Ushahidi co-founder wins humanitarian impact award

Kenya's Juliana Rotich has been honoured with the Impact Award at the DLDwomen 2013 conference in Munich. Originally from Kenya, Rotich is the co-founder and managing director of Ushahidi.com, an Internet platform set up to help people in crisis regions to connect, warn each other of dangers and get aid organizations involved when incidences of violence and/or disasters occur. The Impact Award has been initiated to recognize women whose outstanding commitment makes changes in society happen.

"We are proud to present this award to strong women who, using digital technologies, improve, enrich and even save people's lives by showing braveness and commitment," DLDwomen founder Steffi Czerny comments on the award, which was presented by Gabriele Zedlmayer, Vice President Global Social Innovation at Hewlett-Packard. Zedlmayer: "Juliana Rotich is an exceptional individual - technologist, creator, innovator and an optimist who actually turns her visions into reality."

Juliana Rotich grew up in Kenya and later moved to the United States to study Information Technology. She has been working in the American IT industry for ten years now, but always maintained strong ties with her African roots. Very early on, she understood the need of the people in Africa not only to use, but also to develop digital technologies.

When, in 2008, Kenya experienced violent confrontations between the rivalling parties following the national elections, Rotich founded the Internet platform Ushahidi, which means 'witness' in Swahili, the Bantu language. Ushahidi allows people to report a violent incident or disaster via text message or email and request help and/or medical supplies immediately. If possible, the reports are checked right away and depicted on a map on the website, detailing information on time and place. International relief organizations also use the platform, whose open source technology has meanwhile been applied in countries such as Haiti, Chile and Palestine.

 

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