Episode 20: How Ushahidi is Using Crowdsourcing to Help Community Disaster Response and Recovery

March 28, 2023

In this episode, I chat with Angela Oduor Lungati, the CEO of Ushahidi. Ushahdi is a mobile platform dubbed “Africa’s Gift to Silicon Valley” by the New York Times. Born out of a crisis, the open-source software enables virtually anyone with a cellphone or internet connection to efficiently crowdsource information, map it and share it with those the most in need and guide those who can provide aid. Ushahidi is a powerful planning and decision-making tool for communities and cities in the midst of an emergency and has been used by groups worldwide to track everything from COVID-19 recovery to police brutality and everything in between. 

In this episode, you'll learn about:

  • how Ushahidi has been leveraged by communities and governments worldwide, 
  • how to keep communities at the center of innovation, 
  • and much more!

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Guest: Angela Oduor Lungati, Ushahidi

Angela is a technologist, community builder and open-source software advocate who is passionate about building and using appropriate technology tools to impact the lives of marginalised groups. She currently serves as the Executive Director at Ushahidi, a global non-profit technology company that helps communities quickly collect and share information that enables them to raise voices, inform decisions and influence change. She’s also a co-founder of AkiraChix, and serves on the Board of Directors of Creative Commons.


  • 5:17 | Can you walk me through the process of using the platform?
  • 8:32 | Who are the typical users of Ushahidi actually creating the deployments vs the people using it?
  • 9:47 | How does Ushahidi make the software accessible to both those collecting the data and those viewing the final maps?
  • 12:58 | What have been some of the challenges of getting communities to actually use the platform and take part in this crowd-sourcing process?
  • 16:44 | Can you share some examples of projects that have been created by Ushahidi that you find particularly noteworthy?
  • 22:54 | Why is crowd-sourcing data important for city builders?
  • 24:47 | What do you think city-builders should consider in ensuring that the smart cities of today don’t leave anyone behind?
  • 26:56 | What kind of policies or partnerships do you think cities/ governments can provide to organizations like yourself to expand the reach of your work?
  • 28:47 | What's next for Ushahidi?
  • 30:52 | How can people support the work that you’re doing?

Show Notes




This episode is co-sponsored by the University of Toronto School of Cities and the Department of Geography and Planning. 

The School of Cities "convenes urban-focused researchers, educators, students, practitioners and the general public to explore and address complex urban challenges, with the aim of making cities and urban regions more sustainable, prosperous, inclusive and just". To learn more about the School of Cities visit www.schoolofcities.utoronto.ca

To learn more about the Department of Geography and Planning and the different undergraduate and graduate programs available please visit www.geography.utoronto.ca.

  • Editor and Music Producer: Imany Lambropoulos
  • Podcast Host and Graphic Designer: Alexandra Lambropoulos

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Reach Symposium 2022: A Discussion on Resilient Cities for Sustainable Development with the Mayor of Freetown, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr

October 23, 2022
Reach Symposium 2022:  A Discussion on Resilient Cities for Sustainable Development with the Mayor of Freetown, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr

In April 2022, I had the pleasure of speaking with Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr about her work in Freetown, Sierra Leone and her take on resilient cities as part of the annual Reach Alliance Symposium: Resilient Together: Pathways for Sustainable Development. 

We spoke of the city's #FreetownTheTreeTown initiative, the importance of community and youth engagement and what it takes to make cities more resilient to climate change and meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To hear the Mayor's keynote address and our interview tune in below:

To listen to other discussions held during the symposium, please visit https://reachalliance.org/2022-symposium/


  • 15:20 | What do you recommend other cities do to ensure that they are meaningfully engaging with their communities when tackling climate change? And why is having a comunity-oriented approach to tackling climate change so important for resilience and sustainable development?
  • 26:20 | It is often said that the next generation of young leaders are agents of change and are valuable contributors to climate action. Why do you think this is true and critical not only for climate action but for achieving the SDGs? How have young leaders played a role in the City of Freetown's success?
  • 29:50 | What makes cities uniquely positioned to drive change and advance the achievement of the SDGs?

Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, Mayor of Freetown

Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE was sworn in as mayor of Freetown in May 2018 with a commitment to transform Freetown using an inclusive, data-driven approach to address challenges in the city. The 3-year Transform Freetown plan details 19 concrete targets across 11 sectors and covers issues ranging from tackling environmental degradation to facilitating the creation of jobs in the tourism sector. A finance professional with over 25 years of private sector experience in strategic planning, risk management consulting and project management, Mayor Aki-Sawyerr’s public sector engagement began with her work during the 2014–2015 Ebola epidemic and her subsequent role as Delivery Team Lead for the second phase of a multi-stakeholder program to drive socioeconomic recovery in Sierra Leone post Ebola. Mayor Aki-Sawyerr is a chartered accountant and holds an MSc in Politics of the World Economy from the London School of Economics and a BSc Hons in Economics from Fourah Bay College. She was recently recognized in the BBC 2020 100 Women list.

