Map Kibera Tracking the Virus and Creating Awareness

by: April 9th, 2021 comments: 0

One year ago, the world was overwhelmed by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This prompted a change in the way things are done and organizations were forced to adapt new ways of coping with the global crisis. Map Kibera therefore was honored to execute a project dubbed Kenya Covid-19 Tracker that involved mapping of COVID-19 data in Kenya-with emphasis on informal settlements i.e. Kibera and Mathare. 

Map Kibera designed an open, detailed yet simple Ushahidi Deployment map (Kenya Covid-19 tracker) that illustrates the extent of the infections of the corona virus per county, with help from individual donors through Global Giving. The site has tracked resources made available by many different organizations and the government to halt the pandemic in the slum areas of Kibera and Mathare, such as hand wash points, mask and soap giveaways, food distribution and more. The Kenya COVID-19 Tracker also shows news that is directly related to the corona virus sourced from blogs, websites and eye-witness accounts among other various sources. Visit (https://kenyacovid19.ushahidi.io/views/map)

Though  the better half of 2020 involved working remotely as opposed to the traditional 9 to 5, map kibera managed to coordinate a great number of events both remotely and physically with strict adherence to the COVID-19 restrictions that were stipulated by the Ministry of Health and the Kenyan Government. Some of these activities include:

Map Kibera staff together with community volunteers who participated in the project clad in the T-shirts that were distributed to create awareness.

Map Kibera staff together with community volunteers who participated in the project clad in the T-shirts that were distributed to create awareness.

Training of community volunteers.

Thanks to a partnership developed with Ushahidi and FCDO-DAP funding, volunteers and enumerators were trained via webinars and physical meetings that were strictly adherent to the COVID-19 protocols. They used mobile phones to capture data on the ground (Ushahidi Mobile Application) and uploaded the same to the Kenya Covid-19 Tracker. There was also desktop based research that was conducted remotely to report also on the-news, cases of infection, death and recoveries. Additionally, Map Kibera staff were tasked with quality assurance, this ensured that data added on the Kenya Covid-19 Tracker were accurate and timely and as truthful as possible to avoid cases of misinformation and rumor mongering.

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Community volunteers from Kibera during one of the training sessions at Mchanganyiko in Kibera.

Field mapping and reporting

Since mapping and data collection is labour intensive, Map Kibera had to recruit data enumerators and volunteers from all the villages of both Kibera and Mathare to assist in the mapping of COVID-19 resources and also report on the news. This involved mapping out of hand washing stations that were donated by various organizations, food distribution conducted by various charitable organizations and also in general; the distribution of various  items that ranged from face masks, hand sanitizers and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) that were donated to various health facilities to assist in the fight against the spread of COVID-19.

https://kenyacovid19.ushahidi.io/views/map

https://kenyacovid19.ushahidi.io/views/map

 

Updates and Follow up

Furthermore, there was also need to make regular updates due to the emerging issues in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Towards the end of the year 2020, certain trends were emerging that needed to be captured in the story map. For instance food donations were gradually decreasing as the government initiated economic recovery plans and this move so many people resume work. Consequently as the situation normalized, people also started neglecting some of the protocols and this resulted in the neglect of hand washing stations-which were in most cases taken by individuals for domestic use.

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Map Kibera’s Zack Wambua conducting a training session on the Kenya covid-19 tracker project.

 Mural on the Wall

Map Kibera went a step further to draw murals on public spaces in both Kibera and Mathare. The purpose of the murals was to create public awareness and also create an offline platform for the public to interact with the data on the Ushahidi Deployment map (kenya covid-19 tracker). This has proved to be a useful approach because it ensures transparency and data sharing to the benefit of the community at hand-in this case Mathare & Kibera.

Kibera Resources mural along Kibera Drive.

Kibera Resources mural along Kibera Drive.

 

A mural in Mathare showing the Covid-19 Resources

A mural in Mathare showing the Covid-19 Resources

Humans of Kibera & Mathare

Kibera News Network (KNN) also started an initiative called Humans of Kibera and Mathare. In this case random people from both locations were interviewed and they shared their ordeal during the Coronavirus pandemic and how they made it through the tough season that was characterized by lockdowns and curfews.

mona

 

Internet provision from Moja WiFi

Map Kibera also partnered with Moja WiFi to provide internet services at specific public points in both Kibera and Mathare slums. Since most of the work had to be online. Furthermore Moja wifi showed some of the video clips from KNN on their online platform in a bid to further share with the public regarding covid-19 experiences and eye witness stories.

Posters were also circulated to the residents of Kibera and Mathare to create awareness.

