Ory Okolloh

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Ory Okolloh
Ory Okolloh. Retrieved from Twitter, 27 August 2020.
Born1975 (age 46–47)
Alma materUniversity of Pittsburgh, Harvard
OccupationLawyer, Activist
Known forbeing the Co-founder of Ushahidi and Mzalendo
WebsiteLinkedIn Profile

Editor: Temoso Sebetha

Ory Okolloh is a Kenyan blogger, lawyer, open-government activist, and co-founder of Ushahidi, a pioneering, free open source platform for crowdsourcing crisis information that combines mapping with eye-witness reports and has been used to monitor elections in Kenya, Mexico and India, track violence in the Eastern Congo and map post-earthquake crisis in Haiti.[1]

Okolloh also runs Mzalendo, a pioneering civic website that tracks the performance of Kenya's parliament and its parliamentarians. With a vote tracker, articles and opinion pieces, the site connects Kenyans to their leaders and opens the lid on this powerful and once-secretive body.[2]

Okolloh is currently a Director of Investments at Omidyar Network Africa, a philanthropic investment firm.[3] She also serves as Managing Director, Luminate Group, a global philanthropic organisation that funds non-profit and for-profit organisations that help people participate in and shape the issues affecting their lives, and make those in power more transparent, responsive, and accountable.[4]

Okolloh is a frequent speaker at conferences including TED, World Economic Forum, Clinton Global Initiative and Mobile Web Africa.[5]


Okolloh was born (1975) and raised in Kenya, into a relatively poor family. Her father died of AIDS in 1999. She currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa with her husband and three children.[6]

Okolloh earned her undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh and graduated from Harvard Law School in 2005.[7] She also worked as a legal consultant for NGOs and has worked at Covington and Burling, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, and the World Bank.

In 2006, Okolloh and her co-partner, Conrad Akunga began the running of Mzalendo, meaning “Patriot” in Swahili.[8]

In 2011, Okolloh joined Google as their Policy Manager for Africa and resigned in May 2013. The role involved developing policies and strategies on a number of areas of relevance to Google and the internet in Africa. Okolloh worked with different stakeholders including government leaders, policy makers, regulators, and industry groups.[9]

On 22 May, 2013 Omidyar Network announced that Okolloh joined as a director of investments within the philanthropic investment firm’s government transparency initiative. It stated that “she will help drive the organisation’s work in supporting innovative organisations that use technology and media platforms to provide access to information and the tools necessary for citizens to participate in the governing process.”[10]


In 2008, Okolloh was one of the judges for the 2008 We Media Game Changers Awards organised by iFOCOS.[11]

In 2019, Okolloh was one of the juries for the inaugural Global Pluralism Awards in Ottawa.[12]

Awards and Recognition

In 2010, Okolloh was named one of the top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy Magazine.[13] In 2011, Ory was recognised by Fast Company as one of the Most Influential Women in Technology, along with the recognition of being one of the top 100 Global Thinkers.[14] In the same year she was also named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.[15] and one of Africa's most Powerful Women by Forbes Magazine.[16]

In 2014, Okolloh was named Time 100's most influential people in the world.[17] In 2015, Okolloh was appointed on the Board of Directors of the Thomson Reuters Founders Share Company, is an Aspen Global Leadership Network (AGLN) Fellow and an advisory board member to Twiga Foods and Endeavor Kenya.[18] That same year she was also granted The Pan African Leaders Award for The Preservers of Peace and Security by the African Democratic Institute.[19]


  1. Africa's Most Successful Women: Ory Okolloh – Forbes. Retrieved 12 July, 2020.
  2. Ory Okolloh maintains the blog Mzalendo, providing an unprecedented look at the doings of Kenya's parliament — information once unavailable to Kenyan citizens – TED. Retrieved 12 July, 2020.
  3. Ory Okolloh – Africa Leadership Initiative. Retrieved 12 July, 2020.
  4. Ory Okolloh Director, Investments, Omidyar Network, Africa - World Economic Forum. Retrieved 12 July, 2020.
  5. Ory Okolloh puts Kenya on the global map with groundbreaking apps – Daily Nation. Retrieved 12 July, 2020.
  6. Ory Okolloh – Tech Her. Retrieved 12 July, 2020.
  7. Ory Okolloh Net Worth – Net Worth Post. Retrieved 12 July, 2020.
  8. Ory Okolloh – Haley Barnes. Retrieved 12 July, 2020.
  9. Ory Okolloh – BizNis Africa. Retrieved 12 July, 2020.
  10. Okolloh Joins Omidyar Network – Omidyar Network. Retrieved 13 July, 2020.
  11. Call for Nominations – Sept. 15 deadline for Game Changers – We Media. Retrieved 18 July, 2020.
  12. Launch of the 2019 Global Pluralism Award Selections – Global Central for Pluralism. Retrieved 18 July, 2020.
  13. The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers. Retrieved Sep 13, 2020.
  14. Ory Okolloh – Africa ASA. Retrieved 18 July, 2020.
  15. Ory Okolloh – Skoll. Retrieved 14 July, 2020.
  16. Ory Okollo – World Economic Forum. Retrieved 14 July, 2020.
  17. Ory Okolloh – Multi Mania. Retrieved 14 July, 2020.
  18. Ory Okolloh – PraBook. Retrieved 14 July, 2020.
  19. The Pan African Leaders Award: The 2015 ADI Nominees Who Inspire Humanity – African Democratic Institute. Retrieved 19 July, 2020.