Articles by

andries.vaisman

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      Tech enthusiasts and local hackers in Nairobi, Kenya are building educational tools to help community users shape and learn more about Ushahidi's .ke Evaluation findings.  The launch is part of a nine-month look into the impact of the organization's projects in Kenya since addressing post-election corruption almost four years ago. To include the broader open-source community, the event is being blogged live through Scribble Live, Twitter and a livestreaming video.  Check out Ushahidi's official post about it below to find out more about what participants are saying: Cross-posted from blog.ushahidi.com The ihub in Nairobi, Kenya has been buzzing all morning with conversations about the Ushahidi .ke Evaluation launch. We are honoured to have our local community and some guests like UNHCR and NetHope join us to talk about best practices and improvements for deployments and Ushahidi. Here is our Ustream for the day: (recorded) Video streaming by Ustream
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      Though declining resources have left the media less likely to investigate cases in which freedom of information has been limited, more and more people are supporting government transparency says a new study put forth by Media Law Resource Center and the National Freedom of Information Coalition. The findings – though bittersweet – compliment a 2009 investigation that found that traditional media support for open government lawsuits in their states had fallen dramatically. They also give new meaning to Knight’s FOI fund, which helps state groups pursue open-government litigation by covering up-front costs such as court fees, if attorneys are willing to take on a pro-bono basis cases that otherwise would go unfiled. “If ordinary citizens are becoming more aware of their access rights, and more assertive regarding them, it is indeed a reason to be gratified,” said Kenneth F. Bunting, executive director of the National Freedom of Information Coalition.  “However, if news organizations are trending toward being less gung-ho...
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      With three open-source platforms working to crowdsource and map people’s insights, Ushahidi – a two time Knight News Challenge winner - has quickly grown from one project in Kenya to uses in 132 countries around the world. Everyday, people use Ushahidi’s tools to bridge information gaps in their communities, by doing things like mapping healthcare resources and monitoring disease outbreaks in Honduras and gauging riot violence and transportation problems in London. In Kenya, small-scale farmers use iCow, a mobile and Web information service that runs on Ushahidi’s Crowdmap platform, to send text messages about agricultural resources across the three largest networks in the country.  The Ushahidi-based system takes the crowdsourced information and plots the locations on a map, helping farmers in rural areas find what they need to support their livelihood.  In Indonesia, Waspada allows people to use cell phones and the Internet to map crimes in Jarkata on a minute-to-minute basis.  The project also...
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      Sunlight Foundation has released a new app that will help people make informed decisions about healthcare services and prescription drug options.  The project is the first in a series of Knight-funded apps developed by Sunlight to help make public information more available and actionable for citizens, and supports Knight's commitment to promoting informed and engaged communities. Sunlight Health works by presenting data in three simplified categories: healthcare facilities, suppliers and prescription drugs.  Once users have downloaded the app, which is available for free in Apple’s iTunes store or in Google’s Android Market, they can use their cell phones to search for the most up-to-date information about hospitals, nursing homes, dialysis clinics...
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      The Grassroots Mapping project, which aims to put mapping information into the hands of the public using digital cameras, balloons and other everyday items, is creating images that rival anything Google Maps can produce, writes the BBC.  Spearheaded by the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (PLOTS) and with support from the 2011 Knight News Challenge, the project is democratizing information in innovative ways. Interactive mapping has become an increasingly important way to share information about the environment further indicates the initiative's importance. “By putting an illustrated guide to camera construction on the back of paper maps and offering tutorials for locals they are teaching people how to put their own equipment together,” writes the BBC. So far, the project has gathered information otherwise limited to private companies and government agencies to inform citizens about...
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    Photo: Jon Diamond (ArtistDirect), Michael Eisner (former Disney CEO), Lynda Resnick (POM, Fiji Water), Arianna Huffington (Huffington Post), Charles Firestone (Aspen Institute) at FOCAS 2010 How are new technologies affecting communities and the way we participate in and govern a democracy in the 21st century? That’s the topic of FOCAS, a forum taking place this week in Colorado as part of the Aspen Institute’s Communications and Society Program and supported by Knight Foundation. By concentrating on networks and citizenship, this year’s Forum on Communications and Society (FOCAS) will explore how citizens will access and engage with civic information in the era of connectivity.  Questions about the different roles individuals play as “citizens” and “users” in their off- and online worlds will...
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      Storify, an interactive platform that lets users drag and drop YouTube clips, Facebook posts, tweets and other Web content to frame dynamic journalistic stories, has been announced as the 2011 $10,000 Grand Prize winner of J-Lab’s Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism. "In Storify, we see a journalism tool that truly solves a newsroom problem and also inspires others to challenge the way they've been...
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    San Jose Mercury News columnist Mike Cassidy shared his thoughts this weekend on Globaloria, a new digital literacy program coming to the region, praising the initiative’s willingness to take new approaches by using game design to empower youth with important skills. "We need to embrace experiments," urged Cassidy, "-- the riskier, the better." He continued, saying, "A few Silicon Valley schools are about to...