Posters were also circulated to the residents of Kibera and Mathare to create awareness.

IMG_20201119_130437The team from Mathare were equally excited for being involved in the project.

Impact 

The Kenya COVID-19 Tracker had a great impact on the residents of Kibera and Mathare as well. People had the chance to interact with the data through the wall murals and the online platform. “…We know that information is power and the ability to access it is even more powerful…” as stated by Moses Omondi, a resident of Kibera and also team leader for Adopt a family, an NGO that has used the data provided by the Kenya COVID-19 Tracker deployment map. He further acknowledged that the map offered direction in terms of where to source for different services, how to also access different resources like food distribution and donations with regards to the COVID-19 challenges in Kibera. The deployment map was created in a way that it can be used for various purposes like for health reasons, logistical and also general information. 

In conclusion, the Kenya Covid-19 Tracker Project was a success and the extensive data that was generated is actually free to all interested parties and can prove resourceful with regards to how informal settlements are equipped in times of distress; for this case a disease outbreak. This open data can be used to address an occurrence of the same nature and magnitude and with the insights provided, the necessary measures can be applied to achieve the best results in governance and service provision.

 

 

International Open Data Day at Kibera Town Centre

by: March 11th, 2020 comments: 0

To mark the International Open Data Day, Map Kibera, on Saturday 7th March, took the initiative of hosting a half day forum in order to discuss Open Data with partner organizations, community leaders and members not only from Kibera but the larger Nairobi area. The aim of the event was to try and simplify the concept of open data to the grassroots level, and further promote the use of open data among the community members in order to promote data driven development.

Participants following up on the session keenly

Participants following up on the session keenly

The event kicked off with Zack Wambua, who is Mapping Coordinator at Map Kibera, talking about the importance of Open Data. He highlighted examples of Open Data and the importance of having open data such as giving clear information and containing rumors and making data accessible and reachable.

Sharon Omojah represented OSM (Open Street Map) Kenya and explained to those who had attended what OSM Kenya is and the work it does. She gave an example of the Mapathon as one of OSM Kenya activities. She also explained the benefits of being a member of OpenStreetMap as more questions were asked about OSM Kenya mission and whether trainees were awarded certificates after OSM trainings. She stated that the OSM Kenya mission is to have an updated map of Kenya and yes, certificates are awarded after trainings.

Sharon presenting about OSM Kenya.

Sharon presenting about OSM Kenya.

Zack Wambua took the attendees through how Map Kibera started. He explained Kibera was just a blank sport on the government map and there was need to have a detailed map of Kibera to show that there’s life in Kibera, and that’s where Map Kibera stepped in to provide the first map of Kibera, which has since been reproduced thematically. Map Kibera uses OpenStreetMap because it is open and accessible.

Zack talked about Open Schools Kenya, how it can be accessed and the information one can find when searching for a particular school from the website. People could see an example of a printed Open Schools map on the wall. There was a suggestion to map the Kibera population which has been a controversial issue for long.

The attendees also watched a small video done in Kibera asking people on the street about what they know about Open Data. Zack led a small exercise on what people had learnt from the video and what they thought of the answers given on Open Data.

There was a breakout session where the forum split into 3 groups to discuss the Open Data rising questions among them, why there weren’t many people who have attended Open Data forums. Most of the audience had an idea of what open data entails and even went ahead to share some of their experiences like accessing census data, and the country’s financial budget among others.

One of the group discussing about Open data, during the breakout sessions

One of the group discussing about open data, during the breakout sessions

Discussions followed on the benefits of open data and accessibility, where we had an example of how Kenya Urban Roads Authority had hid the data of possible people to be displaced by the road cutting through Kibera.

The last session of the day was led by Lucy, where she introduced the participants to Maps.Me and OpenStreetMap. She did a step by step demonstration of how to map new points as well as how to upload them to OpenStreetmap. Majority of the participants were excited that they can now be able to add new map features of their neighborhood. Since this an extensive course, there was a request that Map Kibera should organize more training on open mapping of which most participants have already registered for it.

Among the recommendations were organizing for more sensitization forums and further defining open data in a simpler way that can be understood by ordinary citizens. There is also is a need to conduct more training on open data platforms in order to promote open data in the community.

 

The Plight of Schools Demolished in Kibera

by: November 9th, 2018 comments: 0

Road demolition

 

2018 is a year that most of Kibera residents would really like to forget. In the last 6 months, the residents of Kibera have been waking up to the sounds of bulldozers in their neighbourhood- not for purposes of evading traffic along Lang’ata road or Ngong Road. This time they had come with one purpose, to bring down structures which most of them had called home. To some, it was their business which ensured that they had something on the table at the end of the day. And to others these structures served as schools where their children went to learn and get the necessary knowledge that would prepare them for the market place and change their lives forever.

