Ory Okolloh helped put Kenya on the map as a tech innovation hub. She is the co-founder of Ushahidi, an open source crisis-mapping software, which...
Ory Okolloh helped put Kenya on the map as a tech innovation hub. She is the co-founder of Ushahidi, an open source crisis-mapping software, which records acts of violence and calls for accountability, as well as the co-founder of the parliamentary watchdog site Mzalendo, which works to increase government responsibility.
Currently, the Nairobi-based Okolloh serves as Google’s policy manager for Africa. She is also a blogger, using her platform, Kenyan Pundit, to track her work with Mzalendo and other projects. Following the post-election violence in 2007, she collected a series of essays from Kenyans and others detailing their experiences.
“My big project is not directly a project of mine, but a theme that will be very dear and near to me in 2013, growing and nurturing the future African women leaders,” Okolloh says.
She hopes to do this through Akili Dada, an international incubator that helps underserved women transform their communities. Akili (which means intellect and ability) Dada (which means sister), gives direct financial assistance in the form of comprehensive scholarships to enable brilliant, but poor, girls to attend the top high schools they have qualified for but cannot otherwise afford. Akili Dada also mentors the girls and provides them with leadership skills training.
In this vein, Okolloh works to empower Africa through the use of blogging, SMS, and web enabled openness to push countries forward.
“We talk about African governments like they’ve been dropped from Mars, you know? They come from us,” she says.
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