Deploying Ushahidi in Colombia - need advice and web developer


#1

A couple weeks ago I began an initiative to deploy Ushahidi in Colombia. I learned today that Juliana Rotich visited Colombia in 2010.  I am astounded that Ushahidi has not yet been widely deployed in this country, which in many respects is an ideal candidate for the software platform.

Especially this year–it’s a big election year in Colombia. Parliamentary elections were held on March 9 and presidential elections will be held on May 25. There will also be an irregular recall vote on April 6. A recent report by the Electoral Observation Mission (an NGO in Colombia) indicates that most of the country is facing a high risk of fraud and/or violence. There has been at least one assassination attempt on a presidential candidate so far. Tensions run high.

I hope to get Ushaidi up and running in time for the May 25 presidential election and its aftermath. Looking for a web developer suitable for this task. Any advice on the obstacles and challenges I can expect to run into is most welcome.

If you are interested in more info about the Ushahidi Colombia initiative, here is a link to a very short video explaining the project: http://www.rockethub.com/projects/40789-ushahidi-colombia

Thanks


#2

Hi Ben,
I enjoyed your video and this looks like a great project: we’re excited to see you using our software! I’ve got a few thoughts for you on how best to move forward. Since I’m not a developer, I’m going to focus on the “obstacles and challenges” you may face from an organizational standpoint. If you need developer assistance please give us a little more detail and we’ll do our best to respond.

In short, the most successful Ushahidi deployments put a lot of emphasis on strategy and communications around the deployment: training volunteers and the public to submit reports; ensuring that you have a dedicated SMS short code; marketing the deployment so that it has broad visibility… these are all very important. Even setting up a perfect, customized, version of the software won’t matter if nobody knows that your deployment exists or how to report into it. There was recently a very good blog post on our website that details some of these lessons. Another good place to start is the Ushahidi Wiki, which has a “toolkit” section designed to answer some of these questions.

I did a little research in our Ushahidi Time Machine and it appears as though Ushahidi actually has been deployed, previously, for election monitoring in Columbia. The deployment is no longer active but I did find this Vimeo about the deployment which is a) a good example of prepared outreach to and b) seems to bear some of the same logos that appeared on the report in your video: perhaps you could reach out to them? I also found this (Spanish language) write-up about the project that appears to have done in collaboration with the UN.

You can find some installation guidance (system requirements, etc) on our Github page: we use Github as a place to log bugs and share code. We also have regular Skype chats (there’s an icon at the top of this page). And, finally, here’s a (slightly outdated) quick-start guide to election monitoring deployments of Ushahidi. So hopefully these resources can get you started. You can find lots of other examples of how people have used Ushahidi on our Wiki.

Please send us updates of how the project goes: we’d love to hear about it!


#3

Shadrock- Thanks for your very informative reply. Starting from your links to previous deployments of Ushahidi in Colombia, I ended up discovering that there is in fact a deployment happening in the present election cycle! It’s called “Pilas con el Voto.”

http://www.pilasconelvoto.com/

It looks like it’s being used, but hard to tell by just how many voters. I certainly had not heard of it or found it in any of my google searches. Hope the word spreads. I will call off my personal initiative and see what I can do to support “Pilas con el Voto.”


#4

Hi, im Gabriel from Bucaramanga and i’m currently living in germany because of my master studies.
I Worked in 2012 in a research group in the Universidad Industrial de Santander and during that period we worked on an ushahidi deployment for the attention of emergencies in the area of Santander during the raining season that destroy a large part of the countryside of Colombia, here’s the link http://garza.uis.edu.co:8080/emergencia/main

we also found some other deployments in Colombia before we worked on that in 2011-2012 and since then i’ve been away from Ushahidi usage so i really don’t know what have change and what’s new but it’s exciting to know that more people is willing to work with it to improve the country,

Saludos


#5

@Shadrock is spot on with his observations. The campaign around the software installation is much more important than the installation itself.

@ben_schiek, if you still need a developer, I’ve deployed Ushahidi in the past and will be passing through Colombia, but not likely before early May, perhaps even a bit later.
I’m currently in Brazil.


#6

Hello mastababa, I may still need a developer in a few month’s time. All the same I would appreciate the opportunity to meet someone with experience deploying Ushahidi in Latin America, which it sounds like you have. Please let me know when you might be passing through Colombia and if you are available to meet. Thanks.


#7

Gabriel- Thanks for sharing your experience. It is very instructive to collect and review all instances of Ushahidi deployment in Colombia. Eventually it would be nice to set up a permanent deployment throughout the country for natural disasters and/or for security problems. I would like to hear more about your experience if you are available to meet next time you are in Colombia. Good luck with your studies.


#8

I don’t have experience in Colombia. I implemented Ushahidi in Tanzania :smile:

My schedule has become a bit more elastic, but I can keep you posted. Send me an email at babak.fakhamzadeh@gmail.com, so that I can send you one when I’m around.