A Map designed by Zack Wambua showing the effects of the demolitions of schools in Kibera.

A map designed by Zack Wambua showing the effects of the demolitions of schools in Kibera (click image to expand).

The demolitions in Kibera affected 4 schools that were located near the railway line around 42 area and 10 more schools were affected when structures were demolished to pave way for the construction of Kibera Link road (the road meant to link Ngong road and Lang’ata road to ease traffic on Ngong road).

Demolition of structures that are along the railway line at 42

Demolition of structures that are along the railway line at 42

A bulldozer brings down structures around the DC's place.

A bulldozer brings down structures around the DC’s place.

After all these incidents Map Kibera team went back to the field to track the schools that were affected and update their current location on the Open Schools Kenya website. On our way, we stopped at Babylon Day Care to talk to the school head (who also happens to own the school) to find out if she knows where some of the demolished schools might have moved to. In between our conversation, we learnt that one of her other schools had also been demolished. Her face was filled with grief and sadness as she explained to us how she was forced to take some of her students to the nearest schools because she had nowhere to take them. We asked if she intends to reopen her school again and she told us she doesn’t see the need to and if she gets that chance again she will only do that in her rural place. After our short talk she shared with us the contacts of another school called Damside Preparatory that was affected and told us that the principal of that school would be in a position to tell us where the other schools relocated to.

 

Field work 1

In some area we had find a way through the muddy footpaths to find the schools

In some area we had find a way through the muddy footpaths to find the schools

I quickly saved the number on my phone and proceeded to where we had been directed. When we got there, we were met with a vast empty land and the remains of what used to be people’s homes and schools. I called the school head and after a brief introduction he told me to go to where the school used to be as he was already there. We went through the rubble and after few miles we saw a group of people standing together. When we got to where they were we quickly introduced ourselves. The school head introduced the team that he was with, which comprised of class 8 candidates and two parents. The school head reminded us that the place where we were standing on is where their school used to stand and they were meeting there to finalize on their preparations for the forthcoming national exams. We were curious to find out where the students will sit for their exams now that the school had been demolished.

“The government offered space for the students in one of the nearby public school and so that is where they will do their exams,” said the school head.

“So what is next for the school? Have you found a place to move to?” we asked.

“Yes we got a place, we bought land somewhere close to Kiserian and that is where we have moved to,” said the school head. He went on to say, “So far we have been able to construct 2 classrooms and a dormitory. The plan is to have the school operate as a boarding school.”

“But that’s too far from Kibera, what happens to your students who live in Kibera?”

“I agree that’s far and the move has proved to be a challenge to some of our students since majority of them were needy and so they cannot afford all the requirements to be in a boarding school. We would have loved to move closer but where in Kibera can we move to? We all know how hard it is to get land let alone to get a title deed.”

The School head of Damside narrating their ordeal

The School Head of Damside narrating their ordeal

The school head went ahead to recount how they had incurred a lot of losses as a result of the demolition. He had just acquired the code to make his school an exam centre, a process that had cost him 100,000 KSH. In addition, he had just finished building a laboratory earlier this year that also cost him a large sum of money.

Afterwards, the school head agreed to an impromptu interview with members of our media team, Kibera News Network, who had accompanied us (check out their video here!). He also asked us to interview one of the parents and a student so that they can share their side of the story.

The school head later told us where the other schools moved to. One moved to a nearby SDA church, another pitched tent in a nearby health dispensary and the other one moved somewhere along Karanja road.

Field work 2

After saying goodbye, we left to find those schools and pick the coordinates of their new location. On our way we couldn’t help but think of what some schools have had to endure as a result of the demolitions. Some have been left counting

Sam picking coordinates of where one of the schools moved to.

Sam picking coordinates of where one of the schools moved to.

losses, some have been forced to shut down. Others have had to partition some of the rooms to accommodate the number of students. Parents had to go through the hustle of looking for a new school and the most affected group is the students that have to walk a long distance to their new school and at the same time adapt to the new environment. I can’t imagine what could be going through the minds of class 8 and form 4 candidates. How are they supposed to compete with students from other schools considering what they have been through? While other students were in classes reading, students from the affected schools were busy trying to salvage what they could from the rubbles of what used to be their classroom. While other students are reading their books, students from these schools lost all their books during the demolition. The few books that they could salvage would have to be shared amongst themselves which means that they don’t get a chance to carry the books home with them to read.

We will continue to follow up with the schools, and update their information and locations on Open Schools Kenya.

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