Mapping Mathare – the beginnings

by: October 4th, 2010 comments: 0

Meeting with District Officer in Mathare

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

  1. Lack of individuals voice in decisions affecting them
  2. 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.

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