The Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm established by Ebay founder founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, has committed a $1.4 million grant to tech organization Ushahidi to build an emergency notification system. Ushahidi, which was born out of a crowd-sourcing website used in the aftermath of Kenya's election violence of 2008, seeks to provide an open-source platform for sharing citizen generated emergency information. The investment from the Omidyar Network, is said to allow for the organization to help scale the platform and develop a verification solution for the alerts as well as develop a hub in Kenya.
This is how Usahidi describes its work (from a recent press release):
"Ushahidi's technology allows anyone to submit information through text messaging, email, or web form. The platform enables information to be gathered from multiple locations and visualized on a map or timeline. A wide variety of NGOs and media organizations have deployed Ushahidi; recent applications include monitoring elections in the Congo, India, and Mexico to tracking the availability of medical supplies in Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, and Zambia."
The system has been deployed some 375 times and the organization seeks to partner with NGOs and media organizations for crisis information and use of the system.
Watch a video about Ushahidi: