Open Schools Kenya: Kangemi

by: October 31st, 2018 comments: 2

DSC_0001

Open Schools Kenya is a great initiative that seeks to make data about schools available and meaningful to the public and stakeholders in the education sector through mapping. The idea initially started in Kibera and the rigorous mapping exercise saw slightly over 300 schools mapped in the region. What has followed ever since has been a success story. The mapping of schools has made it easier for parents to make informed choices when sending their children to school. The mapping of schools has also made it easier for the relevant authorities to know about and follow up with schools and contact them without having to hustle for their contact details like before.

Moving forward, Map Kibera was first in line to assist in the implementation of the same idea of mapping of schools in Kangemi with the generous support of Indigo Trust. Map Kibera offered training to participants from Kangemi to map their local schools, with support from many including the MP of Westlands Constituency, Hon.Timothy Wanyonyi, Evans Onchiri, the APBET (Alternative Provision of Basic Education) Coordinator for Kangemi, and the District Education Officer Julius Mburu.

DSC_0026

DSC_0002We had a total of twelve mappers with seven of them being locals from the region, and the rest from the Map Kibera team. Lead mapper from Kangemi was Sharon Adhiambo, who had previously worked with Map Kibera on trainings while a member of Youth Mappers at Moi University. The selected wards were Kangemi, Kitusuru, Mountain View, and Parklands. The training started on Thursday 13th of September and we proceeded to the next day taking the trainees through OpenStreetMap, Open Data Kit (ODK) and Java OpenStreetMap (JOSM).

DSC_0406The mapping exercise commenced on Monday 17th September and each of the 6 teams was allocated a specific area to cover. The field work proceeded quite well and the mappers were well received in most of the schools they visited. The entire mapping exercise took a total of fourteen working days and despite the challenging task the mappers managed to cover all the schools in the designated wards. My team specifically mapped the highest number of schools since the schools were concentrated in the area.  

With the support of the community and leaders,  this exercise has already covered more than 250 schools which are now on OpenStreetMap, and will soon be added to the Open Schools Kenya website. Please check back for more updates soon!

Road Cuts Kibera in Two, Displacing Residents, Schools

by: July 28th, 2018 comments: 0

DSC_0798

The morning of Monday July 23, residents woke up to a shock of heavy police presence and bulldozer ready to bring down their homes. The demolition started by 7am as the residents watch in disbelief. It was at the same time a race against time to be able to rescue whatever property they could from their houses. Children ran around helter skelter, women cried helplessly and everyone carried away whatever they considered important to them.

The road will go from Yaya Center to join Langata road, through Lindi into Kibera South Health Center from DC’s area. Around 30,000 families have been affected by the demolition. The road was identified in 2014 and is meant to ease traffic within Nairobi city.

Kibera link road-demolition
Kibera residents have been living with a lot of uncertainty in the recent past. Not so long ago we witnessed the Kenya Railway decanting sites being demolished, leaving around 1000 residents homeless, some of whom even had housing allocation numbers and the key without a house. Just before that there was a major demolition all round Moi girls where a form two student girl was reported to have been raped by unknown person. Now, a huge road is cutting Kibera slum into two.

The residents had been given a notice to vacate the area, however, at the time of the demolition there was already a postponement order. There had been three different maps showing different routes that the road would pass. How were the residents supposed to know which road map would eventually be used? This led to a lot of push and pull between Kibera activists, civil societies and the government. Questioning who diverted the road three times and why was not futile. Several meetings were held between the affected persons, Kenya Urban Roads Authority, Kenya National Human Rights Commission, and the National Lands Commission trying to find an amicable solution to the issue and the best way the demolition would be carried out humanly. The two weeks’ notice was then extended indefinitely awaiting an enumeration and the development of a Relocation Action Plan, something that might have relieved the affected persons for a while. There was also a case in court awaiting ruling on the same issue. However, all this was disregarded that morning of July 23rd.

DSC_0854

The 10 acres road has also cost the Kibera people more than 10 schools, as well as churches and community based organizations. The schools as mapped by Map Kibera includes Egesa School, Makina Self Help Group, Makina Baptist, PEFA, Good News, New Horizon, Love Africa, Mashimoni Primary, Mashimoni Secondary, Mashimoni Squaters, Saviour Kings

DSC_0848

It’s at such times that many residents wondered whether they really belong to the country Kenya.

