Having been the first organization to put the entire Kibera slums on the world map, Map Kibera Trust; an organization that seeks to be a hub where access to open information contributes to positive community transformation was on the road again to ensure that the maps that were produced reached the community which in-turn would put them to use.
To achieve this, the program coordinators met for the preparation of distributing the maps; there intention of meeting was to bring the attention of the three programs on how they will be working together towards achieving the objective of the exercise and to come up with relevant locations for maps distribution. It was there that they agreed that members from the 3 programs; Mapping, Voice of Kibera and Kibera News Network were to go to the field to distribute the maps which had been developed based on themes. Maps on Education, Security and Health are the themes that were distributed.
The aim of the exercise was to give back to the community through the high quality printed maps that contain the informational that came from them during the first phase of the mapping exercise.
For the 2 days that we were in the field, we were able to cover all the 13 villages; Gatwikera, Raila, Olympic, Soweto west&east, Kianda, Kambi muru, Kisumu ndogo, Lindi, Mashimoni, Makina, Silanga, and Laini Saba.
Positive Feedback From the Field.
As we visited different places, we collected feedback from the people we found so that we could ascertain how the maps will be put to good used.
The local administration appreciated our work and accepted to be interviewed i.e. Sarang’ombe and Laina Saba ward chiefs.
Most of the institutions accepted to use the map for positive transfiguration most of the institution wanted more than one map so they can use it for informational purposes as well as Education especially the Schools we visited.
We even had a chance to meet with D.O 1 (District Commissioner) who had a compliment for us saying that our map was outstanding compared to the one they had before.
For those who were not able to access our maps online were able to access them on hard-copy something that was important for us since it was now realized.
We ensured equal distribution of maps in at least all villages in Kibera.
Some of the Challenges.
Though most of the places we went to were very receptive, we experienced some hostility in a few areas where we were thought to be a different group out to just take advantage of the situations in Kibera by walking around to talk to people as we take photos to go and sell. After a few minutes of sharing our intentions with them, they understood us and we gave out the maps, something they congratulated us for showing a good example to organizations by sharing the findings of the work done with the community. We also found some schools that were to get maps already closed for holiday which means we will have to give them the maps when they resume school.
In general, the exercise was a success only for the schools that had already closed. Going forward, we need to print big and more visible maps a suggestion that came from one of the places we visited.
We hope that the maps distributed will not only be put to good use but also help Map Kibera Trust bond more with the community so that even as we get ready to cover the vents before, during and after the elections, we can work together to achieve optimum results and that Kibera and the other slums we are currently working with (Mathare and Mukuru) will never be the same again.
and if you’re curious, a little more detailed Report
First steps in mapping Mathare: meeting partners & identifying allies. To that end, Primoz and I went along with Rose Nyawira, from Community Cleaning Services who will be involved in the Mathare mapping project, to meet with the District Officer (D.O.) of Mathare. We wanted to tell him about the Map Kibera programmes and the plan to facilitate knowledge sharing and transfer skills from youth in Kibera to youth in Mathare. Onserio, the D.O., was enthusiastic about the plans for putting Mathare on the map and how the data could be used by his office. He asked about the challenges and lessons learned from Kibera to ensure that we would apply the lessons learned in the Mathare work. Also at the meeting was John Kennedy Ogoi, a public health officer in Mathare who is also interested in h0w mapping and social media can support community health workers in the area. Our second meeting of the morning was with a group of 40 or so community health workers who were receiving training and discussing the community development strategy as it relates to public health. When we entered the room, I noticed the group had brainstormed and written on a flip chart the “Factors Hindering Health & Development” in the community. Their list contained many factors, but two jumped out at me
Lack of individuals voice in decisions affecting them
Illiteracy, lack of knowledge & skills
These are factors that training and materials that the Map Kibera team can directly address. The use of maps and information submitted through the community information sharing platform, including video reporting are powerful evidence that can be used to raise their voices and influence decisions affecting them. Data collection, mapping, improved spatial awareness, website & knowledge management, video production, etc are all concrete knowledge and/or skills that have impacted the lives of our team from Kibera and can and will address the factors identified by the community health workers . The positive response we got in the two short meetings, with the district administrators and then community health workers in Mathare, are (we hope) an indication of the enthusiasm of the people we will be working with in the area.
April 12th was day one of health service data collection with Map Kibera. Nine fearless mappers set forth to find out where in their community health and health-related activities are being carried out, what services are being offered, who is providing those services and much, much more. It was an eventful day – we learned quite a number of things and the data collection form is being modified to more accurately capture information during the rest of the week.
The Map Kibera project is becoming well-known outside of Kibera, Nairobi and even Kenya. Today, the team was asked to make a brief (but informative) presentation to the Executive Director of UNICEF, Ann M. Veneman during her visit to Kibera.
Day 2: Not a walk in the park.
Data collection is not a walk in the park. Day two of the health services mapping with Map Kibera brought to light two major challenges to systematic data collection.
I do not claim that these challenges are unique, nor that today was the first day the mappers came across these issues (in fact yesterday, and during the previous mapping exercise, the mappers expressed some of the same concerns):
1. Suspicion. People do not want to give up information about the services they are providing. This could be for many reasons (they don’t believe you are who you say you are, they think you are being exploitative, research fatigue -see below, they are not licensed to provide said service, etc.)
2. Research fatigue. From my (limited) experience in Kibera (I spent 3 months in the area in 2008 and have been back a few times in 2009 & 2010), the settlement is one of the most over-researched places in Kenya, if not in Africa. As an example, as we were walking around today, I saw 2 groups of researchers walking around with clipboards interviewing people door-to-door. And what ever comes of the research? Does the community see the benefits? Likely not in their eyes. As such, even groups such as Map Kibera doing ‘community research’ are viewed with suspicion…and the cycle continues.
Reviewing the health services data collection form