Ory Okolloh?is regarded as one of the most influential women in technology around the world. Born in Kenya, she eventually went on to earn an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh and a Doctorate of Law from Harvard University. She holds an accomplished resume with experiences at the Kenyan National Commision on Human Rights, the World Bank and at the firm Covington and Burling in Washington, DC.
The self professed (absolutely cool!) nerd has helped to evolve the way by which Africans can express their voices, through the use of technology. In 2003, she co-founded?Mzalendo?(which means “Patriot” in Swahili), in order to increase government accountability by documenting parliamentary activities for the general public. In response to the violence that erupted in early 2008 following the much disputed 2007 Kenyan presidential election, she helped to create?Ushahidi?(which means “Testimony” in Swahili), a non-profit platform that is meant to collect and record real time eyewitness reports of violence using text messages (SMS) and google maps. This technology has since been adapted for use across the continent as well as globally; ?It has been used to launch humanitarian efforts in Haiti and Chile after the?devastating?earthquakes in 2012, coordinate volunteer efforts during Russia’s wildfire outbreak and to map roadblocks and detours during the snowstorms in Washington, DC.
Ory Okolloh is certainly a voice to be reckoned with. As a leader with a heart for youth activisim, citizen journalism and technology in Africa, she has spoken at conferences like TED, World Economic Forum, Mobile Web Africa to mention a few. She runs her own blog,?Kenyapundit.com?, and is currently Google’s Policy Manager in Africa. She resides in Johannesburg, South Africa.