Ushahidi [oo-shah-hee-dee] is a non-profit technology company that specializes in developing tools for democratizing information, increasing transparency and lowering the barriers for individuals to share their stories. In particular, the company develops free and open source software for information collection, visualization and interactive mapping.

"Ushahidi", which means "testimony" in Swahili, was initially developed to map online eyewitness reports of violence in Kenya after the post-election fallout in 2007. The website used open source software that enabled it to collect reports of violence via email and text-message and visualize them interactively on a Google map.

Since then, the software has been used for a number of similar projects around the globe, and the name "Ushahidi" has come to represent not only the platform but also the people behind it. The team is comprised of individuals with a wide span of experience ranging from human rights to software development, and support of a strong team of volunteer developers primarily in Africa, but also Europe, South America and the U.S. The driving force of the team is the idea that people can report what they see and for that information to be available online, providing an early warning system for crises in near real-time and data visualization for effective response and recovery.

For example, the Ushahidi platform has been used to monitor elections in India, Mexico, Lebanon and Afghanistan. It was deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo to track unrest, in Zambia to monitor medicine stockouts and in the Philippines to track mobile phone companies. In 2011, Take Back The Tech! collective campaign launched an online mapping platform on technology-related violence against women powered by Ushahidi.


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