Activist, Journalist & Development Practitioner
Erica Hagen is a journalist and international development practitioner working for democracy of information and citizen participation in both online and traditional media. She is the co-founder of Map Kibera and GroundTruth Initiative. Erica has worked in four countries on development communication and evaluation, and in the United States on refugee and immigrant issues, for organizations such as United Nations Population Fund, Concern Worldwide, and Unicef. She holds a Masters Degree in International Affairs from Columbia University, New York.
In 2010, Erica Hagen and Mikel Maron started GroundTruth Initiative to work towards empowering communities through open data, open information and participatory processes. Erica's and Mikel's work at GroundTruth is informed by their earlier experience of working with the Map Kibera project where they helped the youth and the communities in Kibera to map their geographies and represent information about themselves to the world through citizen media. In the process, Erica and Mikel uncovered several complex dynamics about self-representation by communities, what open data really means to communities and how they apply it to their circumstances, the dynamics between participatory development and participatory technologies, and the process of using community media tools and online methods for talking about issues that matter to them.