Organize your team

Staffing preparation

Staffing an Ushahidi instance depends on its size, complexity, and duration. Crisis response programs will start as an intense effort to collect as much data as possible, requiring outreach to the affected population as well as myriad volunteers and staff to manage the instance. Human rights campaigns have a different tempo, but also require staff and volunteers who can be trusted with information that may bring harm to those who contribute to the effort as well as communities under threat.

Team Structure

The typical structure of an Ushahidi deployment breaks down in working groups with a core team:

Core Team

  • Project Manager: the person who is in charge of the overall strategy and management of the initiative.
  • Volunteer Manager: the person(s) who are in charge of volunteer recruitment, training, scheduling, and retention.
  • Technologist: the persons in charge of the Ushahidi platform, the server environment, and any other technology running the project.
  • Analyst: the persons responsible for turning data into insights.

Working Groups

  • Media Monitoring Team: identifies and monitors social media feeds, extracting actionable information.
  • Translation Team: translates reports from local languages into the core language of the deployment, sometimes with help from groups like Translators without Borders.
  • SMS Team: monitors information received through SMS
  • Emergency Team: a small team designated to handle any report which requires urgent action.
  • GeoLocation Team: identifies the location mentioned in each report and plots it on a map, usually with a GPS point.
  • Report Team: provides first quality control monitoring: confirms that each report is correctly translated, geolocated, and is not a duplicate.
  • Verification Team: assesses the veracity of each report, in close cooperation with the Media Monitoring and SMS teams.
  • Technology Team: ensures that the platform and associated technologies support the efforts of the deployment.
  • Analysis and Research Team: analyzes Posts and Messages and provides situation reports, often with data visualizations.


Traditional wisdom says that you should find people with a passion for an issue for your volunteers. This adage remains true, but passion will not sustain volunteers through a tough campaign. They need an incentive beyond their passion to submit or process reports, day after day. It is prudent to pay them some amount, even if small, so that they know that they are valued and that work is expected each day.

Seek out volunteers who have skills that you need for your working groups.