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Ushahidi website relaunched and other big news

So I’ve tinkered in a lot of activism / tree-hugging / save the world type endeavors in the last few (or more) years most of which have not achieved the notoriety of Mzalendo or Ushahidi…largely because I’ve been unable to clone myself, sometimes inertia, and then there’s that pesky problem of paying the bills. I’m also paradoxically risk averse (hello..I’m a lawyer) so I think the challenge of starting something from scratch rather than jumping on to an existing initiative was something I tried to dodge.

Nevertheless, I’ve always wanted to see my efforts become more than a one/two person show and grow to something more sustained/able and more impactful…I’m happy to see that things are getting their with at least one thing – Ushahidi (and hopefully soon Mzalendo). This is in no small part due to the wonderful team that coalesced (almost magically I might add) around the project – we are building something great and demonstrating to the world that we’ve got mad skills in Africa…how can you beat that :-)

It’s been a wonderful and very much unexpected journey so far and for me it’s been very much like what I imagine starting a business would be (at least I treat it that way). I’m discovering new skills and enjoying the “start-up” process… and who knows maybe there is an entrepreneur buried somewhere deep inside me (not!).

This is a very long-winded way of saying please check out the relaunched Ushahidi website, learn about the work we will be doing, and read more about the grant funding that we have secured from Humanity United, which has allowed us to build a talented team that will focus on growing Ushahidi.

9 comments to Ushahidi website relaunched and other big news

  • Woz

    have just looked at the ‘About Us’ section on the Ushahidi site and this is what it says:

    ‘The new Ushahidi Engine is being created to …… to create a platform that allows anyone around the world to set up their own way to collect and visualize information. The core platform will allow for plug-in and extensions so that it can be customized for different locales and needs. This tool will be tested and made available as an open source application that others can download, implement and use to bring awareness to crises in their own region’

    Forgive me if I am being very thick, bu what exactly does this mean in plain, simple English please? My gut feeling is that you/Ushaida are doing something worthwhile and worth supporting, but unles you are able to get your message across in simple, techie free language that the average Boniface or Wanjku (like me) can comprehend, Ushaida’s message will not get through.

    Sorry if this sounds harsh…

  • Ory Okolloh

    It’s not harsh Woz…it’s a valid point – will work on simplifying the language a bit. Cheers.

  • Good point Woz, I tend to write like a tech blogger, even for normal websites… :)

    I’ve updated the about page’s language to (hopefully) be a little more clear to all the non-techies out there.

  • Vince

    @ Woz – you are right, some people might run into problems understanding this. In a nutshell, what they saying is that Ushahidi plans to develop a platform (software or product) that will enable anybody to collect information freely and easily. This software or product will be easy to change or manipulate to fit everybody’s needs. The product or software will be available for all to add input and make changes as they deem fit (open source). This product or software will also be easily available for downloads. This software or product is intended to be user friendly and hence will help bring awareness.
    I hope this helps.

    I am positive Ory and her team will tweak the wording to make it simpler for people to understand.

  • Good job man, can’t wait for the whole thing to get working….

  • Keguro

    Eh, you probably don’t need the help, but I have some time during the fall, and multiple degrees that certify I can translate most prose into readable English (well, depends on who you talk to). Send email if I can help.

  • I have just checked out Ushahidi.com.
    The design is good, much more predicated on the user – which is what it should always be.
    The language however needs to be toned down. Keep it simple. Straight from the heart and straight to the point.

    Something less related to Ushahidi now. TED talks.
    I have decided to be sharing the TED videos I have watched every week beginning this weekend. See my introduction of the TED Talks at http://peternjenga.blogspot.com/2008/09/ted-talks-ideas-worth-sharing.html

    I shall embed and highlight your talk on becoming an activist tomorrow.
    Cheers Ory!

  • Hello Ory
    I just watched the video. It’s not at all easy to say how inspiring it it. Congratulations. I just wonder how the Africans who saw you on that video think. I say this because I live in southern Italy and there are lots of similar talks too. I mean talks about the fact that people should be responsible for the well-being of their region, their nation, etc
    I’d like to download your video and add it to http://www.africanews.it with translation in Italian. Is this possible?


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