As we examined in class this past Wednesday, Ushahidi has the potential to be incredibly useful in disaster management. There are many complications and questions as to who is responsible for using the information that is preventing the maximum potential of the technology. This is a very complex issue that needs to continue to be discussed in order for disaster recovery technology to improve. However, Ushahidi is not only used for disaster management, but has proved to be useful in other development projects and cases.
In the Cost of Chicken Project, Ushahidi is used to communicate information about food to children all over the world from San Francisco to India. Young children from age 8 collect data about the prices of food and where the food originally comes from and are able to access the data that others have reported. Children are able to learn about social development along the lines of nutrition and essential information about their food sources. For example, a child can find out how far the food traveled, if farmers used pesticides, where to get good quality food, or other determinants of documenting local food conditions.
The developers of the Cost of Chicken Project claim they use Ushahidi because it is easy to use and they had already known about it. In this case, the technology is being used successfully because the dispersers and users of the information were the ones seeking it. One of the problems of using Ushahidi for disaster management is the technology is still looking for those to use and apply the information.
Another recent use of Ushahidi is the mapping of technology innovation and entrepreneurship centers in Africa by BongoHive. This will support entrepreneurs and capacitate them to develop technology.
I do not doubt that Ushahidi is a very useful tool, but there needs to be other partners that are willing to take the initiative of using the information. Overall, I am impressed and excited by what change is to come with Ushahidi and other crowdsourcing technology.