Face in the Kenyan Crowd

Face in the Kenyan Crowd

These have been boom years for cartography geeks, and talking with Juliana Rotich–the Kenya-based, MIT-trained innovator behind crowdmapping sensation Ushahidi, as well as many other BAFA projects–was one of those interviews that makes it easy to love being a journalist.

The creation of a healthier ecosystem in Nairobi’s Silicon Savannah where entrepreneurs can thrive depends in part on venture capitalists and corporations supporting startups. “What’s good for small- and medium-sized companies is good for big companies,” she says. “It’s one thing to have a good idea. But what about opportunities we are creating–what is the path for somebody with a solid idea?”

Her advice for women with big tech ideas? “It’s not going to be easy. It’s never easy.”

Here’s the story:

A Face in the Kenyan Crowd
Forbes Woman Africa
June/July 2014

BOTTLES OF PERFUME or liquor are standard items in suitcases coming home from a trip to America. But when Juliana Rotich, Co-founder and Executive Director of Ushahidi, heads into customs in Nairobi, immigration officials balk at the circuit boards packed into her bags. Rotich laughs when recalling her explanations to officials about her unusual haul–they help facilitate prototyping new tech solutions in Africa.

Rotich is part of the vanguard of African techies creating “by Africans, for Africans” solutions that respond to the local context and problems that ambitious coders and ordinary cell phone users alike face on the continent. Rather than innovations and technology made “for the developing world,” what they are tending toward, says Rotich, is more collaboration.

Read the full story here.