Celebrating women in mapping: Lowri Harris

This month we have been celebrating just some of the women around the world who contribute to our work to eradicate FGM in Tanzania.

This week, Lowri shares her experience of mapping over the last seven months.

What are you doing currently: I am currently a second year student studying BA History at the University of Exeter in the UK.

Why this cause:  I came across this cause through the United Nations online volunteer website and it instantly appealed to me. Participating in mapping feels like such a simple way to make such a huge difference to real people’s lives from behind my laptop. Mapping is super enjoyable whilst also helping a wonderful cause. I feel really passionate about the goal of the Tanzania Development Trust in attempting to prevent the awful cases of FGM that are happening in Tanzania. I think as a young female, the cause really resonated with me and I felt super keen on trying to help. It has really made me appreciate even more the safety of where I am fortunate enough to have been born and live. Furthermore, I have enjoyed the challenge of learning how to map as I was completely new to it so I feel like I have gained a new skill in the 7 months I have been mapping for!

Find out more and get involved here

Celebrating women in mapping: Megan Huber

We are continuing our celebration of the many women who support our work as volunteer mappers around the world. Our volunteers make up a global cohort that is collaborating virtually to map rural Tanzania, and help end FGM. We will be releasing a new post each week throughout March:

Picture of volunteer Megan Huber

This week, Megan Huber explains why mapping is important to her and others.

Location: Virginia, USA

What are you doing currently: I’m a contractor in the security and defence sector supporting the development of gender mainstreaming practices and integrating a gender perspective into cross-functional workstreams.

Why this cause: Initiatives that prevent and protect women and girls against any forms of violence are very dear to my heart. I aspire to remain resilient in tackling gender-based violence and volunteering through Tanzania Development Trust reminds me of how violence is not discriminate, but the different forms are depending on many factors (such as age and gender). There are many chances to grow through this initiative, I recommend it!

Why mapping: Being able to volunteer virtually is a lot more convenient for international folk. GIS is a unique skill that I find very interesting, so being able to combine two areas that I like makes this volunteering opportunity very motivating to me!

Mapping since: 2018

Find out more and get involved here

Exploring Open Gender Data for Tanzania

For Open Data Day on March 6th 2021 Crowd2map hosted a webinar on Open Gender Data for Tanzania. We were joined by a number of amazing speakers:

  • Revi Stirling – Director, USAID W-GDP WomenConnect Challenge will talk about financial inclusion and the digital divide.
  • Naledi Hollbruegge, Data Scientist at UNDP. Naledi has a background in Psychology and started her career in social research before becoming a data analyst focusing on self-service analytics tools and data visualisation. She now works with nonprofit organisations to support them in making more data-driven decisions and gain insights through effective data visualisation.
  • Dr Annemarie Middelburg. consultant and FGM expert.
  • Heather Leson, Technologist, Digital Strategy and Partnerships, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Cresent, co-curator Data Playbook
  • Laura Mugeha, Geospatial engineer & YouthMappers Regional Ambassador
  • Christina Reuben, Environmental Scientist, OMDTZ
  • Raya Idrissa Ahmada. Assistant Lecturer at the State University of Zanzibar (SUZA) and a Youthmappers Regional Ambassador. She is also the Founder of Mshauri STEM Initiative with the aim of helping young girls have STEM careers.
  • Theresia Charles Numbi, a CEO of Lighthouse (EA) Legal Clinic (LEALC), Advocate of the High Court and Assistant Lecturer at Tumaini University Dar es Salaam College.
Recording of the Open Data for Tanzania event

There was a very fruitful discussion and the opportunity for networking. In conclusion we agreed that,

 “For progress towards gender equality, we need better identification of issues affecting women and girls.”

The speakers’ slides are here. If you would like to know more about this important issue, and how to get involved, please get in touch.

Celebrating women in mapping: Sharon Omoja

This Women’s Month we are celebrating some of the many women who support our work as volunteer mappers around the world. Our volunteers make up a global cohort that is collaborating virtually to map rural Tanzania, and help end FGM. We will be releasing a new post each week throughout March:

This week we caught up with Sharon Omoja.

