Our Team

Ory Okolloh - Cofounder & Former Executive Director

Ory Okolloh was one of the founding members of Ushahidi and served as executive director from 2008 through 2010. In early 2011, Ory joined Google as their Policy Manager for Africa. The role will involve developing policies and strategies on a number of areas of relevance to Google and the Internet in Africa and will involve working with different parties including government leaders, policy makers, regulators, and industry groups.

Ory is the Policy Manager, Africa for Google.  She is a co-founder of Ushahidi and served as the organization’s  Executive Director from inception until December 2010. She is also the co-founder of Mzalendo, a website that tracks the performance of Kenyan Members of Parliament.

Ory graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh, and with a J.D. from Harvard Law School.  She was previously a summer associate inCovington and Burling, Washington DC and a Chayes Fellow at the World Bank’s Department of Institutional Integrity.

Ory is a frequent speaker at conferences including TED, World Economic Forum, Poptech, CGI, Techonomy, Mobile Web Africa, and the Monaco Media Forum on issues around citizen journalism, the role of technology in Africa, and the role of young people in reshaping the future of Africa.

Ory currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa with her husband and her two daughters.

Matthew Griffiths

Matthew Griffiths is a software developer and technical architect based in Uganda. Matthew graduated with a first class honours degree in Computer Science and spent eight years architecting and building e-business, e-commerce and financial systems in London. Matthew also holds a current director-level position as CTO ofAppfrica Labs, a Ugandan based software incubator.

Matthew joined Ushahidi in March 2010 as the lead developer and Director of Platform for the Swiftriver project and mostly spends his time trying to make sense of the endless stream of content produced by the Web!

Heather Leson

Heather Leson is Ushahidi’s Director of Community Engagement, a role in which she exercises her passion for community-building, storytelling, and idea hacking.

Heather creates and manages programs for Ushahidi’s diverse community, and mentors members of its open-source developer ecosystem. Her earlier leadership in open source communities such as Random Hacks of Kindness and CrisisCommons saw her successfully organize numerous participant-driven “unconferences” and hackathons.

In addition to her community development work, Heather has 15 years of experience in technical incident management, software life-cycle development, customer care, and Internet communications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Combined Political Science and History from Carleton University in Canada’s capital city of Ottawa, and a Library and Information Technician diploma from Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology in Toronto.

She enjoys sharing stories about tech super heroes on her blog Always interested in hearing from members of the Ushahidi community, reach out to Heather at: hleson@ushahidi.comand @heatherleson.

Heather Ford

Heather Ford is an anthropologist who studies how communities develop alternative systems of trust and authority online. She uses ethnographic methods to study bias, network effects and do behavioral analysis of online communities that either use Ushahidi/Swift tools or who may benefit from them. Heather is recent graduate of the UC Berkeley iSchool Masters of Information Management and Systems program where she looked the social life of information in schools, educational privacy and Africans’ on Wikipedia.

She is a former Wikimedia Foundation Advisory Board member and the former Executive Director of iCommons – an international organisation started by Creative Commons to connect the open education, access to knowledge, free software, open access publishing and free culture communities around the world. She was a co-founder of Creative Commons South Africa and of the South African non-profit, The African Commons Project as well as a community-building initiative called the GeekRetreat – bringing together South Africa’s top web entrepreneurs to talk about how to make the local Internet better.

Brandon Rosage

Brandon Rosage is a web designer and developer from Olympia, Wash. who has spent the past seven years fusing a background in journalism and design to build remarkable web products. Brandon moved from an early career with Washington state newspapers and talk radio networks to building Internet media networks, government web properties and client projects. He designs, develops and advocates for using web standards, “responsive design” and next-generation web technology.

Jon Gosier

Jonathan Gosier is a software developer, writer, social entrepreneur and the founder of the Ugandan software incubator and is a TED Fellow. Appfrica invests in east African software entrepreneurs to create jobs and prevent brain-drain. Jon has served in a number of Director level roles at software companies, most recently as Chief Technical Officer at

Caleb Bell

Caleb is a UI Designer living in Myrtle Beach, SC. Before joining Ushahidi, he practiced web and print design at Design Farm, a small creative studio in Tallahassee. Caleb enjoys using the principles of graphic design to simplify needless complexity. He grew up in Kenya and loves to drink chai with anyone and everyone.

Charl Van Niekerk

Charl van Niekerk is a software developer with over seven years of industry experience building scalable web application back-ends. He obtained his Software Engineering degree from the University of South Africa. He is a strong proponent of web standards and firmly believes it should be illegal to ship binary executables without the corresponding source code.

Brian Muita

Brian is a Nairobi based software developer with five years experience in the industry and has been a volunteer with Ushahidi since 2008, when he set up the FrontlineSMS to relay SMS reports for the November 2008 Ushahidi DRC instance setup to track eastern Congo conflict.

Prior to joining Ushahidi, he was responsible for the development, maintenance and support of the postpaid billing system at a local telco and had previously worked in the development of systems for managing higher education institutions and also in the provision of open source managed services to clients around Nairobi.

Ahmed Maawy

Ahmed Maawy is a software development guru, developing on desktop, mobile and web platforms. His experience ranges from enterprise systems development to online marketing and mobile data collection. He has worked with companies such as Kenya Airways and the Romanian Tarom Airlines. In the past, he has also served in technical management positions. He has a Degree in Business Information Technology from the Malaysian Limkokwing University of Creative Technology. During his free time, Ahmed loves to spend time with family, close relatives and friends. In addition to that, he also enjoys coding something very challenging or reading about astronomy, science and technology as well as watching the Discovery or National Geographic channels. As a hobby, he enjoys walking around and traveling along the coastal towns of Kenya, visiting and spending time with his family and friends.