My experience at the first State of the Map Africa

by: July 21st, 2017 comments: 0

A 38Km road from Entebbe International Airport to Kampala was not an easy ride. I never thought there could be such bad traffic in Kampala like Nairobi. I have always known Nairobi to be a crazy city but Kampala was equally CRAZY…

I have been sponsored by Mapbox to attend and represent Map Kibera at the very first State of the Map Africa conference, held at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. The event was organized by OpenStreetMap Africa community, most of whom I have only been able to meet online. This was a great opportunity to now meet them in person.

I arrived at Bativa Hotel at around 1930 hrs and I can’t pay for my cab ride of UGS 90000 and my Hotel accommodation — because I forgot to change my money at the airport. By boda (motor bike) the security guard at the hotel offers to escort me back to Kampala town where I would be able to change my Kenya Shillings into Ugandan money. It was nice to see how Kenyan money had more value over Ugandan money.

Back to the hotel I got my room and grabbed some dinner before to sleep. My presentation was at 13:30, day 1 soon after lunch, a generally bad time for the obvious reason, but it was ok!

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When I took the stage to present Map Kibera, I knew in the back of my mind that most of the folks in the room already knew about Map Kibera and so I needed to tell them something new, something unique. Around 150 persons representing 21 countries across Africa eagerly listened to my session. It always amazes me when talking to people who know or perhaps have a rough idea about my community Kibera. Most of the guys did know. I talked about how Map Kibera couples its mapping with citizen journalism giving people a platform to speak about some of the issues highlighted by the map. I also shared how we train and empower other communities to map their own communities locally and tell their own stories in their own perspective.

This is one of those events that you meet some of the most amazing people in the world and get to learn how the world has become a global village. A lot of mutual friends and people who know people who know people that you know. A nice feeling indeed! This is the time you also meet people who are working round the clock to make Africa and the world a better place. I was particularly impressed by the team from Malawi, Uganda and Tanzania. Good job out there! Am always tempted to mention Geoffrey of Uganda, his dedication to this course was outstanding, for real, along with the other organizing committee members.

We had both French and English speaking countries represented, and so translation was necessary back and forth. It kind of slowed down the process but we are a community who tries to be all inclusive and walk together. I loved the sense of togetherness and oneness amongst the OpenStreetMap Community. Mapathon day 1, cocktail day 2 and football at the end were some of the most bonding moments for all of us.

I can also not forget the amazing presentation by Ramani Huria. I saw a lot of similarities with Map Kibera — naturally there is a long history here between the two communities. I first met them in Nairobi 2016, during the Open Data Fest conference, but their presentation in Kampala was one of a kind.

And finally, I can never forget the ambush by one of the organizers Clare, telling me to give a final remark and share experience at a panel on how to strengthen and foster the emerging OpenStreetMap Communities in Africa. Yes I said, so long as I know what we do and what Map Kibera stands for, it should be fine.

What a great time in Kampala! Big thanks to Mapbox and all the sponsors that helped bring us together.

Map Kibera and The Sentinel Project launch “Una Hakika?” in Mathare and Kibera

by: May 10th, 2017 comments: 0

Misinformation and disinformation pose a challenge to development, governance, public health, and human security efforts around the world.

Una Hakika logo

Una Hakika logo

As communications technology has become more widely distributed in the developing world, the spread of inaccurate, incomplete or fabricated information is an increasingly significant threat to peace and stability, particularly in regions with limited access to reliable third-party media. Through the use of WikiRumours, a workflow and technology platform, it is possible to count the spread of false information ensuring transparency and early mitigation of conflict.

Map Kibera Trust together with The Sentinel Project have launched the “Una Hakika?” project (in Eng. “Are you sure?”) in two different informal settlements of Nairobi: Mathare and Kibera. Before, during and after the elective season, people can subscribe and report rumors anonymously through SMS free of charge at the number 40050. All the rumors are collected on the WikiRumors, prioritized and verified through a network of trained Community Ambassadors on the field and trusted sources, whether they are true, false or impossible to verify. Through the same platform, the verified information is then sent in a SMS to all the subscribers interested in that area, in order to avoid the beginning of possible violence and the spread of misinformation. Moreover, people can also report rumors calling for free the number 0800722959 or directly contacting the Community Ambassadors in their area. Intervention, when necessary, might be the last step of the process, aiming to involve community partners such as chiefs, elders, youth leaders and women’s representatives.

