Ory Okolloh maintains the blog Mzalendo, providing an unprecedented look at the doings of Kenya's parliament — information once unavailable to Kenyan citizens.

Why you should listen

Ory Okolloh is a blogger and open-government activist. She runs Mzalendo, a pioneering civic website that tracks the performance of Kenya's Parliament and its Parliamentarians. With a vote tracker, articles and opinion pieces, the site connects Kenyans to their leaders and opens the lid on this powerful and once-secretive body. (This is a Parliament that finally agreed to have its procedings televised in August 2008.)

Okolloh's own blog is called Kenyan Pundit, and it tracks her work with Mzalendo and her other efforts as part of the rebuilding of Kenya, following the post-election violence in late 2007 (she collected a powerful series of diaries of the violence, dozens of essays from Kenyans and others -- well worth a read).

Okolloh is part of a wave of young Africans who are using the power of blogging, SMS and web-enabled openness to push their countries forward and help Africans to truly connect. Tools like Ushahidi help to link a people whose tribal differences, as Okolloh points out again and again, are often cynically exploited by a small group of leaders. Only by connecting Africans can this cycle be broken.

What others say

“We feel that Kenyans not only have "a right to know” but also need to take a more active role in determining their country's role -- this is our effort to do more than just complain about how things are not working in Kenya.” — from "What Is Mzalendo?"

Ory Okolloh’s TED talk

Ory Okolloh on the TED Blog

4 great talks for International Women's Day

March 8, 2009

To celebrate March 8, International Women’s Day, we suggest these four TEDTalks gems from some amazing speakers — artists, scientists and economists who think deeply about the role of women. Author and activist Isabel Allende discusses women, creativity, feminism — and the power of passionate thinkers and doers: The former Finance Minister of Nigeria, Ngozi […]

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The making of an activist: Ory Okolloh on TED.com

August 28, 2008

In a moving, personal talk, blogger and activist Ory Okolloh tells the story of her life and her family — and how she came to do her heroic work reporting on the doings of Kenya’s parliament. (Recorded June 2007 in Arucha, Tanzania. Duration: 16:37.) Watch Ory Okolloh’s talk on TED.com, where you can download this […]

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Quotes from Ory Okolloh

We talk about African governments like they’ve been dropped from Mars, you know? They come from us.
Ory Okolloh
TEDGlobal 2007 • 225K views Aug 2008
Inspiring, Courageous