When violence broke out in what seemed to be a hundred places at once, the news seemed to come and lack verification. The mobile networks were jammed as people called, text-messaged in a bid to account for their loved ones. The further away you were, the worse the feeling got. I, for one was sure that there was a lot more that was under-reported. I was not alone, as the launch today of Ushahidi proves. ushahidi.com is a site where people can send news on different parts of Kenya and the news records as a Google thumbnail on where the action is happening and what is on the scene.
Now much of the country faces humanitarian crises and several aid organizations such as the Red Cross are working on getting food, clothing, shelter and medical care to the displaced and those bereaved. As we send forth our donations, and give out of the ‘abundance of our Kenyan poverty’ as one mother described it, innovative Kenyans are working on reporting mechanisms.
So much was the need for accurate information that a few people faced the brunt of corroborating stories and reporting them too. For an alternative source in future, Ushahidi.com has launched to allow people info on Kenya as we were when the media blackout and underreporting of government figures occurs. They came together to start working on a way to accommodate alternative media such as mobile texts( still to come) and individual bloggers and freelance journalists.
An early visitor to the site commented that we ought to make material efforts to help and get supplies to the people who need them. I argue that for all the people of Kenya, we were starved for a lack of information. In the most violent riots, it was the relatives and friends who ensured that we were aware of what was going on. Today, Ushahidi.com( Swahili for “witness”) was launched.
In the words of the creators, the best way that we can make this happen is to make sure that the people on the ground, ordinary ( ordinary Kenyans) know that the service. The site has a simple, clean design.
For more of the same, Hash, ,
Why do we do something now?
Kenyans have had clashes and conflicts. You only hear of the people in their hundreds or their thousands, but you never hear the story. The site is accepting news about the individuals who lost their lives, and all kinds of news and link ups on what happened. In the works is text-messaging.
What amazes me is that this site was put together in a matter of days by a small team, and that they can get this up and stat running it on a constant basis is nothing short of good intercontinental team work, skill and determination to do something. Of course, there is still so much more that can be done in terms of providing assistance.
Many thanks to the people behind USHAHIDI including the authors of the following sites and blogs.
Nikki Giovanni poet, teacher at Virginia Tech said, “We will prevail”. I agree with her. Even if two or twenty politicians incite Kenyans to violence, and many are lost, thousands injured and millions disillusioned, we will rise yet again. Despite what people say, ‘we have no otherwise’, but up from here.
More you can do with Ushahidi.com
Send in reports via +447624802635 ( In Kenya about KShs. 10/USD 0.16)
You can email your reports and images to firstname.lastname@example.org
Add reports on the peace efforts.
Ways that you a how can help.