So the week has started with a bang in the African tech scene as Ushahidi has reportedly been covering an executive sexual harassment assaults, with the claims of protecting the well-being of the ecosystem! Really?  but 2017 has been a ‘Sexual-harassment year’ for most Tech Executives around the world if you did notice.  Despite Ushahidi making the headlines last year with bagging in a couple of awards and coming up with solutions to help in the American Voting system, this year it has turned out to be the opposite of that.

On our Clouds apparently, the winds blew towards Ushahidi,  a company that helps people or organisations report incidents of violence, harassment and crime Helping people raise their voice and those who serve them to listen and respond better” . Yes, quite ironical, What you give is what you get, they report now they are being reported, though the information is not quite clear yet of whether this is true or false,  we have tried to get in contact with the teams at Ushahidi but it has been in vain.

According to reports from Techweez: “they claim the executive has had a series of series of sexual harassments on the women in the company, and it has been brought to the attention of the board but it just fades away”

With an Article written by Techcrunch, We now see the need for a Sexual Harassment Policy in the ecosystem, since the departments in charge fail to address the problems around the world. This is a culture that doesn’t need cultivation and forgiveness, we need to uproot it before it ruins the walls of our ecosystem, Quoting Techcrunch “Startup founders deserve formal protection from sexual harassment by investors. Yet despite the clear power imbalance between these groups, traditional harassment law does not adequately shield founders because they are not technically employees of the venture capitalists. To fill this gap, venture capital firms should adopt formal investor/founder sexual harassment policies that can be consistently enforced.”  Now you can clearly see it’s not an Internal war between the bosses but also the Investors have been found to affect the functionalities of a startup by harassing the founders, Luckily a group met and came up with a Template for the policy on their ecosystem. 

The Ushahidi claims may not be the first, probably its just one of those that has just exploded among many not only in the Organisation but also so many others around the Continent and country, and Ushahidi’s board having members of BRCK, a company that designs portable wifi hotspots targeted at remote areas without stable internet connection and also recently got into the education space with BRCK education. This may have an effect on the organisation when it comes to many out an in tasks and relationships with the ecosystem. We hope they are to deal with this issue if the information may be true but we are still waiting for the company to state its words on the matter.

UPDATE: There is this document that has no letterhead, is unsigned and undated, titled Ushahidi Statement that’s supposed to be the Ushahidi board statement, shared by Juliana Rotich. See message below, and attached below, the document.

Statement from Ushahidi Board on alleged sexual harassment claim

We wish to make the following clarifications on the alleged sexual harassment claim: The Ushahidi Board is fully aware of an alleged sexual harassment claim lodged by an employee (who has since chosen to leave the company), against one of our senior employees and has prioritised an internal inquiry into the matter.

Ushahidi, as a matter of policy and practice, does not in any way condone sexual harassment and treats any such allegation seriously.

The Board has offered avenues for due process to the Parties involved, assisted by their Legal Counsel, and has undertaken reasonable steps to ensure they are afforded a fair hearing in accordance with the Laws of Kenya and our internal policies and procedures. Investigations are still underway and once they are complete, the Board will act appropriately as permitted by Law and Ushahidi Policies.

At Ushahidi, we pride ourselves in our efforts to help give a voice to those marginalised in Society and encourage those who serve them to listen and respond effectively. We consistently encourage all staff members to live by our vision and values and therefore welcome the transparency and candour of the Staff Members involved.

We wish to reiterate that we are taking this claim seriously and will strive to seek a fair and just conclusion to the matter in accordance with the Law as soon as is reasonably possible. Ushahidi-Statement_10_07_2017

Featured Image by Eric Palma

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