October 10, 2023 - Digital Impact Exchange - Reference Group Meeting



Oct 10, 2023

Meeting Recording

Recording URL: Reference Group Meeting





Introductions and agenda overview

@Sainabou Jallow (Unlicensed)

5 mins


Product Updates

@Sarah Farooqi, Exchange Product Owner

30 mins

PPT deck - product updates and status of the vendor storefronts, RFP radar and product comparison tool.

Key highlights

Q&A, Comments and Feedback

  • Regarding multi-tenancy of the Exchange, where would the different data be maintained and how will data sensitivity and privacy be upheld?

    • This topic will be a discussion that is prioritized when engaging with countries and organizations interested in this white labeling offering. Making sure privacy and legal regulations are addressed.

  • Who are the target clients for the Exchange and what methods are being used to seek/acquire these clients?

    • The Exchange only has two full time people and a few staff members at DIAL who dedicate some time to support on this. DIAL has a network of countries that it works with, outreach is being done with the countries we work with through the support of the DIAL country engagement team based in Africa.

    • Target clients - Ministries of ICT and other international organizations that are working with both vendors and government actors on digital transformation efforts.

    • Conversations are also taking place with G20 to create a white labeled version of the Exchange for them.

  • What can the Reference Group members do to promote the Exchange and its adoption?

    • Members can disseminate link to the Exchange with their network and encourage vendors they know to create storefronts. Here is the playbook that provides step by step guidelines on how to create a storefront.

    • Members are requested to connect the Exchange team with countries and/or organizations that might be interested in the white labeling and multi-tenancy offering.

  • Who are the expected user base and the current user base of the Exchange - where are they located and are there target locations?

    • Objective of the Exchange is to be a neutral platform, we would be more than happy to have it take off in different countries.

    • Based on the current user dashboard/matrix, we have a good mix of people from the global north and south looking for products and information.

    • There's a lot of interest from demand side actors, but also supply side actors - vendors and product owners keen to utilize the platform to promote their products and services.

  • What is sustainability model?

    • Currently there is no revenue being generated, the team is looking into different funding models. The Exchange is funded by donors. Sustainability concept is to drive usage of the platform whereby demand and supply side actors find it valuable and worthwhile to keep coming back to use the features available.

    • Donors keen to have their own instance of the platform might be open to funding the platform.

    • Organizations and companies that find value in the Exchange’s RFP feature might be willing to finance some instance of this if it effectively increases their application pool.

  • Recommendation for the Exchange team to organize personal trainings of how to use the platform and benefits of the system. This would lead to increase usage, embrace/adoption of the technology by the open source world, promote community building and sustainability of the platform.

    • Trainings might also support in identifying additional customers.

Member Spotlight - Ushahidi

Daniel Odongo, Implementation Lead at Ushahidi

20 mins

PPT deck presented on Ushahidi and the technology they build and use in their areas of work.


  • Founded in Kenya in 2008 as a crowdsourcing tool, to address the post election violence in Kenya that took place then. Overall mission of Ushahidi is to empower communities to thrive as a result of access to data and technology.

    • The tool has now evolved into a feature rich engagement platform that's used by organizations both large and small to collect, manage, visualize, and respond to millions of incoming reports around the world.

  • Strategy of 2020 to 2026, is to raise 20 million voices around the world by offering data management functionalities that helps users understand what's taking place on the ground with a near real time feed of data insights and visualization of events as they unfold.

  • Currently evolving into a data company that is also addressing climate action.

  • Ushahidi has been deployed in 160 countries. Example of use cases:

  • Key learnings they have realized from their work:

    • Technology is actually very useless if if it's not accessible or people don't know how to use it. This insight has informed their decision to waive fees on the hosted service and continue to provide their open source platform at no cost to communities that need it.

    • Technology needs to adapt the emerging needs of our users - Ushahidi is tapping into machine learning and AI capabilities to improve the efficiency of data collection and management.

