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”.

Lucy

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:

Why Map Open Drainage? And How?

by: April 4th, 2011 comments: 3

Open Drainage

I believe that the reasons to map open drainage in the slums are well known and are obvious to most people. Everyone who’s ever been to the slums knows that open drainage presents a huge health hazard to the people living around it. In combination with poor or non-existent water and sanitation systems, open drainage presents a recipe for disaster which is always present and can erupt at any time and wreak havoc amongst the populations. If I quote a few experts on the dangers that open drainage poses:

“Potholes in the streets, pools of stagnant water, and waste gushing from bathrooms and kitchens provide breeding sites for malarial mosquitoes and other spreaders of disease.” (Nwaka, Geoffrey I. “The Urban informal Sector in Nigeria”)

“Most slum households must fetch their water from a standpipe and deposit their waste in open drains. The rate of infection is high; therefore there is constant risk of epidemic.” (Gulis et. Al. “Health status of people of slums in Nairobi, Kenya”)

“In slum areas, a minor flood is not just inconvenient. It is life-threatening. With open drains and overflowing latrines even a small flood means that children have to wade through raw sewage.” (Willem Alexander, HRH, Chair of UNSGAB. “World Water Day Op Ed”)

In an article on the health status of people of slums in Nairobi, Kenya the authors conclude that: “Environmental conditions can have major influences on health status. Therefore, environmental improvements are important in the improvement of health status.” (Gulis et. Al. “Health status of people of slums in Nairobi, Kenya”)

As my friend Simon, a long-time resident of Mathare and our Map Mathare Coordinator, put it on the Mathare Valley blog: “One does not need to be a scientist to know what would happen in case of disease outbreak. The improvement of proper water distribution and repairing the broken water pipes coupled with constructing good drainage system is the key to fighting common illness in the slums.”

What I can add to all of this is that in order to improve or at least start improving living conditions, you need to first know and understand the situation on the ground. By mapping open drainage areas, our mappers are providing the first detailed geographical information about how open drainage is distributed throughout Kibera and Mathare, thus providing necessary information to anyone hoping to solve the problem.

This I believe answers the question of why and brings me to the next question: How?

Obviously open drainage creates “appalling living conditions,” but maybe not so obviously, it creates appalling mapping conditions too! Open drainage winds and curves between houses, often sinks below them, intersects, flows, stands, overflows, merges with the content of broken sewage lines (sewage lines burst and sewage comes above ground, mixing with the content of open drainage), and creates pools of standing water. Open drainage is the main collector of garbage: garbage in open drainage areas often clogs drainage systems, thus creating floods during rains. All of this mesh slowly flows downwards, usually towards rivers that pick it up and carry it further downstream, polluting the environment sometimes hundreds of kilometers away.

In order to understand the scale of the problem in Mathare and Kibera we went on an investigative – or, if I put it in army terms, reconnaissance – mission with our teams to see the problem first hand. Our participants surveyed the problem, and their input helped us to better understand what we’re up against. We walked through the slum evaluating different drainage lines and problems we faced in mapping them, Sebastien (our new volunteer) and I then facilitated the mappers to decide on which points of interest we should collect and in what order.

Investigating the problem

Findings from the field regarding open drainage include:

  • Open drainage has many sources and it forms for many reasons (resulting from topography and from human actions)
  • It comes in many forms regarding the content and structure (garbage, water, sewage, earth trench, concrete trench, etc.)
  • It has main channels with many tributaries

We came to realize that drainage systems in slums (Kibera, Mathare) basically work as micro river systems! This made us understand that it has to have an outlet, and both Kibera and Mathare have outlets in the form of rivers that run through them.

All of this helped us made our action plan:

  • All the drainage flows towards the rivers, so we started collecting data along the rivers.
  • The next step is to collect data for the main channels, which lie along the main paths.
  • After this, we focused on the smaller paths in the slum, collecting points of interest along the way. This includes the start and end points for “following” a drainage line, intersections of different lines, man-holes (along sewage lines), and broken sewage lines. At intersections, we’re collecting the directions of different intersecting lines
  • Throughout this process, the use of building extraction (when possible) helps us sketch the drainage lines

After the extensive data collection we’ll use the satellite imagery and building extraction to help us determine the exact positions of drainage lines.

Mapping Open Drainage

So, what’s next?

Just knowing and understanding the situation will not make it better. This means that our process cannot end with mapping, but will take the map and the information we collect a step further to actually make the information useful and create an impact. The next step is bringing together community members, stakeholders, NGOs, local administration and government representatives and expose the problem with a method I like to call: “A punch in the face” – where we present the problem, with maps and other media, in all its vastness, and hopefully get some heads thinking and acting upon the information which is presented. The map lets stakeholders present problems to responsible actors in a comprehensive and difficult to ignore manner, making the issues more concrete than just words by providing detailed geographical representations of their scope and characteristics.

In order for this last step to be successful, local ownership, insights, and understandings of both the issues at hand and how mapping and presenting information can help bring change, is crucial. Creating this local ownership amongst key stakeholders – namely the local Map Mathare and Map Kibera teams – has to start from the very beginning of the process. We are working hard to create this local ownership from the beginning in Mathare and to bring a greater sense of ownership to the Kibera teams.

Map Kibera and Map Mathare are currently involved in vast mapping operations regarding Water and Sanitation in both Mathare and Kibera, two of the biggest slums in Nairobi. These projects are big as the issues they are trying to address and will present test whether exposing vast quantities of information about a particular issue truly has the ability to influence change. As I often say: Collecting data, as complicated and hard as it may be, is the easiest part here.

[More of the same on Mapping: No Big Deal]

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