In continuing its commitment to the development of Ushahidi’s work in Kenya, Ushahidi has just completed a six-month pilot project with the Kenya AIDS NGO’s Consortium (KANCO) to visualize civil society organizations (CSOs) in Kenya providing responses to the HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) epidemics. The project, in collaboration with AIDSPortal, UK, involved modifying the Ushahidi platform for Crowdsourcing Crisis Information in order for KANCO to map its member organizations. This work contributes to KANCO’s mission, “to provide leadership, promote collaboration and enhance capacity among CSOs and other stakeholders to respond to HIV & AIDS and TB at the community level.”
KANCO provides leadership in community systems strengthening (CSS) and policy and advocacy activities across the country. KANCO has extensive experience leading workshops and training for organizations in the field of HIV/AIDS and TB, and these standards for providing CSS were utilized to develop a workshop curriculum, based on the customized Ushahidi platform. In November, two workshops were conducted with 16 participants to gather feedback on platform’s usability. This feedback informed the final customization and last week, Feb. 9-11, a further 23 participants were trained at the KANCO offices in Nairobi. The workshops introduced the three partner organizations, provided background on the project, website demonstration, and user training. Participants were given an hour and a half to browse the website. In particular, they were instructed to search for organizations on the map, learn who’s doing what, where in Kenya, submit their organization’s profile and subscribe to the alerts feature on the map.
Overall, the 3 days of training were a great success. Participants responded positively to the project and enjoyed using the site, especially adding and updating their profiles. Generally participants thought the site was a good tool for networking and partnering, knowledge building, promotion and marketing, advocacy and information sharing. One participant described her experience as, “I have confidence and now I can do it for myself because I have been delegating rather than doing it myself. Others can find us online and may be interested in working with us.”
Currently the KANCO instance does not have a mobile component, but participants liked idea of adding SMS to the site. They thought SMS would be beneficial to them, especially for keeping up-to-date with KANCO and their constituents, particularly in regards to referrals. Participants commented that people are more likely to check SMS than email on a regular basis and that people are comfortable communicating via SMS.
Established in 1990, KANCO is a networking organization with a cumulative membership of over 1000 CSOs. The partnership between KANCO, Ushahidi, and AIDSPortal was established in early 2009 and the pilot project was supported by a Geochallenge Grant, awarded to the team in August 2009. For updates on the project, keep an eye on the KANCO blog.