- Title: Kenyan IT pioneer Juliana Rotich wins German Africa Prize
- Date: 23rd October 2019
- Summary: BERLIN, GERMANY (OCTOBER 22, 2019) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) GERMAN AFRICA PRIZE WINNER JULIANA ROTICH, SAYING: "The idea behind Ushahidi when we started it over ten years ago was to provide a channel, a way for people to report and to say where they are and what it is they see. The word 'Ushahidi' means 'witness' or 'to bare witness'. It evolved into a technology platform that was instrumental in helping people to organise around elections, to have some public accountability of election processes from Zambia to Panama to Mexico and many other countries."
- Embargoed: 6th November 2019 18:21
- Keywords: German Africa Prize Juliana Rotich Kenya Ushahidi software platform election monitoring German chancellor Angela Merkel
- Location: BERLIN, GERMANY / NAIROBI, NAKURU + NGONG HILLS, KENYA
- City: BERLIN, GERMANY / NAIROBI, NAKURU + NGONG HILLS, KENYA
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA007B2BG6L3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Kenyan IT pioneer Juliana Rotich is the winner of this year's German Africa Prize. The co-founder of the software project Ushahidi, which was introduced to monitor violence in Kenya following the 2007 elections, was awarded the prize by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who praised Rotich for her sense of intuition in political and social events as well as calling the entrepreneur a worthy winner of the prize.
Juror and Africa expert Klaus Stecker said it was also an achievement that Rotich had risen beyond the expectations of girls from her village.
Chancellor Merkel said Rotich was an inspiration whose achievements went well beyond the borders of her own country.
In an interview with Reuters TV, 42-year-old Rotich, who was selected from a list of 18 nominees, said she prize meant a lot to her "because where I work in fact the people that I work with are young people who are interested to making a difference through technology and I am hoping that this prize also honours their dreams and their hopes for Africa to continue progressing and continue to make an impact through the skills that they have which more often than not includes technology skills, the ability to create platforms but more so the ability to solve problems that they see around them."
After its start Ushahidi evolved into a technology platform that was instrumental in helping people to organise around elections," Rotich explained, "to have some public accountability of election processes from Zambia to Panama to Mexico and many other countries."
The idea of crowd sourcing became an additional channel for Ushahidi that could be used to indicate reports particularly from people that voices were not heard otherwise. "So Ushahidi became an organisation that helped people to use technology to have a voice and then also to be able to process crisis information," added Rotich.
Rotich went on to find another project with her partners called BRCK, a technological company that enables internet connection in low infrastructure environments. Their main product is a battery-operated modem that can run for up to eight hours without electricity.
The German Africa Prize has been annually awarded by the German Africa Foundation since 1993 in order to honour "outstanding individuals for their long-standing endeavors to foster democracy, peace, human rights, art, culture, the social market economy and social concerns."
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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