TechChange Lands in Kenya

Jordan and I are happily ensconced at the Partnership for Peace office here in Kisumu, Kenya preparing to facilitate a course with local leaders on the use of FrontlineSMS and Ushahidi.  This is exciting, especially as Kenya is preparing for another round of elections soon and will be using a new voting system in this round of elections.

We received a warm welcome from our hosts here in Kisumu, and are excited to get the training program underway.  When we first met the group we’re working with, the enthusiasm for seeing the software at work came through very clearly.  We had a nice coffee break with the office staff, discussed Kenyan and American politics, and learned a bit more about the context of the upcoming elections and how the new constitution is shaping political life.

Jordan, who is based in Nairobi this summer, has gotten our technical side up and running.  While the course has aspects of discussion and lecture, the primary activity is the day-long election simulation where participants will actually use the FrontlineSMS and Ushahidi platforms to monitor and manage a simulated election.  This hands-on experience really makes the course tangible to all levels of participants.  It creates great energy the first time a team goes through the process of setting up their platform, sends a message to their team members, and receives a response that automatically updates on a map!

Keep an eye on the TechChange blog for more on how the course is going, as well as photos and perhaps some video of the participants working through the simulation Thursday!