Ushahidi: Open Source Citizen Engagement Software Platform
Ushahidi is an open source software platform for crowdsourcing reports from on the ground for crisis response, human rights advocacy, and transparency. The Ushahidi platform allows anyone to send in testimonies about what is happening, when, and where, and also recieve alerts of reports around them. The deployer of the tool can then triage and respond to these reports, or use them to advocate for change. DIV Stage 2 funding will support the commercialization of Ushahidi's model.
Ushahidi launched version 3 of the Ushahidi platform in October 2015. This was a huge improvement to the platform, making it ready for scale and implementing many features that our community has asked for, including custom forms, filters, work flow management, and data visualization.
At that time we also launched a new business model, software as a service. We sell more complex versions of the software on the cloud hosted version, allowing users to use the most up to date version of the software immediately, without having to load it onto their own servers.
Over the past 6 months we have been doing in depth user research and improving the front end of the site. We will be launching these new user interface updates in May.
In 2015, we brought in over $800,000 in earned revenue, cover 30% of our overhead. Over the next 3 years we are looking to grow our earned revenue to cover 80% of our overhead. To do so we need roughly $4M more in grant funding.
How does your innovation work?
Ushahidi is a crowdsourcing and response and advocacy software platform. The deployer sets up an Ushahidi deployment and begins crowdsourcing reports from their staff and the crowd from the channels people already use like SMS, Email, Webform, Twitter, and RSS. The deployers team can then mapped these reports, verify them, triage them, and manage response to them. The published reports on the deployment website in map, timeline, and data visualization an be used to create advocacy and bring attention to the issue, as well as chart trends over time. In addition, the tool can aid in the immediate response to specific reports, helping improve the efficiency of response and the use of resources.
What Evidence do you have that your Innovation works?
1) Uchaguzi a Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of ICTs, Statebuilding, and Peacebuilding in Kenya
Publication: ICTs, Statebuilding, and Peacebuilding in Eastern Africa
Authors: Warigia Bowman, Bob Bell, Wambui Ngugi, Wainaina Mungai, Grace Githaiga, and Paola Cavallari.
Methodology: Conducted a short survey to assess citizens’ familiarity with Uchaguzi, reaching a total of 446 people and covering most regions in Kenya.
High Level Impact Finding: Of the (8000) respondents who reported an incident using Uchaguzi, nearly three quarters (of those interviewed in this report who had reported) said that the incident reported was resolved.
2) Towards a Safer City: Sexual Harassment in Greater Cairo - Effectiveness of Crowdsourced Data
Title: Harassmap, Youth and Development Consultancy Institute.
Author: Supported by International Development Research Center (IDRC).
Methodology: Compare the Harassmap data with a quantitative analysis of the data collected based on 450 questionnaires (300 complete by women and 150 by men) distributed evenly between six administrative units of Greater Cairo and a qualitative analysis of the data collected based on 48 (30 female and 18 male) focus group discussions (FGDs) conducted. The FGD provided an open forum for participants to discuss sexual harassment, giving the researchers insight into how they perceive the phenomenon. Thematic analysis and qualitative case-oriented open coding were employed to study the data.
High Level Impact Finding: The Ushahidi Map is an effective tool for data collection for sensitive issues, encouraging more participation and sometimes more truthful reports than other typical data collection means.
3) Crowdsourcing Accountability in a Nigerian Election
Publication: Journal of Information Technology & Politics
Authors: Catie Snow Bailard & Steven Livingston
Date: Accepted author version posted online: 23 Jul 2014.Published online: 20 Oct 2014.
We currently have 100,000 deployments in over 160 countries in 48 local languages. These deployments run the gamit of use cases, but predominately fall into a handful of categories such as crisis repsonse, human rights reporting, transparency, data collection and research, monitoring and evaluation, and environmental mapping. Some of our favorite deployments are quakemap.org, harassmap.org, safecity.in, syriatracker.crowdmap.com, http://www.zabatak.com/, stopstockouts.com, ke2013.ushahidi.com, and many others.
What is your strategy for expanding use of your innovation?
Our goal is to improve the product and use the scalability of the web to expand our innovation. We are focusing on the core needs of our users, and improving the product to serve their needs. We are expanding the functionality of our tool to serve the large NGOs doing work in the humanitarian sector, where we act as a service provider and technology provider for the humanitarian and development sectors. At the same time, we are making the tool free and open source for the grassroots organizations out there.
We are fully focused on expanding our user growth at the moment by partnering with organizations, non-profits, and others working in our sector who could benefit from our tools. In addition we are looking to raise the rest of our funding, roughly 2.3M USD.