During this time of crisis, Kenyans have formed complex information networks, connecting and self reporting while traditional media access has been obstructed by the Kenyan government. Success has been notable but a core group of individuals have implemented something more. They are documenting and verifying the post-election violence from the ground up.
The following is a repost from Ory at Kenyan Pundit who asks that everyone please circulate this widely to help Kenyans bear witness to unreported violence. (Ushadidi means “witness” in Swahili.)
Ushahidi.com… was mainly set up to document incidents of violence, looting etc. during the crisis (and soon to follow – information about ways to help on a micro-level). The website is still very much a work in progress and will be updated as we go along.
We believe that the number of deaths being reported by the government, police, and media is grossly underreported. We also don’t think we have a true picture of what is really going on – reports that all of us have heard from family and friends in affected areas suggests that things are much worse than what we have heard in the media.
We also (in my idealist world) hope that we can begin to put names and faces to the people who have lost their lives in this mess.
What’s the point of all this you might ask? Well, Kenyans have demonstrated their capacity for selective amnesia time and time again. When this crisis comes to an end, we don’t want what happened to be swept under the rug in the name of moving forward – for us to truly move forward, the truth of what happened needs to be told – Ushahidi (www.ushahidi.com) is our small way of contributing to that.
We will be relying primarily on input from guys on the ground (NGOs, individuals, journalists), so please circulate this widely to your networks and help us witness.
To get a badge to show your online support for Ushahidi, click here.
Although the site’s operation is exceptionally user friendly and appears to be a simple production, some illusory hard work and coordination has facilitated this project. Please visit WhiteAfrican who, in “It’s Not About Us, It’s About Them,” has approached Ory’s brainchild with the philosophy that:
The communication that needs to be happening is at the grassroots level. Everyday Kenyans do not have access to any of these services. Let’s put our minds and capabilities towards solving real problems for people beyond the technologically elite.
As he explains in “Using Technology to Chronicle Incidents of Violence:”
Sometimes there’s nothing more that you can do at the time than report what you see. That’s the idea behind the project that Ory thought up while reporting on the Kenyan elections. Basically, let’s create a mashup that people can report into on incidences of violence that they see.
This is so brilliant. Please help to get the word out. Ushahidi.com is not just a valuable tool for recording incidents of violence, but also for commemorating those who have died and providing an instrument of action for those who feel powerless.