YOUTH MAPPERS AT THE DATA FOR DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA CONFERENCE

by: August 30th, 2017 comments: 0

MAPATHON AT YALI REGIONAL LEADERSHIP CENTER

A Mapathon was held at Young African Leadership Initiative Regional Leadership Center in Kenyatta University, Kenya on June 27, 2017. It brought together Youth Mappers and participants from YALI Alumni, The University of Nairobi, Dedan Kimathi University, Jomo Kanyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and Kenyatta University. The event was facilitated by Map Kibera Trust and hosted by YALI.

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The Mapathon was aimed towards contributing in a mapping project to assist in the fight against AIDS and Malaria in Siaya (Bondo) using OpenStreetMap. The Mapathon is designed to improve availability of geographic data for programs supported by PEPFAR, (U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief). The Mapathon also took place in advance of a high level conference in Nairobi on Data for Sustainable Development in Africa which was organized by The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, which brought together participation of senior government officials across the region and globally.

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What is a Mapathon? It is a coordinated mapping event where the public is invited to make online map improvements in their local areas as well as areas across borders to improve coverage and help in areas such as disaster risk assessment. Mapathons basically use online sites for storing map data. In our case we use OpenStreetMap. Mapathons also help in contributing to missing maps as well as being a unique and engaging opportunity for volunteers to digitally connect and map most vulnerable places in the developing world, so that the local and international NGOs can use these comprehensive maps and data to better respond to crises affecting these areas.

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HIGH LEVEL MEETING FOR DATA AND DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA

The world is rapidly changing especially towards Information and Technology. To run societies effectively, governments and all stakeholders are increasingly working towards getting quicker solutions to highlight and solve societal problems. This has been made easier by the use of data in order to capture , store, analyze and present different parameters of interest in different sectors of economies and society. Data has therefore been embraced with this respect.

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Data for Development in Africa was an important meeting that saw different governments and institutions come together in order to create a common ground to be able to achieve Sustainable Development Goals, that offer a pathway for countries, especially developing ones, to achieve development at both Economic and Social levels. The meeting was held for two days 29th-30th June 2017 in Nairobi. The theme was ‘Unleashing the Power of Data & Partnerships for Africa’. Among the key topics of the day were: Data for Agriculture, Livelihoods and Economy; Using data innovations and partnerships to improve lives; Mainstreaming data innovation at National level; Accessing vital services; data that leaves no- one behind; New skills for new data needs; developing home grown talent; Developing Institutional and Human capabilities. In line with the topics of the day, the first day of the meeting saw the various speakers highlight how data was central in service delivery, research work and generally on addressing human and environmental issues. African countries were the best example as they offered insight to the use of data at both local and national level.

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The second day of the meeting focused on the implementation of the data revolution as the multi-stakeholder panel discussed with the audience on how tools, technologies, hubs and approaches to take forward the discussion from the previous day. Different organizations were also given the opportunity to showcase their work with respect to the use of data in highlighting and addressing societal challenges for the realization of development in Africa. This saw our organization, Map Kibera Trust, attract positive attention on our effort to map social amenities in the slums of Kibera and basically offering great insight to the gradual development of the region over the past decade. This was also a great opportunity to share our partnership and joint works with the Youth Mappers in the recent past, and showcase our assistance in mapathons especially towards the fight against the spread of HIV & AIDS, environmental disasters and malaria.

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We thank The Government of Kenya and The Global Partnership For Sustainable Development for facilitating the High Level meeting. It is through such efforts that a common ground is created to allow for the bridging of gaps between Public, Private and Non Governmental Organizations to work towards a common goal.

Guest post by Phylister Mutinda and Peter Agenga from University of Nairobi Youth Mappers

Photographing Schools In Kibera

by: August 18th, 2014 comments: 0

A Daily Diary post by Map Kibera team member, Steve Banner

Steve photographs a school for the Open Schools website

Pictures tell a lot, probably too much for some head teachers in Kibera. They won’t allow anyone to take them in their compound before you explain in detail why you have to take photos, what you intend to do with them and of course how they stand to benefit. Before you pull your digital camera out of your pocket, and press anything, the head teachers, directors, or teachers in charge have a number of questions for you to answer. Forget the journalistic five W and H, theirs probably double or even triple that of journalists.