  • Ushahidi has increased engagement with development partners to provide them with strategic support and trainings so that the communities these actors work with can leverage technology to achieve their goals.

  • They are currently developing toolkits to promote offline engagement in order to reach marginalized and underserved communities.

Q&A, Comments and Feedback

  • Ushahidi’s platform comes across as a subset of what UNDRR is trying to do .

    • Ushahidi is already working with UNDP and open to collaborating with other UN agencies. 

  • How does Ushahidi collaborate or engage with governments?

    • In Kenya, for example, they have had a lot of government engagements to inform them of what is taking place in the marginalized and underserved communities in Kenya.

      • They provide recommendations on key policy areas for advocacy based on reports their tool has collected. As well as policy engagement on data protection and privacy, especially using low tech tools.

  • Question regarding the data - has the team at Ushahidi considered implementing a standardized semantic language to describe the data on their platform, which would then make it interoperable with other sources with similar data?

    • In terms of interoperability, Ushahidi has an integration that enables data acquired through the deployments of their tool to be accessible and reusable by all stakeholders.

      • Data privacy guidelines and protection are followed.

  • Are there any existing data standards such as the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), that the Ushahidi team taps into for humanitarian response data?

    • is a really the gold standard when it comes to semantics -  almost a GitHub equivalent for the evolution of semantic language around specific data.

  • Recommendation for Ushahidi to: really focus on a very robust semantic description of their data and achieve semantic data quality at the point of entry, and look into the Sendai Frameworks, developed by the UNDR to be the guiding framework for reporting any sort of disaster.

Brainstorm session: scaling reach of marketplace features and promotion of the vendor storefront

@Sainabou Jallow (Unlicensed)

20 mins

EasyRetro Board

  • Vendor Storefront (how can we encourage vendors to create storefronts, who should we reach out to, any platforms you would recommend?)

    • Get Ushahidi, MFI and ODK to create a storefront.

    • Need humans (kind of sales) to promote it face to face > create a network of promoters.

    • Show them that X eyeballs of number of visitors to the site each month. Show them that Y vendors are solicited through the website each month.

    • Look into past RFPs and check which vendors were selected - then reach out to these vendors to create storefronts.

  • RFP Radar (any organizations we should reach out to - acquire APIs to publish relevant RFPs on the Exchange):

    • There are already many RFP radars, may be rather interface with those ones (i.e., create specific categories in it) than creating a new one.

    • Link up with Devex

  • Product Comparison Tool (any feedback on this new feature?)

    • Quite intuitive!

Next Steps

@Sainabou Jallow (Unlicensed)

5 mins

Updates and Next Steps

  • This was the last Reference Group meeting of the year. If any member has ideas on keeping the Reference Group active, feel free to reach out to Sarah and Sainabou. The team will reach out early next year with the 2024 objectives/updates.

  • All members will be added to the Exchange’s quarterly newsletter to receive updates on the Exchange and also disseminate the newsletter within their network.

  • A comms package on the Exchange and its marketplace features will be shared with members to kindly promote via their network and social media platforms.


  • Sarah Farooqi, Product Owner - The Exchange, DIAL

  • Sainabou Jallow, Business Analyst, DIAL

  • Daniel Odongo, Implementation Lead, Ushahidi

  • Esther Ogunjimi, Project Manager - GovStack, DIAL

  • Greg Martel, Co-founder & COO, Newlogic

  • Lekan Osoba, Country Engagement, DIAL

  • Rachel Lawson, Community Manager - GovStack, DIAL

  • Ramkumar, Technical Lead - GovStack

  • Stuart Mackintosh, Leading practical open source projects for public and private sector organisations

  • Tanvir Singh Natt, Digital transformation expert

  • Taylor Downs, Founder & CEO, OpenFn

  • Wesley Brown, Product Owner - GovStack, DIAL

  • Puja Raghavan, GovStack, GIZ

  • Jaume Dubois, CEO, ID30

  • Nelson Ajulo, Founder & CEO, Zarrttech