This summary highlights the multiple method evaluation of the Ushahidi Haiti implementation. The evaluation assessment techniques included semi-structured interviews, internet surveys and document review/analysis of chat records, blogs and the database of mapped incidents.
The UHP was implemented amidst a network of interrelated information initiatives. Preliminary findings in the initial phases of this evaluation have suggested that the scope of the study be expanded to include more work in the domain of the Mission 4636 activity as the Diaspora mobilized and leveraged by the 4636-UHP interaction has probably played a significant role in the networked response. In order that the experiences and impact of this key group be appropriately assessed, a revised survey instrument has been developed is currently under institutional review. The final report will be delivered in Feb 2010. In the meantime, Ushahidi Haiti and Mission 4636 volunteers, we are still seeking your input in a revised survey!
A few key points:
The evaluation concludes that UHP was remarkably relevant to key stakeholders in this large scale catastrophe as the only source of dynamically mapped situational information during the early days of the crisis. The UHP was a dramatic demonstration of effective networking among social media communities and affected communities.
The information UHP provided was used by important stakeholders in the response for situational awareness and--to a more limited extent—tactical and operational decisions. The US Department of State, US Marines, US Coast Guard and a number of small non-profit organizations and private citizens were users of the UHP data stream.
The extent of information use was limited by a number of factors including stakeholder awareness of UHP, information content and classification of UHP map entries, familiarity with crisis informatics tools, accuracy of information and attitudes of some stakeholders toward social media.
While the efficiency of this effort was enormous--as evidenced by the fact that thousands of messages were processed by a large scale global volunteer effort--the evaluation identified specific areas for improvement related to soliciting and processing messages, capacity development and general systems improvements.
UHP Independent Evaluation Team