Erik Hersman harnesses Africa’s boundless spirit of innovation by creating platforms to improve daily lives both inside and outside the continent.

Why you should listen

Hersman is the CEO of BRCK, a rugged, self-powered, mobile Wi-Fi device that connects people and things to the Internet in areas of the world with poor infrastructure. He leads a number of web and mobile projects through organizations including iHub, a Nairobi community center that’s an epicenter for Kenya’s booming tech industry. The mobile app Ushahidi, which he co-developed, allows users to share breaking news through text messaging and continues to revolutionize and empower journalists, watchdog groups and everyday people around the world.

What others say

“I recently watched a talk about a new online tool called Ushahidi (Kenyan for "witness") and the great value of donating time and knowledge on a global scale. It further confirmed for me that there is a solution to the problems facing the less fortunate: Compassion is the answer.” — Aloe Blacc, WP

Erik Hersman’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Erik Hersman

Ushahidi: Tapping the human resource

December 8, 2009

Ushahidi’s new video explains how it crowdsources crisis information via text messaging and the web so citizens can easily access the latest reports (represented visually on GoogleMaps) and swiftly respond to crisis developments. Initially a quick fix scraped together in two days to track violence following Kenya’s 2008 election, the open source platform has evolved […]

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Ushahidi wins $200K MacArthur grant

May 11, 2009

Ushahidi — a crisis-tracking tool with roots in TEDGlobal 2007 — has been awarded a $200,000 grant for development from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The Ushahidi mapping tool was developed by Erik Hersman, Ory Okolloh and Juliana Rotich, who’d met as TED Fellows at the 2007 TEDGlobal conference in Arusha, Tanzania, […]

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