Crowdmapping in the Midst of a Pandemic

by: November 25th, 2020 comments: 1

The Kenya covid tracker main page, with map showing distribution of cases, resources and other posts

The Kenya covid tracker main page, with map showing distribution of cases, resources and other posts

2020 has been a unique year owing to the fact that the whole world was brought to a stand-still by a global pandemic. Kibera and other informal settlements of Nairobi weren’t spared either. Most of the Kibera residents work as casual labourers and due to the regulations set up by the government, the majority of the residents lost their jobs while some had to shut down their business. This left most of them having to rely on well wishers for any form of support.

In response to this, many organizations came up with initiatives to support the community; this varied from sensitization activities, food and soap distributions, setting up hand wash points and other relevant resources. Map Kibera, having worked with these organizations in other events and activities, partnered with them to:

  • Map out their activities and post them on the Ushahidi-based Kenya Covid-19 tracker; this included training them on how to post their work and offering support in posting them where necessary.
  • Directly support the programmes they were implementing on the ground.
A group photo with representatives of different organizations in Mathare.

A group photo with representatives of different organizations in Mathare.

A group photo with representatives of different organizations in Kibera.

A group photo with representatives of different organizations in Kiber

 

Mid this year Map Kibera was awarded the 2020 Rapid response Micro-grant funds by Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) to support our Ushahidi deployment. We created the site for tracking Covid-19 cases, resources and news related to Covid-19 —primarily in Kibera as well as the other informal settlements of Nairobi, but also other parts of country. The goal was to keep this information together in one easy place, allowing people to see what is going on around them that might be relevant to them. This was also to aid in our efforts to keep Kibera, one of the most vulnerable communities to illness, healthy during this pandemic. 

 

Joshua doing a live demo of how the Kenya Covid Tracker platform works

Joshua doing a live demo of how the Kenya Covid Tracker platform works

Joshua introducing the project to the team from different organizations in Kibera

Joshua introducing the project to the team from different organizations in Kibera

 

Some of the participants testing how to add posts on the Ushahidi using their mobile phones.

Some of the participants testing how to add posts on the Ushahidi platform using their mobile phones.

The team had already started working remotely, and therefore made use of the online tools for accomplishing the mapping tasks involved in the project. The team used tools like Maps.Me, healthsites.io, and of course OpenStreetMap to work on all the mapping tasks that were agreed upon. The initial training was conducted in form of webinars through Zoom and Google Meet; this was because of government directives on safe distancing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. As the tools mentioned above suggest, the goals of the mapping activity were the following:

  • To train community volunteers on how to add and edit information remotely on OpenStreetMap
  • To ensure timely and accurate health data on OpenStreetMap
  • To improve coverage of maps on health in the country (especially on informal-settlements)

    Screenshot of one of the webinars we hosted

    Screenshot of one of the webinars we hosted

 Amidst the pandemic, one unique thing that has prevailed is how resilient we can be as humans. In Kibera, our news team KNN captured a story of a lady who used donations given to her to start a business, hence having a more sustainable means of supporting her family.

All these various activities have enabled the organization to achieve new milestones with regards to Open Data. Since map data is dynamic, the Map Kibera team has been able to create new data, and update already existing data. One way has been through data import; around June, we worked closely with UN Habitat by assisting them to mobilize youths from Kibera who we have engaged previously in some of our mapping activities. The exercise saw the team collect basic information about specific features in Kibera relevant to the Covid pandemic. After the exercise, we uploaded this open data into OSM. Considering Map Kibera has done extensive mapping in the area, we needed to ensure there were no duplicates, and if the feature had already been mapped, to update the feature with the new data. The data import process has been documented on wiki. So far we have managed to add and update over 1400 features on OSM in Kibera and Mathare. Later on UN Habitat shared more data with us to import, this saw us cover new areas such as Kawangware and Kisumu (the import for the two new locations is still ongoing).

Our team members from Mathare while on the field to cross-check and verify the data that was imported and checking for any extra information that was not captured.

Our team members from Mathare while on the field to cross-check and verify the data that was imported and checking for any extra information that was not captured.

We also have recently trained more community ambassadors on the use of various mapping platforms that are freely available and accessible to the public. This wouldn’t be easy to achieve without the financial and moral support from HOT and all the parties that were involved in the Micro-grant Program.

Open Schools Kenya: Kangemi

by: October 31st, 2018 comments: 2

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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.

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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!