The work and mumblings of Mark Iliffe

Community Forum


Simon Kokoyo the community manager for the Tandale mapping project has written an excellent blog about the community forum held this morning so I won’t regurgitate too much of a good thing. The post is here and well worth a read.

The main aim of the forum was a meeting of minds, the collective community and ours. We have the issue that we may think we know what they want, however until they tell us we cannot be sure. From this end we have started the process of empowering the community about the map, in that they feel that they are part of the process, actively guiding it. This is opposed to other development projects which plough ahead regards of community sentiment and need.

We presented Open Street Map and the lack of mapping within Tandale. Currently the ward office has been traced (by me, for reference) with a few roads, presumably also traced. On showing the forum the Tandale map, in contrast with maps of Kibera and Mathare community members voiced opinion that this will not be the case for much longer!

The Voice of Kibera Ushahidi instance was also demonstrated. This illustrated how they could highlight their own issues and needs, as opposed to mainstream media where the perception is that it focuses on mostly the negative ones.

During the Q&A session towards the end of the forum the community comment was made regarding the use of the map and how something like it, combined with Ushahidi could provide for a commons in which to discuss the local solution to local problem. Concurrently this process, through being public viewable can provide a insight into community issues for outsiders looking though the looking glass.

By providing training in map making through OSM it also has the benefit in other areas. The community members will have an enhanced computer literacy due to the interaction with GPS’ and computers. This isn’t to say they will become expert mappers but will gain transferable skills.

The students will gain an enhanced view of their chosen field; urban planning, from a different direction. About five students from the group were very keen on learning more about remote sensed images, others about using social media to tell community stories.

The next stage in mapping will be some field work! Six groups will be formed a mix of students and community. These groups will be supported by the trainers in Tandale for about two hours, where yours truly will show all how to pull GPS tracks using GPSBabel and upload to OSM using JOSM. Topics to be covered will be the tags API and editing in general.

In conclusion the community forum went well. I wish I could have understood more, while the English – Swahili language barrier was present “meme nasema ke-swahili kidogo” went down quite well in the introduction! Onwards to mapping!

Written and submitted in the Tandale Ward Office, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania (-6.797164,39.242736)

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