THE USHAHIDI PLATFORM: CROWDSOURCING AND CROWDFEEDING Anahi Ayala Iacucci Media Innovation Advisor [email protected]
Kabul Innovation Lab Kabul – January 2012
CROWDSOURCING CROWDSOURCING: use the crowd to collect information. The act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee to a large group of people or community (a crowd), through an open call for action. Jeff Howe coined the term in June 2006 explaining that because technological advances have allowed for cheap consumer electronics, the gap between professionals and amateurs has been diminished.
ADVANTAGES OF USING CROWDSOURCING Information during a crisis or for early warning systems is as important as food and water Affected communities know what is going on on the ground in real time The ability to collect information is limited by the availability of sources of information: more sources, more information Affected population get engaged in the process because they have an interest in the outcome Crowdsourcing is relatively cheaper than the use of selected monitoring teams Crowdsourcing allow for triangulation of information permitting verification and accountability
CROWDFEEDING: the need for the crowd to share information with the crowd, ie, not top-down, or bottom-up, but information from the crowd, for the crowd; horizontal communication. The act of sharing information out to a large group of people or community, through an open sharing system. In the same time for the international community it means to share all available information with all stakeholders to allow better decisions to be taken and better actions to be implemented.
Local populations are the first responders on the ground so the more they know, the better they respond Information increase resilience and is the base for preparedness The Crowd is always there Information sharing is the base for a coordinated meaningful response Local population normally knows what to do and has local copying mechanisms
: CROWDSOURCING, MAPPING, AND CROWDFEEDING TOOL
Ushahidi, which means “testimony” in Swahili, began as a one-off deployment for mapping reports of election violence after the December 2007 Kenyan elections. Ushahidi is a crowdsourcing mapping system that people to report into the platform by web submission, SMS, Twitter or e-mail. The Ushahidi platform is right now being used in more than 100 countries and 10.000 projects, from electoral monitoring in Burundi to violence in Congo to Early Warning system in the Rift Valley.
WHAT IS USHAHIDI?
WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH
of data on a
map Multiple layers Crowdsourcing from different sources Crowdfeeding
VISUALIZING DATA ON AN INTERACTIVE MAP
categories The map layers The static layers
1ST LAYER: THE CATEGORIES
2ND LAYER: THE MAP LAYERS
3RD LAYER: THE STATIC LAYERS
TWO TYPOLOGIES OF STATIC LAYERS Points (ex. Fixed points like wells, dams, irrigation systems)
Areas (ex.Agroecological regions, risk maps, crop suitability)
CROWDSOURCING FROM DIFFERENT SOURCES
The Ushahidi platform can collect information from different sources: •SMS (integration with FLSMS •Web-Submission •E-Mail •Facebook •Twitter •Voice Mail/IVR
TWO EXAMPLES OF USHAHIDI PROJECTS
CRISIS MAP HUDUMA
FEBRUARY 15TH, 2011: LIBYA
FOR THE FIRST TIME UNOCHA REACHED OUT TO VOLUNTEER TECHNICAL COMMUNITIES On Tuesday 1st March, OCHA reaches out to Standby Task Force, CrisisMappers, CrisisCommons, ICT4Peace, Open Street Map and MapAction. A couple of hours later OCHA activated the Standby Volunteer Task Force (SBTF) which quickly launched a Crisis Map of Libya to support humanitarian preparedness operations. The first mandate of the SBTF was to support OCHA to understand what was going on inside the country
4 WEEKS LATER For the first time since Haiti, the humanitarian community was using new technology, social media and online volunteers for their work 1400 report have been uploaded on the platform and UNHCHR asked to use some of the volunteers to gather YouTube video to support human rights violations OCHA, WFP, UNHCR, UNHCHR, IRC and the Red Cross were after one month using the platform
LESSONS LEARNED If you want to work in humanitarian emergencies you need to work with responders Make sure you advertise your project both with the local population and with the hum community Have a strategy and a precise goal in mind Make sure you design a sustainable workflow Do not focus on the tool, focus on the outcome Engage civil society and local communities Make local people own the project Give people the possibility to turn your project upside down Rely on people that have credibility in the country/community
HUDUMA: FIX MY CONSTITUENCY
Done in collaboration with the Open Data Project Governmental data + citizens data Free reporting system for the citizens Analysis of the data received Monitoring and accountability system of the money spent by the government
THE PROJECT IS NOT WORKING…WHY? No media involved No trust in bw the government and the people No response No expectations managements Not easy to navigate Not easy to understand Not enough training to people on how to use it
HOW TO USE CROWDSOURCING AND WHAT TO BE AWARE OF
CROWDSOURCING IS NOT PERFECT METHODOLOGY AND IT IS NOT ALWAYS NECESSARY CROWDSOURCING AND CROWDFEEDING PROJECTS NEED TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THE IMPORTANCE OF INFORMATION IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO START WITH A SMALL PROJECT AND THEN SCALE UP THAN THE CONTRARY
NEVER CHOOSE A TOOL AND THEN DECIDE WHAT TO USE IT FOR
RISK AND PROBLEMES OF CROWDSOURCING SYSTEMS VERIFICATION STRUCTURE IMPACT
VERIFICATION PROBLEM: when you do crowdsourcing you don’t know who is the source of your information. The risk is to receive and use false or bias information that can affect your work and credibility. POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS: Verification can be crowdsourced too (ex. OpenStreet Map and Ushahidi) New systems to triangulate information and create reliability scores (ex. Swift River) Bound and Unbound crowdsourcing is for now the best solution (ex. Uchaguzi)
STRUCTURE PROBLEM: people think that a good tool is enough to make a good project. This is not the case: a tool is only a tool, a good project is much more than that. POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS: Planning and strategy design need to be always the first step of a project Crowdsourcing is not immune to its own principle: the best crowdsourcing project is the one managed by the involved population Sustainability and integration with local systems need to be always taken into consideration
IMPACT Information is power, so if you share information you are sharing power. Crowdsourcing projects cannot be detached by their political implications. Crowdsourcing projects are bi-directional projects: the crowd will always modify and affect the project as much as the project will modify and affect the crowd. Crowdsourcing projects to be effective need to be adapted to the existing flow of information and information management systems existing in the environment where they are implemented.
SUSTAINABILITY PROBLEM: If running a long term crowdsourcing project the big problem is how to make it sustainable. Will people keep reporting on that issue? POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS: Try to have a free reporting system (have a free short code or phone number from phone companies) Give reimbursements to people that reports Make people willing to report, because they can see the results Engage the crowd and be ready to adapt your platform to the crowd needs
CHALLENGES WITH USING USHAHIDI FOR HUMANITARIAN CRISIS A.
Protecting affected communities:
Protecting the source (technical security) Protecting the information (privacy) Protecting the impact (local equilibrium)
Possible solution: private instance but will never be 100% safe A. Verifying the violations/reports
Verification of the source Verification of the information
Possible solution: not doing crowdsourcing, or rely on a very strong robust local field presence to take care of verification
Anahi Ayala Iacucci [email protected]