The Una Hakika workflow

The Una Hakika workflow

On the 8th March, celebrating the International Women’s Day, Map Kibera Trust in partnership with Mathare Peace Initiative and The Sentinel Project launched the “Una Hakika?” project in Mathare.

Joshua Ogure at the launch of the Una Hakika? project in Mathare

Joshua Ogure speaking at the launch of the Una Hakika? project in Mathare

The launch of Una Hakika? project in Mathare

The launch of Una Hakika? project in Mathare

On the 14th April, the project was launched also in Kibera by Map Kibera Trust in partnership with The Sentinel Project and Carolina for Kibera, promoting also Sports and Art initiatives for Peace. The launch saw different groups performing Art, coral verse and inter-ward football teams play at Undugu grounds Kibera.

Una Hakika? launch event in Kibera

Una Hakika? launch event in Kibera

At Una Hakika? launch event in Kibera

Una Hakika? launch event in Kibera

Una Hakika? launch event in Kibera

Una Hakika? launch event in Kibera

Community Ambassadors and Map Kibera staff at the Una Hakika? launch event in Kibera

Community Ambassadors and Map Kibera staff at the Una Hakika? launch event in Kibera

For more updating, follow the Facebook page of Una Hakika? Nairobi.

Map Kibera helps launch new Youth Mappers chapters at Kenyan Universities

by: April 11th, 2017 comments: 1

In October 2016, Map Kibera helped found a chapter at University of Nairobi of Youth Mappers, a project supported by USAID’s GeoCenter which aims to see more university students learn to use OpenStreetMap globally. Students worked on field mapping of basic infrastructure and features such as water points, toilets, health centers, schools, and other public facilities in the Mathare slum with members of Map Mathare.

The participating students were from various University of Nairobi departments including the Department of Geospatial and Space Technology, the Department of Geography, the School of Business, School of International Development, and Center for Urban Research and Innovation. To see a brief interview of some students during the training session, click this link.

The Youth Mappers blog

The Youth Mappers blog

The following month, Map Kibera took a trip to Eldoret’s Moi University to train the Geography students Youth Mappers association of Moi University about OpenStreetMap.

The first day, after an introduction by Sharon, the student leader of the Moi University, Lucy Fondo presented about Map Kibera Trust and its work through the years in the slum of Kibera and in other Nairobi’s informal settlements. Then, Joshua Owino of Map Kibera team mentioned the other projects such as the YouTube channel news of Kibera News Network, the SMS reporting platform Voice of Kibera and the photo storytelling Humans of Kibera and how they are used as citizen journalism tools to tell more stories about issues highlighted on the maps.

During the session, Phylister Mutinda from University of Nairobi shared her personal testimony about Youth Mappers experience during the University of Nairobi chapter: “This program helped me a lot for my studies. It was a good opportunity of practice what I’ve learned in theoretical classes about field mapping”.

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Lucy Fondo presenting about Map Kibera Trust

Josh Ogure talking to the students

Joshua Owino talking about the Map Kibera projects

Later, Zack Wambua introduced the Youth Mappers programme and OpenStreetMap platform. It’s important to create a network of students who share their own personal experiences on mapping, using the free open source map OSM in order to create spatial data that is free and available for everyone to download and to use for their specific work”, he stated.

After a brief presentation of the whole training, the students were able to create their own OSM accounts.

Zack

Zack Wambua introducing the Youth Mappers programme and OpenStreetMap

The second day, the practical training started with Zack Wambua in one of the GIS Laboratories of the University. He demonstrated how they can contribute to OSM both through the ID editor, a web based editor, and the JOSM offline software to add map features, such as point of interest, roads, rivers, buildings and boundaries. Later, the students were able to practice with a mapping exercise in groups to map buildings and roads of the main campus.

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Lucy Fondo during the training

Later this year, Map Kibera plans to return to train the students in a field mapping exercise in an unmapped informal settlement of Eldoret.

Watch the final video of Kibera News Network about the training at Moi University: