“ For me, what has always been the most important aspect of the work we do has remained simple, building a tool that makes it easy for individuals and groups to tell their stories, and making it easy for these stories to be mapped/visualized”. – Ory Okolloh
Ory Okolloh has identified the importance of using technology to provide an accessible and rapid arena for African citizens to voice their opinions and experiences, engaging over 45,000 African citizens who desire a higher level of government accountability to help solve some of the nations most dire issues. In 2006, Okolloh co-founded her first technologically communicative initiative Mzalendo.com (Swahili: “Patriot”) to allow African citizens instantaneous admittance into the happenings inside Parliament. Utilizing email, the web, text messaging, twitter and Google maps, she created the concept of “activist mapping”, returning to her simple desire to allow fellow citizens the opportunity to share their stories and raise awareness to the happenings in an incredibly vast geographical area. In 2007, during the aftermath of the violent Presidential election, Okolloh helped to create a second initiative Ushahidi (Swahili: “Witness”) using similar technology as Mzalendo. She wanted to bring attention to the widespread violence occurring and provide a space to document and gather “eyewitness reports of violence”. In 2010, Okolloh stepped down as Executive Director of Ushahidi and announced that she would be joining Google, becoming Google’s Policy Manager for Africa. Okolloh is the quintessential Womentrepreneur and we congratulate her for increasing awareness about the power of technology and citizen journalism to help bring a voice to her fellow African Citizens.
To learn more about Ory Okolloh, please visit www.kenyanpundit.com, or follow her on Twitter @kenyanpundit.