Ushahidi At Five

Erik Hersman | Ushahidi | February 6, 2013

Ushahidi is 5 years old. What started as an ad hoc group of bloggers and technologists scrambling to make sense of the madness that our country was falling into has become a global organization and platform. There was no way we could foresee what would happened in the intervening years. Five years ago we built Ushahidi. It was a rudimentary mashup of email, SMS and web reports on a map. A simple tool that came out of a deep seated desire from David, Juliana, Ory, myself and Daudi to try and do something using technology in the midst of Kenya dissolving in around us.

Back in those early days of 2008 we had this idea, this glimmer of a thought, that what we had started in Kenya could become something bigger. That a simple software platform, if made open source, could be used by others in need and create a revolution. It has.

40,000+ deployments of the software in 159 countries means that we did something right. More importantly, it means that there are more people able to coordinate their communities and more people able to tell their stories. It means that the software, through it’s community of deployers, is successfully disrupting industries, sectors and countries that have a historically top-down information flow. It’s allowing ordinary people to tell their stories, changing the way information flows in the world...