Me, and my colleague Zack met our first questions at Kicoshep School, where the head teacher wondered why a lot of research was being done in Kibera and what the impact of all these research would be. We took her through the details of the project that entailed collecting new data and coming up with a website that will bring together all the educational facilities in Kibera, and how, not only her school, but all the schools in Kibera stood to benefit from the project outcome. She agreed to help fill the form we had, but then she sent us to their headquarters near Wilson airport to get permission to take photos in her school.

No shutter was going to be pressed at Shofco School for Girls either. Explanation given was that there are strict rules on photo taking in and around the school. Shutter was pressed at Bethel school, but not until after we had spent two hours trying to convince the head teacher, her deputy and other two teachers who had many questions to ask, including some in vernacular language that none of us could understand. They argued that since we as Map Kibera are the ones who will host the website, Map Kibera stood to benefit more than them, citing past examples where organizations collected data and nothing was ever seen or heard of them again. They were keen to know the most immediate benefit that they’ll see and fell just short of asking to be paid for the information they were to give. But just when we were giving up on them, they gave in to our request.

Otherwise, I was free to slide the exposure of my Canon and turn on my flash sensor where I felt necessary in all other schools, which was both fun and educative in equal measure.

Every moment I had my lens focused on a signpost, school compound or classroom, most of which were in a very poor condition, I felt like I was doing something that the Kenyan government had failed in: giving the schools a voice to speak on the challenges they face. For instance, some school directors pointed out that the government is not very keen in improving education within the slum itself, and is only doing so in the schools that are on the outskirts of the slum. So by me being there documenting the facilities with my camera, I felt that I was indirectly offering a solution to the problems facing school going children in Kibera slums.

So, as I switched off the camera, I felt an inner satisfaction that I had done what many people, government officials included, had failed to do to the schools in Kibera, and when we’ll see improvement in education within Kibera as a result of the online education directory, my happiness will be complete.

Meet the Parents: Weighing in on Open Schools project

by: August 14th, 2014 comments: 0

A Daily Diary post by Map Kibera team leader, Joshua Ogure

Meeting with Parents at AIC Church Olympic

I myself am a parent in Kibera. As a part and parcel of this project, having done the survey as well, I must say this project has already been of great benefit to me. I already know what kinds of schools exist in Kibera, where exactly they are, what programs they offer, and indeed how much they charge, because of this project. In fact I have decided which school my baby class daughter will attend come next year.

But it was interesting to see how other parents responded during a gathering we held to introduce them to our project. On Saturday June 7, 2014, the day after the meeting with teachers, we had a similar meeting with a portion of Kibera parents, held at one of the halls of AIC church in Olympic.

Parents too came late – lateness for parents was considered even more normal than for teachers. Anyway, the first ten minutes saw a very bored, non-interested parent, yeah, there were some technical hitches, one computer refused to connect to the internet keeping a section of parents waiting. Maybe it was the reason for low mood, but as the presentation continued, their presence could be felt. They started asking important questions and the house turned lively.

Different parents have different preferences, and in this meeting parents expressed their interest to have something that could help them make informed choices of which school to take their kids instead of relying mostly on the neighbors, or rumors. Parents wanted information on qualification of teachers, availability of scholarships/sponsors, security of their children, school fees, special programs, e.g. many parents prefer a school with feeding program. Parents also are keen on which faith a school is affiliated to, that is whether Muslim or Christian.

But many Kibera parents do not have an access to the Internet, so how would they get the information? They suggested that the information could be made available to them through printed booklets, SMS, Newsletters, Radio, or printed maps. They also preferred that we find a way to disseminate the data through public “Barazas” and parent meetings at schools.

Parents want all the relevant information including fees published online, something that some teachers were not so comfortable about. Teachers were worried that it would be too easy for the public including “bad people” to just calculate what amount of money a school gets monthly or yearly, if the fee verses the population is put public. They feared that this would trigger attacks at schools since most of the parents pay cash. Parents on the other hand want to know how much schools charge versus how populated they are. Many parents would avoid overpopulated schools.

Parents also were so brave to declare that they will not be worried to have their names attached to a comment on the website for fear of victimization. “In fact that one should be encouraged so that schools can be criticized for a positive change,” says Mr. Nyamweya Ngare, a parent at Olympic Primary School. “It will also increase the level of transparency,” he added.

From these two important forums, the questions, the comments, the points, the concerns and the ideas contributed, helped us get a clear direction on what kind of information to go for. Wednesday the following week we were set to roll, taking pictures and asking questions at every school in the field.

By Joshua Ogure

Joshua Ogure, Map Kibera team coordinator

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