State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Relocation Brings Opportunities to Participate in a Historical Event in Kenya

The Great Rift Valley, a predicted hotspot
The Great Rift Valley, a predicted hotspot

On Monday, the Masters in Development Practice interns at the Millennium Village Project in Sauri, Kenya were relocated to Nairobi as a precaution for the constitutional referendum taking place August 4th. Although this put a damper on our projects, it did enable Steph, Denise and I to participate in a historical event and join 55+ volunteers in reporting incidences around the referendum. Our group concentrated on monitoring social media feeds, but also mapped incoming text messages and field reports and pulled data to draft a mid-day press release.

We did this through Uchaguzi.co.ke, a website which uses the Ushahidi platform to visualize violence, tension, voter issues, and peace efforts surrounding the referendum. The mapping took place at the iHub, home to Ushahidi and a innovative tech space in Nairobi. The majority of the events mapped were of a peaceful nature. All was fairly quiet.

The story was picked up by both CNN and Christian Science Monitor, which is pretty cool, especially considering that this tool was developed in Kenya and is now being used worldwide.

Check out the articles below for more info on how Kenyans are promoting fair and open political processes using Ushahidi:

CNN: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-478629?ref=feeds/latest
Christian Science Monitor:  http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Africa/2010/0804/Kenya-referendum-monitored-by-SMS-and-Twitter

Here is a blog post I wrote that shares some background information on the event: https://news.climate.columbia.edu/2010/08/03/mapping-peace-protests-and-violence-around-the-kenyan-referendum/

Hope all is well in your corners of the world

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