratization movement. His mission: to change the way information flows from the current top-down structure, led by government and media, to a collaborative community-curated system using accessible software, affordable devices and unique cross-sector collaborations. Six years ago Hersman was managing tech blogs about African ingenuity when he co-founded Ushahidi, a nonprofit company that developed geo-mapping software to pinpoint violence during Kenya’s disputed 2007–08 presidential elections. Prompted by government-mandated media restrictions during that period, Hersman and colleagues began brainstorming new ways to get around the media blackout and communicate about the chaos. In just three days, the team created a software program that gave ordinary Kenyans the ability to text message reports of violence to a central digital location where they were made into crowd-sourced maps. Those user-submitted reports painted a clear picture of what was happening and... Continue Reading >>