Location: Nairobi, Kenya

What are you doing currently: I am currently a GIS Analyst at Naturesurf systems in Nairobi. I volunteer for OpenStreetMap Kenya where I am involved in coordinating some of the community’s activities and training new mappers.

Sharon Omoja - a Crowd2Map volunteer

I also volunteer as a mentor mapper for URISA’s GIS Corps in Crowd2Map Tanzania projects, on mapping to end early child marriages and FGM in rural Tanzania.
Am also part of Women in geospatial where I serve in the mentorship programme, communications working group and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion working group.

Why this cause: I am passionate about matters on humanitarian actions and I have been involved in so many Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team mapping projects for disaster responses. I also joined URISAs GIS Corps as a volunteer in their project with Crowd2Map Tanzania because I love working on actions that are geared towards achieving SDG5, creating safe spaces for women and girls.

Why mapping:  Data availability is important as it helps to empower various organizations and communities to make important decisions in their work. For example, when we come together and map before a crisis happens, the response is faster. Mapping our community also helps us understand it better, like the resources we have, and how can we utilize them and what’s missing.

Mapping since: I joined OSM in 2016 but started serious mapping in 2018

Find out more and get involved here

Celebrating women in mapping: María Lucía Rodríguez

This month we are celebrating some of the many women who support our work as volunteer mappers, dotted all over the world. Our volunteers make up a global cohort that is collaborating virtually to map rural Tanzania, and help end FGM. They are from all sorts of backgrounds, hold different careers and live in many locations. We will be releasing a new post each week throughout March:

María Lucía Rodríguez

Location: Bogotá, Colombia

Mapping since: October 2020

What are you doing currently: I am an Architect and recently I finished my Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture in Barcelona, ​​Spain. Currently I work as a freelance developing Masterplans for a few projects.

Maria Lucia Rodriguez

Why this cause: I guess because when I first heard that female genital mutilation existed, I was shocked. I thought it was incredible that something like this still happened today and that being so far away I didn’t know how I could help. When I discovered that I could use my skills and spare time to help women on the other side of the world, I knew I had to contribute.

Why mapping: As an architect, I understand the power of drawing / mapping where and how things are and how they relate to each other. Maps have always been a key tool both in understanding a land and its people and in managing it. You can learn so much from maps and satellite images! I also wanted to learn more about GIS and its applications, and about African geography, as we often don’t know much about it in Latin America.

Find out more and get involved here

Detecting pests in Maize and Cassava with the PlantNuru app

Agriculture is the backbone of the rural economy in Tanzania and the families of girls at risk of FGM and GBV are farmers.

Although in theory there are networks of agriculture extension officers to help them, often in practice they are too far away to be of any use. Therefore, we were very pleased to learn of the PlantVillage Nuru app which seeks to help farmers improve their practice.  In February 2021 TDT  had an online training session for people interested in how to use this free app to detect Fall Army Worm (a pest for maize) and Cassava diseases which was attended by our volunteer and GIS specialist Herry Kasunga. 

Since then he has been out training our Digital Champions to use the app. As maize and cassava are the main staple crops grown in their areas this is particularly important.

Here you can see the Digital Champion for Burunga village, Agness Marinya checking her crops with the app.  She says, “It is an easy way to monitor crops and give you feedbacks on how crops grow, and I will provide training to other farmers in my village.

“With better agriculture people are less likely to need to cut their daughters and sell them for cows.  I have 3 children all girls. I am so proud of my work as a Digital Champion in Burunga, because there have been so much changes in my village.

“Now the number of girls who are cut is reduced. We all need to raise our voices to say no so our children can live free from FGM.”

The slides from our training session are here, and the recording here.  You can also view and download the slides Herry used for training the digital champions below.

Please watch this space for further updates on how this helpful app is being used in Tanzania. 

How mapping is helping Tanzanian villages source water

 

At the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team global conference on Friday December 4 2020, Herry Kasunga talked about the Water Source mapping project that he has been coordinating with the Hope for Girls and Women digital champions.

