Fearlessly Protecting Your Vote

UchaguziThis month, I’ve met many fearless influencers who have played important roles in our national elections process. Yesterday, I had the awesome privilege of visiting the Uchaguzi situation room at the iHub, a high tech office space just off Ngong Road. Started out of the Ushahidi initiative that was the brainchild of several innovative people including fearless influencer Daudi Were after the PEV event in 2007, Uchaguzi mobilizes citizens to protect their vote and to ensure a free, fair, peaceful, and credible general election in 2013. The idea went viral and has so far been used in elections in 20 countries across the world!*

They do this by creating an opportunity for citizens to report on any significant incidences nationally through different platforms eg. sms (short-code 3002), twitter (@uchaguzi), Facebook, and website. Their team of volunteers then verify these reports and escalate them by directing them to the relevant organizations or individuals for intervention e.g. police, IEBC etc. They partner with a wide variety of organizations including civil society, faith based organizations and law enforcement.

I was impressed by the 185 local volunteers who have been running this initiative since Mar 3rd. If you pass by the iHub, you’ll find a team of 50-100 working long hours on their own laptops at any one time. They have 55 volunteers supporting them internationally – I even met a Nigerian who had flown to Kenya simply to volunteer during this elections period!

As of 7pm yesterday, they had received 4,513 messages sent to the platform. Despite that, Daudi commented how amazingly crisis free these elections have been for which he and the team are grateful. His lovely wife and partner in the work Nekesa Were even gave me a couple of branded merch items to share with my family!

Proud of the many engaged young Kenyans who are actively serving and building their nation… truly fearless!

*also see David’s comment to this article

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One response to “Fearlessly Protecting Your Vote

  1. Thanks for visiting us Pastor M and for taking time to sit and talk with us about this season in Kenya’s history. Although I was part of the team of the very first Ushahidi map in 2008, it was a team with Juliana Rotich, David Kobia, Erik Hersman (who are all still with Ushahidi) and Ory Okolloh (now the Policy Manager, Africa for Google) went on to form the company.

    Ushahidi has been used in elections in over 20 countries across the world and the Uchaguzi partnership has covered general elections in Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia.

    We see how technology deployed with the right strategy can have massive impact across our communities. Change the City, Take the Continent, Win the world!

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