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Kenyan non-profit Ushahidi and online publication iAfrikan have developed Report Xenophobia to help better understand the landscape of the violent attacks taking place against foreign nationals across the rainbow nation.
Ushahidi was first popularised as a tool when it crowdsourced and mapped violent attacks during the Kenya’s 2007 elections. The open-source software was soon rolled out to be used during the Haiti earthquake in 2010 as well as Chile and many other humanitarian disasters.
Similar to Ushahidi’s other platforms, the system provides a real-time reporting and alerting tool for incidents of xenophobia across the country. Information is collected from the general public using either SMS, e-mail, online form and Twitter.
As stressed by tech humanitarian Patrick Meier in an interview with Memeburn earlier this year, “If you can’t map a need or a damage report it’s not actionable.” Crowdsourcing tools such as these can enable both humanitarian groups and journalists to better understand and ultimately coordinate actions.
The South African police, however, has cautioned the public to stop spreading false reports on xenophobic attacks which have spiked in the country over the past three weeks.
The site does verify the reports after which they’ll be placed on a map and shared with organisations that may find the information useful such as the South African Police Service. The site notes that all identity details of the reporters are kept privately and anonymous.