Africa: Doing Her Bit for Haiti

It is fun going to conferences and events that focus on subjects that are important to you. Once such event for me has been Africa Gathering. It not only focuses on the continent of my birth, but also how technology and social media can help with creating sustainable development. Two of my favourite subjects.

People most often view Africa as the recipient of aid, the poor cousin who needs technical assistance. Events like Africa Gathering are important as they show the world Africa is full of capable people who can, and do create systems, technology and processes that not only work for Africa, but have global significance and application.

The most visible of these projects right now is Ushahidi and their vital efforts in crowdsourcing data coming out of the Haiti earthquake and translating it into useful, available and actionable information.

Ushahidi was initially developed by Kenyans to map reports of violence in Kenya after the post election disturbances in 2008.  Since then the platform has been rebuilt primarily by people within Africa, but in true open source philosophy with contributions from people in Europe and the US.

Take a look at their website and read further, it makes interesting reading.

Here is the link to their Haiti specific site.

As a Zimbabwean, it delights me to be able to point to the hard work, dedication, and resourcefulness of some very smart African people, who have developed a platform that has global application and the ability to ultimately save lives.

From an organizational perspective, this raises a few important questions and points

  • Who said social media tools do not have real purpose and application?
  • How can organizations learn from this?
  • Why aren’t more people thinking about how they can organize information from the collective and turn it into useable and valuable data?
  • Why must the revenue model of social media concentrate on making money directly from the tools verse figuring out how the tools and their application can empower your organization to reach objectives or gain revenue?

Let’s all learn a little from the people of Africa