Code of Conduct

Details of the Ushahidi Code of Conduct.

Like Ushahidi's staff base, Ushahidi's community is incredibly diverse. Ushahidi is dedicated to creating an inclusive environment for everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, age, disability (physical or mental), sexual orientation, gender identity, parental status, marital status, and political affiliation as well as gender expression, mental illness, socioeconomic status or background, neuro(a)typicality, or physical appearance.

We are constantly evolving this document for the ever changing world. We strive to become more inclusive in how we support the community and contributions are very welcome.

For background research see draft from Volunteer Technical Community (also referred to as VTC) Summit (Original Document from VTC Summit hosted by Geeks without Bounds and the Wilson Center).

Code of Collaboration

Be Considerate

  • There are different levels of digital literacy and language/localization in a global community.

  • Help each volunteer find roles that work for them and help them learn.

  • Be mindful of people's time.

  • We agree to make this an environment where it is safe to ask for help.

Be Respectful

  • Consider the ethics of data sharing/ownership.

  • Practice and contribute under the principle of "do no harm".

  • Recognize that we have potential to do harm and commit to constantly reassessing this risk.

  • Understand and work with the community and audience as to what "harm" means to them.

  • Be polite and friendly in all forms of communication.

Be Inclusive

  • Being inclusive means being kind and community focused.

  • Go out of your way and across cultures to include people.

  • Avoid slang or idioms that might not translate across cultures, or be deliberate in explaining them to share our diverse cultures and languages.

  • Speak plainly and avoid acronyms and jargon that not everyone may have an understanding of.

  • Be an ally to others when you see a need.

Be Collaborative

  • When we disagree, we consult others.

  • When we are unsure, we ask for help.

  • Give feedback. Good feedback is kind, respectful, clear, and constructive, and focused on goals and values rather than personal preferences.

  • We take care of ourselves and each other so we can make great contributions and be around for the long haul [see for inspiration from the political organizing world]

  • Hand off your work considerately by turning over remaining tasks to the coordinator, team lead or another contributor.

  • Ensure and create thorough documentation to protect resilience.

Be Transparent

  • Maintain transparency of process and code.

  • Share your process, best practices, lessons learned so others have opportunities to share with you, and to help build community.

  • The community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. No prerequisites exist to participate in the community. Inclusiveness in make-up, action, and participation.

    • (Prerequisites do have to be set, depending on how a VTC is organized, their leadership may be assuming legal liability for actions of members. Those assuming risk have to be in a position to control their risk by setting rules.)

  • Seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and the reality of those around us, as well as participation in society.

Be Mindful of people's privacy

  • Be mindful of security and privacy considerations. Do not share sensitive data. (see the ICRC Professional Standards on Protection Work)

  • Follow verification and security guidelines for mapping - do not publish dangerous speech, personal names, and personal identifying information (guidelines to be determined)

  • Ushahidi adhere's to, and is compliant with GDPR. You can find out more about our GDPR compliance in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Unacceptable behaviors

The Ushahidi team is committed to providing a welcoming and safe environment for all. Discrimination and harassment are expressly prohibited. Furthermore, any behavior or language that is unwelcoming—whether or not it rises to the level of harassment—is also strongly discouraged.

  • No surprise if a contributor isn’t familiar with something: We believe in the value of a beginner’s mind. It’s always acceptable to say “I don’t know” or “I don’t understand.” All questions are great questions! So please don’t act surprised when people aren’t familiar with a tool, person, place or process.

  • No well-actually’s: A well-actually happens when someone says something that’s almost – but not entirely – correct, and you say, “well, actually…” and give a minor correction.

  • No exclusionary language: Be careful in the words that you choose, even if it’s as small as choosing “hey, everyone” over “hey, guys.” Sexist, racist, ableist, and other exclusionary jokes are not appropriate and will not be tolerated under any circumstance.

  • No subtle -isms: Much exclusionary behavior takes the form of subtle -isms, or microaggressions – small things that make others feel unwelcome. For example, saying “It’s so easy my grandmother could do it” is a subtle -ism with tones of both sexism and ageism.

Committing to self-improvement

None of us are perfect: all of us will from time to time fail to live up to our very high standards. What matters isn’t having a perfect track record, but owning up to your mistakes and committing to a clear and persistent effort to improve.

If you are approached as having (consciously or otherwise) acted in a way that might make your teammates feel unwelcome, listen with an open mind and avoid becoming defensive. Remember that if someone offers you feedback, it likely took a great deal of courage for them to do so. The best way to respect that courage is to acknowledge your mistake, apologize, and move on — with a renewed commitment to do better.

We’re grateful for other Code of Conduct pioneers like the Buffer Code of Conduct, the Vox Code of Conduct, the Recurse Center’s Social Rules and the Hack Code of Conduct for their ideas and inspiration.