Ushahidi: Crowdsourcing and Mapping Platform for Crisis Response and Human Rights Advocacy

Ushahidi is an open-source, web-based platform for crisis response, human rights advocacy, and community engagement. With its powerful mapping, data collection, and visualization features, Ushahidi allows nonprofits and social enterprises to gather, analyze, and share real-time data on critical situations.

Open Source & Self-hosting: Ushahidi is open-source, meaning its source code is freely available for modification and customization. It can be self-hosted or used through a cloud-based service provided by the Ushahidi team.

Use Cases & Examples:

  1. Disaster Response: NGOs can use Ushahidi to crowdsource information about affected areas, infrastructure damage, and relief efforts during natural disasters.
  2. Human Rights Monitoring: Organizations can map human rights abuses, document evidence, and raise awareness about violations in conflict zones.
  3. Environmental Monitoring: Environmental groups can collect and visualize data on pollution, deforestation, and other ecological issues.
  4. Election Monitoring: Civil society groups can monitor elections, report irregularities, and promote transparency and accountability.
  5. Public Health: Public health organizations can map disease outbreaks, track vaccination campaigns, and monitor health infrastructure.
  6. Community Engagement: Local organizations can use Ushahidi to gather feedback, track service delivery, and engage citizens in decision-making processes.

Features & Benefits:

Benefits Features
Real-time data collection SMS, email, social media, and app-based data submission
Geographic visualization Interactive maps with customizable layers and filters
Data analysis and reporting Advanced filtering, data export, and visualization options
Customizable and scalable platform Flexible deployment options, API access, and modular design
Collaboration and communication User accounts, permissions, and messaging capabilities
Open-source and community-driven Active community, open-source code, and regular updates

Cost Benefit Table:

Tool Cost Key Features
Ushahidi Free (Open Source) Mapping, crowdsourcing, data collection, visualization, customizable platform
Crowdmap Free to $99/month Mapping, crowdsourcing, data collection, visualization, limited customization
ESRI ArcGIS Varies (Commercial) Advanced mapping, geospatial analysis, data management, limited customization
Google Maps Varies (Commercial) Mapping, geolocation, routing, street view, limited customization

Installation & Usage: Organizations can choose to self-host Ushahidi or use the cloud-based service. To self-host, download the source code from GitHub and follow the installation guide. For the cloud-based service, sign up at, choose a plan, and create a new deployment.

Once your Ushahidi instance is set up, customize the platform to suit your needs, add data sources, and start collecting information. To maximize the platform’s potential, engage with the active Ushahidi community for support, resources, and best practices.

Read more from their website

Ushahidi can help non-profit organizations in several ways:

  • Ushahidi is an open-source, web-based platform for crisis response, human rights advocacy, and community engagement. It allows nonprofits and social enterprises to gather, analyze, and share real-time data on critical situations¹.
  • Ushahidi uses the concept of crowdsourcing to collect information from various sources, such as SMS, email, web forms, social media, etc. It then uses powerful mapping, data collection, and visualization features to display the information on interactive maps and charts¹².
  • Ushahidi can be used for various purposes, such as monitoring elections, documenting human rights violations, tracking environmental disasters, mapping service delivery, mobilizing volunteers, and more¹³.
  • Ushahidi has been used by over 200,000 deployments in more than 160 countries, including by the United Nations Department of Field Services and Peacekeeping, the Obama Campaign for America 2012, the Nepalese army after the 2015 earthquake, and local activist groups such as Humanitarian Tracker and HarassMap¹².

You can learn more about Ushahidi by visiting their website or their blog.

(1) Ushahidi - Crowdsourcing Solutions to Empower Communities.
(2) Ushahidi - Wikipedia. Ushahidi - Wikipedia
(3) 6 Nonprofits Using Technology to Accomplish Their Missions. Technology for Charities | 6 Nonprofits Using Tech to Accomplish Missions