Posts tagged ‘Ground Truth’

September 6, 2011

Tandale-Finally Mapped

The mapping process which started in June 2011 from a blank spot to now a mapped has finally ended. The final map is a product of close collaboration between the community in Tandale and Ardhi University students. The community leaders mostly sub chairmen from the six wards of Tandale through the stewardship Executive Ward Officer have been very supportive of the whole process. In the last two months a few important lessons for community mapping emerged that I feel is important for community development workers and mobilizers. The most important less was that government structures at the community level is critical when introducing community mapping. The blessing of officer at the ground makes it easier for the map to be distributed to relevant departments in engaged in developing a community. A place which is marginalized like Tandale needs the support of all stakeholder be it government, NGOs, CBOs or religious institution.

Women / young girls engaged in the project exhibited more willingness and interest with the technology used, camer/video and GPS. At the end of the training, the best essay was about the project was from lady university student. She enumerated how we could use the training and equipment to address garbage problem in Tandale.

Simon

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August 10, 2011

PEOPLES INVOLVEMENT IN MAPPING

People’s involved in development is not something new in Tanzania, the first president of the nation once “If real development is to take place, the people have to be involved.” Working with community members today really reminded me of this wonderful quote. As walked with a group of community members to map one of the six sub wards and the biggest, I was first struck by how community members in our training went on explaining the what the exercise was all about and one community member responded, “Baada ya kumaliza kuchora ramani mturejeshee  sisi ili tuweze kuona ni jinsi gani jamii yetu inavyo kaa (When you finishing drawing the maps, bring them back to us so that we can see how our community look likes)”.

In an open society like that of Tanzania people have culture of being represented by elected people at the grass root and government has a good network of communicating with people. Therefore involving people and government agencies become gateway to success of starting community initiative. By the end of day, the government is the biggest investor in putting up infrastructure needed required for ICT development in most countries.

The use of ICT gadgets like Global Positioning System, modern video and user friendly digital cameras make it easier for people to want to use them in making and sharing information. By presenting what Ushahidi platform and its wonders, people in Tandale were eager to go out to map their community and tell their own stories.  A university Amuri has today designed his blog (nyarpress.blogspot.com) page to tell stories about his community back in DCR.

Having advanced ICT drives people from sharing and accessing information. Looking back at and the most publicize Kenya Open Data website which is more relevant to researchers than ordinary citizens. Open information data need to be open and not hidden in technicalities and boring presentation. A presentation like  this video demonstrates the inherent appeal of the idea shows us an appealing way of sharing information using technology can attract feelings and need for action.

Lesson Learnt: The key to people generating, sharing information in the community is dependent on how user friendly the technology be used and how it is presented.

Simon

August 9, 2011

Community Mapping Starts in Tandale, Dar

Community mapping starts at Dar es Salaam

The community arrived on time as expected and so were the students from department of Urban Planning from University of Ardhi University. This is a unique partnership through which students bring their expertise while community contributes their experience for development.

Tandale is one of the wards in Dar es Salaam and is made up of six sub-wards. The ward has a development committee and there is an Executive Ward Officer who oversees the implementation of government policies at the ward level. Some wards like Masese have been fairly developed and has improved infrastructure courtesy of World Bank  support under the Community Infrastructure Upgrading Program facility. The story is different in the neighbouring which is prone to flooding, poor access road and drainage / sanitation system. However people are wonderful and despite it being a ‘mtaa’ as our host described it one cannot compared it to places like Mathare and Kibera. It is far much better.

As in all workshops there was a brief introduction on the purpose of the Tandale mapping project which was ‘to introduce use of participatory technologies for development in Tandale by producing a base map and starting community media initiative.

The forum was started off by a speech by Tandale Word Executive Manager. More than 37 people including community members. Participants were happy to learn that they can be able to produce a map about their community and use to engage with the government and NGOs in the development and improvement of infrastructure. Currently Tandale and most of Dar es Salaam appears as blank spot on the Open Street Map platform.

Some of the suggestion participants shared on how maps and the use of citizen reporting can be used for development included;

–          The map produced will help improve dialogue between community and development partners for infrastructure improvements

–          Through citizen mapping, the community will highlight its own issues as opposed to mainstream media which focuses on mostly the negatives

–          The use of map and community reporting will help stimulate adoption of local solution to problems faced by the communities

–          The community will acquire new skills in ICT helpful in mass circulation / distribution of information

For the next four weeks, Map Kibera Trust will be in Dar es Salaam training community members and students on community participatory mapping skills, use of simple technologies and citizen reporting.

LESSON LEARNT: Communities are capable of interpreting maps they have participated in developing and using it to initiate dialogue with development partners and government agencies. What communities needs is ‘method’ of presenting the data collected.

Simon

August 6, 2011

Map Kibera Trust in Dar es Salaam

Community Mapping, participation, involvement and engagement are commonly used word when it comes to development. I have been Dar es Salaam for the last one week and I have manage to learn the real meaning of these words.

Starting tomorrow, be ready to be taken through ‘use of participatory approach and simple technologies’ in enhancing development. Technology is the only universal language that speak development for people by the people.

Welcome
Simon

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