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6 broadbrush steps for getting Ushahidi going for your community

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Disaster happens in a moment

Breaking news in 2010 were the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile. They happen suddenly.  They are disastrous.  They bring ruin for families.   We feel dreadful from afar and that is nothing to what the people in their midst suffer.

Ushahidi: Crowdsourcing Crisis Information

USHAHIDI is a platform that allows ordinary people to pool information about what is happening, who needs help and who can help.

Iwas developed ‘on the fly’ to report electoral violence in Kenya in 2008.  The Ushahidi team have since developed the platform and made it available as a white label for other communities to use.

You can see it here raising money for Haiti, monitoring elections in Norway, and cleaing snow in Washington, DC.

It needs a little IT know-how to use, but it is not beyond the skills of any household PC user.

6 broad brush steps for getting Ushahidi going for your community

This is the first of a series of posts showing you how to use Ushahidi.

I am going to assume you have  similar IT knowledge to me and step you through the steps as simply as possible.

I am currently upto Step 3. So bear my noobe status in mind and chip in, if you wish.

What you need to get started with Ushahidi

  • An ordinary household PC or laptop running Windows
  • An internet connection.

Later on you will need a website to host Ushahidi for the public.   If you don’t have a website address, or domain name, you might like to think of one, register it and arrange for hosting.  But one thing at a time!  Look at these 6 steps and see what is involved.

6 broad brush steps for getting Ushahidi going for your community

Step 1: Before we download Ushahdi, download software to allow you to develop your website on your PC.  In IT parlance, create a “localhost” on your PC.

Step 2: Ask Ushahidi if you can use their software.  They will send you a link.

Step 3: Install Ushahidi on your PC.

Step 4: Customoize Ushahidi for your community.

Step 5: Launch your version of Ushahidi on a public server that can be accessed by the public.

Step 6: Mobilize your community.

Get started early

You can see that if you intend to use Ushahidi to help with emergency-responses, you should probably have it all set up in advance and have practiced using it in simpler, less stressful circumstances.

Some very obvious applications would be organize something like Comic Relief.  I am sure you will think of others.

Next post will be to set up your PC as a local host.

Disclaimer:  I am up to Step 3 – so bear that in mind!

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