Young African woman helps reshape Africa through technology

Julian Rotich creator of  010 Young African woman helps reshape Africa through technology

African nations are often perceived as lacking somewhat in terms of mainstream technology, but a 35 year old woman is helping to change the world’s perception through her own website.

African nations are often perceived as lacking somewhat in terms of mainstream technology, but a 35 year old woman is helping to change the world’s perception through her own website.

Back in 2008, there were terrible ethnic and political violence in Kenya due to disputes over elections, and because of the broadcasting blackout people were unable to keep up with what was going in their own backyard.  So instead of waiting around for the dust to settle, Juliana Rotich decided to create a website called Ushahidi (‘testimony’ in Swahili) that helped people stay up to date through text messages and emails.

Much like improv storytelling between friends around a campfire, the text messages and emails are woven together into a cohesive story in which people can read and understand exactly is going on.  No TV news anchor, no problem.  By using what’s available to her in a time of chaos, Rotich managed to connect scattered groups of people through some courage and ingenuity.

The news reported through Ushahidi helped her countrymen as well as the world to become aware of the awful and cruel bloodshed that was ravaging her people.  When the dusts of bickering and violence finally subsided, politicians tried to downplay the level of inhumanity that took place, but it became increasingly clear to them that Rotich’s website had helped people become well aware of what was actually going on.

Ushahidi is now focused on making its presence known on the worldwide web via humanitarian efforts, and needless to say, its popularity has grown tremendously.  The platform has been translated into 20 languages, and has since impacted the lives of many around the world.  For instance, the Ushahidi model has been adapted to aid in the search for survivors during the Haiti earthquake.

Although the idea of democracy through an idealistic website is definitely a coinciding theme, Rotich is quick to not jump the gun and say that she is at the forefront of trying to create a new Africa.  Instead of cementing herself as an activist, Rotich is stepping into a more entrepreneurial role.  She is currently launching various campaigns using technology to help deliver quality goods at reasonable prices to people throughout Africa.

That’s a twist on the conventional, but if Rotich will be able to help those around her achieve peace, comfort, and prosperity through technology then more power to her. 

Source: Guardian UK

Oh look, a bug!