Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Remixing the web for social change, Kenya for peace

Report Acts Of Violence or Peace In Kenya

Take just a little time to support an African initiative that brings the Kenyan situation to the Kenyans, by the Kenyans. This is social media that breathes engagement and the promise of a strengthened future.

In April I am giving a presentation on how the use of social media in emerging countries is reshaping the world at the Annual Gathering of the eLearning Guild. Thanks to Juliana who posts the great Afromusings.com blog, I came across this great mash-up application that is keeping up with what is happening in Kenya.

Since the last elections Kenya has seen a lot of violence, which is now hopefully settling down. In the past we could watch the news, sigh because of the content and … do nothing. Nowadays and especially through social media the world has changed. We can choose our news and our actions.

Ushahidi (which means witness in Swahili) is a mash-up application which gives people live access to post their information and experiences. This African initiative is partly using crowdsourcing and building on existing initiatives to give the people in the streets a way to get their voices heard. The great thing about this initiative is that it does not only focus on riots but it also asks people to submit peace initiatives that have been started. The initiative works closely with the red cross and ngo's in Kenya to make sure the information they get is cross referenced.

You can support this initiative by voting for it. Ushahidi has entered the Netsquared Mashup Challenge and you can vote for this particular initiative by registering at the Netsquared site, register and vote (you can vote by clicking the ‘+’ next to the Ushahidi initiative). I know it’s a hassle to have to register before you vote, but it is greatly appreciate it if you did.

Just imagine this software mashup in areas that suddenly have to cope with an epidemic... this will make the physicians/nurses/researchers life much easier.

Social media is changing the face of the earth… well, at least if the people let it be changed.