Herry Kasunga

This is an extremely important project as the majority of people in Mara, as in the rest of Tanzania, are dependent on rainwater for household water, sanitation and to grow their food. It is also estimated that 40% of village water sources are degraded or non-functional. The shots below show some of the water points used by the digital champions:

In addition, climate change further threatens water access and means droughts and average temperature rises are likely, coupled with intense flooding events with significant damage to infrastructure and livelihoods, meaning mapping will become even more important.

Herry’s presentation slides are available here.

 

Against my will: A collaborative effort to end gender inequality

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has published its State of the World Population 2020 paper. Against my will: Defying the practices that harm women and girls and undermine equality, has contributions from many important figures focused on improving female prospects globally through a combination of determination and ongoing action.

State of the world population 2020 cover

Rhobi Samwelly tells her harrowing story of experiencing near fatal female genital mutilation and seeing it kill her friend, and how this galvanised the founding of our partner organisation, Hope for Girls and Women. Rhobi is featured from page 67 of the report.
There is a wealth of important information about gender inequality within the document.  We were therefore keen to share it as a wider reading resource for those campaigning for an end to FGM and those interested in learning more about this and other practices that aim to prohibit the rights of women.

The full report can be downloaded via the UNFPA site from the button below:

Improving the impact of data from our partner, Hope for Girls and Women

‘Female Genital Mutilation’ and ‘data visualisation’ might not be two terms that you would immediately put together. However on June 1st, the Viz5 team and makeovermonday.co.uk did just that. Their global community of data enthusiasts were challenged to help communicate some of Hope for Girls and Women’s critical stats through a range of different visualisation techniques. 

Created byPriya Padham

Data can, at times, be quite impenetrable and dry. Being able to identify a logical flow and narrative using data visualisation techniques on a webpage, presentation or report, can help the information become more digestible and intuitive for the audience. According to t-sciences.com,  ‘the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual.’ 

Created byLiam Spencer

As part of the monthly #Viz5 data visualisation challenge, the team featured data from Hope in an effort to support our advocacy work and raise awareness of the fight to end FGM. There were so many great data visualisations produced! These were reviewed by Eva Murray, Technology Evangelist & Tableau Zen Master at Exasol and Seth Cochran, Founder & CEO at OpFistula.org.

  • You can see and hear the feedback they provided here.
  • The shortlisted visualisations are also available to view here.

Hope has a relationship with the Viz5 team through our association with the Tanzania Development Trust and Crowd2map. They have supported with our data collection and mapping of Tanzania, and were keen to use their platform to help us drive awareness around the challenges we face with FGM and the support we provide through the safe houses. Their passion comes across in the feedback session – we look forward to collaborating again soon!

To read more about the outstanding efforts and this important collaboration, please find the Viz5 article here.

Meet our mapping volunteers who are helping to end FGM in Tanzania

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) is a traditional practice prevalent in many parts of Africa and across the world. It is rooted in gender inequality and attempts to control a woman’s body. FGM in Tanzania secures a higher dowry for the parents of the girl who has undergone the procedure.  FGM was criminalised in 1998 in Tanzania, so it is frequently undertaken in secret and unhygienic, dangerous conditions. 

How can I help stop FGM?

Crowd2Map Tanzania is an entirely volunteer-based mapping project putting rural Tanzania on the map.  Having better open-source maps helps activists protect girls from FGM and supports navigation and community development.

Since 2015, over 13,000 remote volunteers worldwide, based in countries ranging from Poland to China, Brazil to the United States, to name a few, have been adding roads and buildings to digital maps and supporting the cause.

This year with the many challenges resulting from COVID-19, more than ever, we need all the support we can get to continue our mission to end FGM and get help to vulnerable girls faster.  You can volunteer from home, contributing to the first stage of mapping, as long as you have an internet connection, the team on the ground in Tanzania then completes the process using their local knowledge. Get started and find out more here.

Will you become a remote online volunteer?

Find out more about some of our volunteers here:

Katerina - Crowd2Map volunteer of the month January 2021
Crowd2Map volunteer Si Wilde
Crowd2Map volunteer Maria Cielecka
Image of Crowd 2 Map volunteer MaryAnn Obidike
Image of Crowd 2 Map volunteer, Pietro Fasciolo
Anshul Vohra - C2M volunteer

Emmanuel Uwinima - C2M volunteer
Maja Turkalj - C2M volunteer