We are excited to be shortlisted as a finalist in the Humanitarian Innovation Fund’s Scaling Initiative – Accelerating the Journey to Scale.  The Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF) supports organisations and individuals to identify, nurture and share innovative and scalable solutions to the challenges facing effective humanitarian assistance. This year there are 9 finalists including Ushahidi. We are very proud to have made it this far and are looking forward to spending the next three days at the Innovation Retreat with the HIF team, advisers and the other finalists at Egrove Park part of the University of Oxford's Saïd Business School.

We will be working to test our assumptions and further strengthen two of our key models. First to test and strengthen the Ushahidi platform software and service scaling business model. Secondly to test and strengthen our financial self-sustaining business model. We will be building upon extensive user research, market research and user experience testing we have conducted over the last 3 quarters.

I am pleased to see organisations Ushahidi partners with, organisations who hold the same values as us, amongst the finalists. The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team has been a constant, reliable and positive presence for Ushahidi, from mapping informal settlements in Nairobi to helping first responders dealing with Ebola or earthquakes. Similarly we have partnered and brainstormed with our friends at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative over several years on questions such as which technology is appropriate during a humanitarian crisis and how do we best connect with responders. During our Kenyan election deployment of 2013 we worked closely with Translators without Borders who organised and led a team of translators to process the large number of real time messages we were receiving effectively. During the Nepal earthquake of 2015 colleagues at ACAPS were involved in assessing information from various sources including an Ushahidi based deployment, Quakemap, to produce products for prioritization of the relief effort. We are looking forward to developing equally strong relationships with the other finalists Field Ready, Groupe URD, Libraries Without Borders, Panzi Foundation.

Together we are working towards a world in which communities will grow more resilient and confident as they use their local expertise to solve their own challenges, making for a more open world in which effective collaboration through mutual respective connections is the norm rather than the exception.