📑Google Season of Docs 2024!

Project Announcement

Ushahidi is participating in Google Season of Docs 2024. We are therefore contracting a technical writer to work with us from the end of June to November 2024.

The ideal candidates should have proven intermediate - advanced experience in technical writing and have likely been part of technology projects that have exposed them to collaboration with Product, Design and Engineering teams, content management systems, version control, and authoring tools. The preferred candidates for this project should also have experience collaborating with different stakeholder groups to tailor documentation like user manuals and API reference docs to the needs of diverse audiences.

Apply for the role by filling out this form. The application submission closes on the 22nd of April 2024, 6 pm UTC.

Project Title

Review and Improve Ushahidi’s Reference Documentation

About your Organization

Ushahidi is a non-profit whose mission is to build and use open source technology to help disenfranchised groups raise their voices and the organizations that serve them to listen and respond better. Since our inception over 16 years ago in Kenya, Ushahidi has built the capacity of grassroots communities, activists, and organizations from over 200 countries to gather, visualize, and respond to crowdsourced data from various sources for social change.

By improving our documentation, Ushahidi can be even more accessible to a broader range of communities and developers, thereby increasing the usability and effectiveness of the platform in real-world scenarios, such as climate action, good governance, crisis response, and human rights monitoring. This project will enable our contributors to customize and extend the platform in ways that best serve their needs, leading to innovative crowdsourcing and citizen science solutions to local and global challenges.

About your Project

Your project's problem

Ushahidi’s last comprehensive documentation update was in 2022 when we updated reference documentation for 100 percent of the platform’s API endpoints. Over the past two years, our team at Ushahidi has been releasing numerous feature enhancements and improvements to serve our diverse community and contributors in a project dubbed “Mzima”. With this, a critical gap currently exists in our reference documentation, and our community members have reported limitations in their ability to tailor the platform to their respective use cases fully. Therefore, we are prioritizing the review and update of Ushahidi’s reference documentation to ensure it meets our current software functionality and future development goals.

Your project's scope

  • Work along with the product team to revise and update the documentation to accurately represent the current capabilities of the Ushahidi platform, including all recent updates and feature enhancements.

  • Improve the structure and presentation of the reference documentation to enhance accessibility and usability for the diverse audience of Ushahidi's developer and contributor community.

  • Establish a framework that makes it easier for the community to contribute to the documentation, ensuring it remains up-to-date and comprehensive.

  • Engage at least 20 contributor volunteers from Ushahidi’s open source community for documentation testing and to create concise code snippets to illustrate technical concepts.

Support at Ushahidi

During the project, the Ushahidi staff will be dedicated to provide necessary information and answer questions to support the technical writer. The primary support folks at Ushahidi are:

  • Anna Iosif, Senior Open Source Engineer

  • Cecilia Hinga, Community Advocate

  • Tim Nwaobilo, Product Manager

What is out of scope for this project

  • While technical writers and contributors with coding knowledge can create code snippets for the documentation, directly contributing to Ushahidi's core codebase is outside the scope of this GSoD project.

Measuring your project's success

  • Number of community contributions to the documentation post-update.

  • Increase in the adoption of the Ushahidi platform, measured by hosted and open source deployments created following the documentation update.



May 2024

Technical writer onboarding and orientation, getting familiar with the Ushahidi platform and contributor community

June 2024

Test existing documentation and identify gaps and documentation that is not clear enough/instructions that are incomplete or not working

July-September 2024

Ushahidi contributor volunteers collaborate with the technical writer on assigned tasks like drafting specific sections and code snippet creation

October 2024

Review, testing and final edits of all documentation with Ushahidi contributor volunteer support

November 2024

Launch of improved Ushahidi reference documentation and rollout of the framework for continued Ushahidi contributor volunteer support.

Publishing of case study for the GSoD project, recognizing support from Googe, technical writers, and Ushahidi contributor volunteers

Project Budget

Budget itemAmount (USD)Running Total (USD)Notes

Technical Writer



Technical writer working between 5 June - 29 October 2024

Contributor stipends (20)



Incentive stipends for 20 Ushahidi contributor volunteers (each $100) to:

  • Support by testing and providing feedback that ensures accurate documentation

  • Create concise code snippets to illustrate technical concepts within the documentation

Communication Materials



T-shirt and schwag for technical writer and Ushahidi contributor volunteers



Additional information

In 2018, Ushahidi support from Digital Impact Alliance to improve and collect our documentation in one place. During the project we:

  • Collected our docs that was spread out in many places into one home: docs.ushahidi.com

  • Added missing documentation for the platform-client, the pattern-library and the API

  • Added missing documentation for setting up the developers-environment and deploying to production

  • Added missing documentation for QA and design-processes

  • In 2022, Ushahidi received support from Google Season of Docs that enabled us to collaborate with a Technical Writer to:

    • Have 100 % of the API endpoints connected to /posts, /surveys and /forms documented.

    • Reduce the number of technical support-questions by 30% after our new docs were published

  • We review our documentation via testing it ourselves and we also make sure to learn and improve the documentation from the experiences our communities and contributors have when setting up the platform from scratch. This gives us insights we would not get otherwise, since they are new to the project and see things in a different light than us who are working with it everyday.

  • Ushahidi has previously participated in Google Summer of Code and Outreachy programs. Since 2018, we have hosted at least one intern per year.

  • Through our current organizational strategic plan, Ushahidi seeks to raise 20 million voices worldwide in response to local and global challenges in climate change, electoral processes, humanitarian crises, and human rights protection.

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