ARISE 100 Women: Ory Okolloh

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Words Kiran Yoliswa

Activist, lawyer and blogger Ory Okolloh is making the most of Kenya’s tech reputation to drive social change. In 2006 she co-founded the watchdog site Mzalendo that tracks the performance of Kenyan members of parliament to increase government accountability. During the disputed presidential election in 2008 she helped set up the crowdsourcing platform Ushahidi (Swahili for “testimony”) to map reports of violence. It now has 45,000 users in Kenya alone and is used in other countries. Kenya-based Okolloh is now Google’s Policy Manager for Africa, a legal consultant for NGOs and runs her own personal blog, Kenyan Pundit.

What drives you?

The desire to make a difference in the world I am living in and to leave a legacy.

What do you see as the future of Africa?

Its young people and its talent, if we can be better at harnessing both.

What advice do you have for anyone starting out in your industry?

There is no substitute for excellence.

What are the main challenges you find yourself facing?

Not having enough hours in the day to do everything that I would like to do.

In boardrooms and parliaments, on television and the stage, women are increasingly making their presence felt across Africa and on the world stage. The inaugural ARISE 100 list champions just some of the remarkable women shaping modern Africa today.

Tags: politics, news

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