This Is Juliana Rotich & She Might Just Change the World Through Tech!

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“What are you fixing?” “What are you making?” “Who are you helping?”

Source: techcentral.co.za
Source: techcentral.co.za

As head of the Computer Club in a Kenyan high school, it is entirely possible that Juliana’s passion for all things tech was interwoven in her genes from birth.

As if to buttress the point, Juliana studied Computer Science at the University of Missouri in the United States and thus cemented her fate.

Upon graduation, she worked as a Conferencing Agent and Accounts Specialist at the Sprint Nextel Corporation from 1999 to 2005, supplementing her income with extra work as a Network Operations Engineer for a data centre.

From 2005 to 2006, Juliana worked as an Expert Accounts Specialist at Intercall Inc., switching to work for the National Seminars Group (RUCECI) as an Email and Database Specialist. From 2007 – 2008, she worked as a Data Analyst for Hewitt Associates, and after a decade of garnering multi-faceted experience, she was ready, the time was ripe!

In 2007, a TED Africa fellowship took Juliana to Tanzania where she met Erik Hersman and Ory Okolloh; the sparks flew and a year later, Ushahidi –Tesitimony- was birthed with Juliana as Co-founder and presently, Executive Director.

Ushahidi is a non-profit tech company that specializes in developing free and open source software for information collection, visualization and interactive mapping.

Juliana Rotich
Credit: jambonewspot.com

We build tools for democratizing information, increasing transparency and lowering the barriers for individuals to share their stories.

Ushahidi was initially developed to map reports of violence in Kenya after the post-election fallout at the beginning of 2008, and by 2009, it had experienced an evolution into a serious enterprise which was used to monitor humanitarian crises around the world.

International relief organisations are using this platform and it has already been applied in countries such as Haiti, Chile and Palestine.

It was used for disaster support during the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, during the oil spill in New Orleans, the al-Shabaab terrorist attack at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya and for non-crisis uses such as tracking commodity prices in Afghanistan; monitoring elections; and finding public works of art, crime and even burgers. And with the able assistance of Google, the Ford Foundation, the Knight Foundation, Cisco, Mozilla and a half-dozen more, Ushahidi’s maps are all reported by real boots, shoes and sandals on the ground. http://www.ozy.com/rising-stars-and-provocateurs/juliana-rotich-lighting-candles-cursing-the-darkness/6034.article

Ushsahidi has developed a new device –the BRCK- which has been billed as a “backup generator for the Internet.” The device, shaped like a brick but not quite that large, is designed to provide both backup power and connectivity along with the sensors needed to serve as a weather station as well as room for future expansion. The idea for BRCK was birthed from an offshoot of Ushahidi; the iHub, a technology co-working space in Nairobi described as “part open community workspace (co-working), part vector for investors and VCs and part incubator.”

Juliana Rotich
Source: etalks.me

As a blogger, Juliana has authored articles on Afrigadget.com, acted as Environmental Editor of Global Voices Online, and blogs on Afromusing.com.

A TED Senior Fellow, in 2011, Juliana was named Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year in Africa by the World Economic Forum and in 2013, Ushahidi won the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. In 2013, she was honored with with an Impact Award at the DLDwomen 2013 conference in Munich, Germany; an award initiated to recognize women whose outstanding commitment makes changes in society happen.

Juliana also serves on the advisory council of Microsoft 4Afrika and is a Director’s Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston.

As would be expected, she is involved with various initiatives to encourage women to consider careers in technology. These include Akirachix, an initiative headed by Linda Kamal, an Ushahidi developer and Mobisoko, a mobile marketplace for language and location relevant apps in Africa.

Wow! I had to catch a breath myself! The sky is just the starting point for this beautiful, techie African woman, whose life’s philosophy revolves around these questions,

“What are you fixing?” “What are you making?” “Who are you helping?”

Any answers Konnect Africans?

Learn. Think. Act. Repeat!

© 2014 – 2017, Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya. All rights reserved.

2 COMMENTS

  1. beautifully written article of a different African. really been searching for a female African programmer and here’s the story of one of them. This story should also contain the challenges that she has gone through for the sake of completeness to avoid the believe that all had been a smooth ride for her.
    The inspiration from this is cogent and let’s avoid Adiche’s “danger of the single story” as we tell African stories the African way.

    Demilade blogs about tech, inspiration, motivation and opportunities at http://www.spectacles.com.ng

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