Women in Technology: Juliana Rotich


This year ELLE honors nine women who are educating, rebuilding, doctoring, employing, and sustaining the world.

Juliana Rotich, 33

Cofounder and executive director of Ushahidi.com

The Problem:  The 2007 election violence in Kenya caused a media blackout; no one knew where it was safe to travel, where food was available, or whether banks were open.

Big Idea:  Through it all, cell phones worked. With other Kenyans, Rotich created Ushahidi.com, an interactive, open-source map that pooled user-generated data about conflict zones, texted by phone, to a central online platform. You could text: “Violent mob at such and such corner,” and the report popped up as a coded dot on the map. “The moment the map went up, we knew we were making a difference. It gave us a chance to do something positive for our country. Frankly, entering data into a site gave us a purpose.”