Mr Daudi Were
Daudi Were is the Executive Director at Ushahidi a global technology company founded in Kenya whose mission is to change the way information flows in the world. Ushahidi builds digital tools and run programs to give marginalised people a voice. Since 2008, the Ushahidi Platform has grown to be the world-class open-source tool for human rights activism, crisis response, and civilian empowerment. http://www.ushahidi.com
Calling Corruption By Name
Many African languages do not have a word for corruption. This is not to say that dishonest or fraudulent conduct never happens in African communities. Rather, like in many societies around the world, we called the corrupt for what they are; thieves, liars, oppressors, murderers. We are told of the heavy stigma that came with these labels. Liars and oppressors were not allowed to hold positions of authority, thieves and murderers dared not show their faces in public. It was impossible to be corrupt without consequences. Compare this to one of the main challenges in the fight against corruption today, the lack of accountability for those who participate in corruption no matter how bright the spotlight of transparency that we shine is.
At Ushahidi we build tools for anti corruption initiatives around the world. Over the past seven years, the Ushahidi Platform has been deployed more than 90,000 times in more than 159 countries, in 45 local languages, with 5 million testimonies, reaching nearly 18 million people all towards increasing transparency and accountability. The platform has become a replicable solution for people worldwide to monitor services, fight corruption, track human rights abuses and more.
We understand how innovation in technology mean that government and people can interact like never before and we want to seize this moment and harness the power of new technologies to re-empower people to make their governments more effective and accountable. We understand the key role technology plays today in citizen voice and transparency for achieving accountable responsive governance. We also understand the limitations of technology.
Entrenched, complex, cultural problems such as corruption require long term, complex, cultural solutions. To fight the evolving nature of corruption today effectively we believe technology is necessary but not sufficient. It is crucial we build people centred partnerships and strategies. Partnerships where ordinary people lead, recognising their expertise on their communities, and strategies that empower ordinary people. Citizens should be empowered to fulfil their role as the vanguard against corruption through public pressure and public debate. Ordinary people have demonstrated again and again that they are willing to take the responsibility for their own development and act as co-creators of democracy when exposed to relevant information and availed practical tools through which they can raise their voice effectively.
To reclaim our countries from corruption we have to deliberately broaden the anti-corruption champions’ tent to include new strategies, new partnerships, new experts and new tools that work together to ensure there is no social space or reward for thieves, liars, oppressors and murderers.