Before today, December 7, 2009, I had never heard of Ushahidi, “an African nonprofit group,” which “operates an online platform that allows individuals and organizations to post real-time information about unfolding crises.” See “Ushahidi Empowers Global Citizen Journalists,” which was published in a BusinessWeek special report.
According to former BusinessWeek correspondent Jennifer L. Schenker, “founder and editor of Informilo, a European technology Web site, Ushahidi goes “far beyond simple blogging” and “allows users to aggregate information and present it on maps, charts, and timelines.”
Ushahidi was born when its co-founder, Ory Okolloh, “a Kenyan who had recently graduated from Harvard Law School”, became “alarmed at the lack of information available from the traditional media outlets that were subject to government censorship” during the political upheaval in Kenya in 2008. According to Schenker, “She mobilized her network of contacts and began posting online updates every two hours about the spreading political violence.”
I hope this effort inspires others. A continent of African citizen journalists can perhaps make a big difference in dispelling lies and rumors that often lead to political violence and tribal conflict.
Note: This item is cross-posted at The I-Time Media Observer.