Its been a very busy few months for Crowd2Map. We've spoken about our work in many different online events and conferences and welcomed many new mappers from all over the world.
The Digital Champion programme we started in Serengeti 2 years ago, whereby 1 woman per village trains others in her village in digital skills and mapping, has now been expanded into Butiama and Tarime, thanks to funding from UNFPA. We are very excited that 208 more women will be able to empower their communities and get online for the first time. You can read more about this project here.
Our mapping training to community groups in Tanzania is going strong, thanks to volunteer GIS specialist Herry Kassunga who has been delivering training via zoom every week, as well as in person. This has paid dividends in building up capacity across Tanzania. Last month we were delighted that 3 of the groups he trained were awarded microgrants from Open Map Development Tanzania. So now these groups will start mapping border points in Katavi to help with disease control with the Red Cross. In Mwanza they will be monitoring hotspots of gender based violence, and Hope for Girls and Women in Mara will be mapping access to health facitlities. More details to come later.
Also Herry and 2 girls from the FGM Safe House in Mugumu were picked to take part in drone training in Tanga, as part of an Open Skies Initiative. We are hoping in future they will be able to build their own drone to help map Mara.
Thank you for all your support that has made this possible.
It has been a difficult year for everyone, and we hope you are staying safe. In previous years we've managed to organise large scale events in Tanzania for Open Data Day on March 6th. In 2020 we had an event with Open Map for Development Tanzania in Dar es Salaam.
This year we had a virtual event with a focus on gender data for Tanzania. We had a great range of speakers from Tanzania, Kenya, Europe and the US on different aspects such as education, health, agriculture and access to finance and technology. This was followed by a discussion on the importance of such disagregated data to promote gender equality and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. You can see the presentations here and watch the recording here.
We also had a small training session in Matare village, Serengeti, where we are starting a project to monitor progress towards the SDGs at a village level.
We also talked about the project at various events such as this one for Tech(K)Now here, and the World Summit on the Information Forum where we talked about the Digital Divide and how the Digital Champions project we set up with Hope is addressing this.
Finally, for International Women's Day we held an online mapathon with American Red Cross, in which over 200 women helped map our projects..
This month we hope to extend the Digital Champions project to Butiama District. We are also arranging various online events for Innovation Week in Tanzania to help spread the word and recruit more volunteer mappers.
Thank you again for your generosity in supporting this project.
Crowd2Map was started five years ago this month. Since then over 15 thousand volunteers have added over 4.5 million buildings in Tanzania into OpenStreetMap.
These better maps have been crucial in helping FGM activists like Rhobi Samwelly from Hope and the local police she works with help protect and rescue girls from FGM. She estimates that these maps have saved over 3000 girls from being cut, as outlined in a recent article in The Independent newspaper.
There are currently 130 girls in the two safe houses, but Rhobi is expecting to rescue over 350 more before the end of the year, as a cutting season has just started. So the maps will have a lot of use.
Wednesday marks the beginning of the annual 16 Days of Activism Campaign. This runs between the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, until 10 December, Human Rights Day.
Rhobi will be organising various events as part of the campaign, and we will be having different mapathons, including with the local Red Cross that we have been training recently.
Thank you for your support during this difficult year, and best wishes for the festive season. I hope you are able to celebrate with your loved ones to some extent, and stay safe..
State of the Map is the annual conference of the OpenStreetMap global community. This year it was scheduled to be in Cape Town and we were looking forward to presenting our work on fighting FGM with maps and on building a mapping community in Tanzania.
However, with the COVID pandemic the conference was moved online and so we presented virtually, which did mean that many more mappers from Tanzania and beyond were able to participate. You can see our talks here and the rest of the programme here.
It is difficult to know exactly what is happening with the pandemic as the government has not released any figures since the end of May. Schools reopened at the end of June and some of the girls have started returning to their villages from the Safe Houses.
Rhobi has also started training mappers in Butiama district, and they and the digital champions in Serengeti will be participating in research with Nottingham University around the effectiveness of different interventions against FGM.
We are also planning virtual training for a new Youthmapper chapter in Mwanza soon.
Thank you for your generosity in supporting this project!
I hope everyone is keeping safe in these very challenging times. I returned from 6 weeks in Tanzania a fortnight ago to lockdown in London. I am fortunate here to have reliable electricity, internet, water and a reasonable amount of space. Obviously that is not the situation for many in Tanzania. We are helping to spread messages around hand washing and social distancing where possible in Tanzania.
Schools there are shut and large gatherings banned now, although people continue to go to church and the mosque. We are helping provide access to hand washing facilities and other support for particularly vulnerable groups such as street children. School closures mean the cutting season has started early, and Rhobi is already getting new girls arriving. She has converted the classroom into an isolation room for new arrivals and those with symptoms.
We are also working with Healthsites to update health centre information on openstreetmap where possible. We have postponed field mapping and are concentrating on remote mapping for now. We have had more new mappers who are in lockdown joining us recently and have been holding virtual mapathons.
While in Tanzania we helped organise a very successful event for Open Data Day which you can read about here. We also did follow up training with Rhobi and her staff at the Safe Houses. We also set up 2 new Youthmapper chapters in Musoma and Mwanza and had a stall explaining our work at Innovation Week in Dar es Salaam.
Thank you for your generosity and stay safe in these very challenging times.
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