“We are not against the road passing, but can’t it be done with some dignity?” says the Founder of Egesa school. The schools only had one week to take their end term exams. The students will therefore not sit the exam. “It’s very unfortunate for the children who will miss their end term exam simply because of some greed, selfish and in human act.”

Don’t forget that the road has also robbed off Kibera their only social playground near DC’s area. How does it feel when a road has robbed you off your home, your livelihood, your church, your children’s school, your only social playground? People have also lost jobs. Only a few people would be in a position to find themselves a new place or even afford to travel back to their upcountry homes.

“This is the greatest betrayal I have ever seen from the government, see how people are calm no one is even reacting or protesting because they made us to calm the people down, promising to tackle the issue smoothly,” lamented Ben Ooko, the founder for Amani Kibera, a Community Resource Center that also suffered demolition. “I got a call very early in the morning that the police were heading here with a bulldozer, and I just rushed here to see. We really didn’t expect this because we had kind of reached an agreement with KURA in the presence of KNHRC, and so we were waiting for their guidance.” That morning Ben had posted on his Facebook, “Today is my birthday, and I get a gift of demolition.”

DSC_0805
Some people believed that this is a scheme by the government to try and finish Kibera in a bid to weaken the opposition, but where is Raila the former Prime Minister? Why is he so quiet on this? Kibra MP Hon Ken Okoth, who is currently out of the country, has in the recent past made a lot of noise on social media to have his people handled with some dignity even as they move from road reserve. But neither him nor Makina MCA Hon. Magembe could lobby to stop the demolition. Amnesty International accused the government for not following the agreement to relocate the persons affected, terming it a violation of Human Rights according to the International Human rights obligation. Is there such a thing as Human Rights and Constitutions to the people of Kibera? Article 40 of the Kenyan Constitution provides that those who occupy land without title deeds may be compensated in a good faith. What next? Who next? Where else? When next? How else? These are some of the questions lingering in the heads of Kibera residents.
Till when will Kibera people live with all these fears?

By Joshua Ogure

Mapping Counties with Participatory Budgeting

by: July 17th, 2018 comments: 0

Screen Shot 2018-07-16 at 11.48.05 AM

Kenya’s devolution process and constitutional reforms of 2010 means that Kenya’s counties, of which there are now 47, are directly responsible for a much greater amount of their local development. Some counties have integrated citizen participation in planning by embarking on an intensive annual participatory budgeting process, with support from the World Bank. But, in order to allow communities to directly plan and budget for development, counties realized that they needed better information about existing projects and features, best represented geographically. Many times, participatory budgeting (PB) groups were relying on memory or on hand-drawn paper maps of existing terrain and features in order to determine where they should place new water points, health centers, and other key new projects.

To help fill this gap, Map Kibera Trust, along with GroundTruth Initiative, have begun to work with two pilot counties, Makueni and Baringo, to create participatory digital maps with both citizen and county government mappers. Makueni has already been mapped in two pilot wards, including collecting feedback on county development project status and quality. Please see the maps here.

Screen Shot 2018-07-16 at 11.49.16 AM

The base map data is, of course, gathered on OpenStreetMap – including various key features such as roads, shops, landmarks, schools, as well as the PB projects themselves. However, the mappers also collect project feedback information using Open Data Kit (ODK) and store it separately. The digital maps are then created using MapBox tools to combine them together. While mapping, participants mark whether the project is completed or not, whether it’s in good shape or poor, and add a sentence about the project’s quality or impact. We intend for this aspect to be updated regularly in preparation for the annual budgeting meetings, so that citizens can get a sense of how their intended projects are faring. Therefore, the map also allows  those who take part in the budgeting process to see the extent to which the county is doing what they had intended. Each PB meeting will receive a printed map, so as not to have to rely on digital maps in locations with very little internet connectivity or even electricity.

Mobile data collection using ODK

Mobile data collection using ODK in Mbooni ward, Makueni.

Check out this great video showing the mapping in Mbooni ward of Makueni county, also illustrating the challenges of working across rural terrain. By engaging young residents of each locale, we hope to spread participatory mapping throughout Kenya, county by county.