To learn more about the City of Freetown and Mayor Aki-Sawyerr's work, please visit https://fcc.gov.sl/

About the Reach Alliance

The Reach Alliance, founded in 2015 at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, in partnership with the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, was inspired by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Reach is a student-driven, faculty-mentored research and leadership initiative examining how critical interventions and innovations reach those who are the hardest to reach: those living in extreme poverty, the geographically remote, administratively invisible and marginalized. Our research has been featured in leading outlets, and our in-depth case studies are available on the Reach website.

The Reach Alliance recruits top students – equipping the next generation of leaders, to produce actionable insights – and catalyzes impact through our institutional partners.

To learn more about The Reach Alliance, please visit https://reachalliance.org/

Épisode 19: Comment le Centre d'Art Waza fait la promotion des artistes et de l'art populaire à Lubumbashi

October 09, 2022
Épisode 19: Comment le Centre d'art Waza fait la promotion des artistes et de l'art populaire à Lubumbashi | #Podcast #Urbanisme #Villescréatives

En novembre 2021, j'ai eu le plaisir de parler avec M. Patrick Mudekereza le Directeur Exécutif du Centre d'Art Waza. Le Centre d'art Waza, situé à Lubumbashi, en République démocratique du Congo une ville désignée en 2015 par l'UNESCO, comme étant la Ville créative d'artisanat et des arts populaires. Ainsi, pendant notre discussion nous parlons par rapport de la créativité des Lushois, du rôle de l'art public dans la ville, les projets divers dirigés par le Centre et ce qui fait de Lubumbashi une Ville Créative.

Dans cet épisode, vous découvrirez:

  • pourquoi l’art public est si important pour les villes et les communautés qui les accueillent,
  • l'histoire de la ville de Lubumbashi d'un perspective artistique,
  • qu’est-ce qui fait de Lubumbashi une ville aussi créative,
  • et bien plus encore!

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Invité: Patrick Mudekereza, Centre d'art Waza

Patrick Mudekereza est le Directeur Exécutif du Centre d’Art Waza, écrivain et opérateur culturel.


  • 2:40 | Est-ce que vous pouvez me dire qu’est qui vous a inspiré a créé ce centre?
  • 7:08 | Est-ce que tu peux expliquer un peu plus par rapport au programme et aux activités culturelles que vous offrez au centre?
  • 11:07 | Est-ce que tu peux expliquer un peu plus par rapport au Mitaani Mapping Moments?
  • 18:01 | Selon vous, pourquoi l’art public est-il si important pour les villes et les communautés qui les accueillent?
  • 24:27 | C’est quoi ce projet Waza Wazi? Selon vous, pourquoi est-il important d’avoir un centre d’art à Lubumbashi? 
  • 29:18 | A ce propos, Lubumbashi est la ville créative de l’artisanat et de l’art populaire désignée par l’UNESCO, mais à votre avis, qu’est-ce qui fait de Lubumbashi une ville aussi créative?
  • 37:10 | D’après vous, quel genre de soutien (ex. politiques, partenariats, etc.) les villes devraient-elles offrir à des organisations comme la vôtre pour appuyer la créativité des citoyens et pour aider à établir des centres culturels?
  • 41:27 | Comment voyez-vous l'évolution de Waza? Quels sont les autres projets sur lesquels le centre travaille?
  • 46:42 | Comment les gens peuvent-ils s'impliquer davantage avec le centre? 

Notes de l'émission



Cet épisode est co-parrainé par l'Université de Toronto School of Cities et le Département de Geographie et de l'Aménagement 

The School of Cities, ​convoque des chercheurs, des éducateurs, des étudiants, des praticiens et le grand public axés sur l'urbain pour explorer et relever des défis urbains complexes, dans le but de rendre les villes et les régions urbaines plus durables, prospères, inclusives et justes". Pour en savoir plus sur ​The School of Cities visitez www.schoolofcities.utoronto.ca

Pour en savoir plus sur le Département de géographie et d'aménagement et les différents programmes de premier cycle veuillez visitez www.geography.utoronto.ca.

  • Monteur et producteur de musique: Imany Lambropoulos
  • Animatrice de podcast et graphiste: Alexandra Lambropoulos

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Urban Limitrophe is a podcast exploring the various initiatives happening in cities across the African continent to creatively solve problems, support their communities, create vibrant urban spaces, and build better cities overall. Tune in to catch interviews with various guests!

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