Map with us in Nairobi this November

We’re excited to bring mapping and our FGM campaign work to a global audience at the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 in November. On Thursday 14th we will be running a workshop including a Mapathon which is open to attend to those already registered to the Summit.

2019 marks 25 years since the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) agreed a much-needed Programme of Action must be put in place, established by governments from 179 nations. The Programme of Action is an acknowledgement and understanding that reproductive health, women’s empowerment and gender equality form the pathway to sustainable development. This message is important globally and critical for communities across Tanzania and other East African nations and is being explored at the Summit.

Crowd2Map founder Janet Chapman along with Hope for Girls and Women founder Rhobi Samwelly will be delivering a mapping workshop at the Summit to share the impact this volunteer-driven pioneering digital activity is playing on the ground to help protect girls who are at risk of, or who have been through, FGM. With mapping also having been found to have a positive impact beyond FGM, this is an important stage on which to share the significance of the work we do.

Close up of mapping on a phone

We now have contributors from all over the world who are committed to bringing more visual guidance to those trying to reach and rescue vulnerable girls, as well as those wishing to escape challenging situations and beliefs. Tanzanians complete the process adding additional local knowledge and detail to the work delivered from afar.  With our effort in Tanzania proven to have been so successful, we are now keen to extend our mapping work to protect girls and women in communities further afield.

It promises to be an impressive event and we’re grateful and enthused to have this opportunity to bring mapping in front of a wider audience. Whilst there we will also meeting with FGM activists and looking to strengthen and broaden our network by meeting with other delegates.

Those wishing to attend need to be registered. More information about the Nairobi summit can be found at

Follow us on social media to get updates on the run up and during the event. If you’re unable to attend the workshop but would like to meet at the Summit, please email

Celebrate the 15th OSM anniversary with a mapathon party!

Crowd2Map with a OpenStreetMap is inviting you to join us from every where in the world for a birthday mapathon! On August 10th, 11am GMT, we will celebrate 15 years of OSM, with local mapping parties & online!

Join & support us from wherever you are!

You’re invited to map one of these tasks, although any point added in Tanzania with the tag #TanzaniaDevelopmentTrust or #crowd2map in the 24 hour period from 11am GMT on Saturday 10th August until Sunday 11th August will count.

Volunteers’ contribution in 2019 January – July

The database shows the number of contributions with the #tanzaniadevelopmenttrust and #crowd2map hashtag from January 1 to July 31, 2019. The data is generated with osm-stats from American Red Cross.

Roads Added (km)1080.523504.11
Roads Modified (km)377.11281.36
Buildings Added11126657024
Buildings Modified230036827
Waterways Added (km)71.88183.15
POIs Added165574

Training Village Women and Children Protection Committees with #WomenConnect

We are working with Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOTOSM) who were awarded a grant from the USAID WomenConnect programme to train women to better use digital technology to map and empower their communities which we started implementing this week.

mbalibali village map

This involves visiting each of the 78 villages and holding a meeting with the committee members and showing them the map of their village that we had produced in OpenStreetMap.   This was the first time they had ever seen a map of their village and they found them fascinating.  We then showed them Maps.Me so they could see their location, zoom in and out and compare the digital version with the paper one.

We also trained the committee how to use smartphones as most of them had never used one before. They were very impressed by what they can do and loved the content we had downloaded onto sd cards, including Swahili videos about agriculture, FGM and womens’ rights.  We also showed them how to report incidents of gender based violence, GBV, using a form in OpenDataKit on the phone. As access to smartphones is so low in these communities, especially for women, we are leaving one phone per village to be used in the project.  We were able to do this because of a very generous donation from the FOSS4G conference in Dar es Salaam last year who were so impressed by our work.

Female Genital Mutilation and Gender Based Violence more widely are huge problems in Serengeti District, as in much of Tanzania, and are very under reported, particularly in these remote villages.

The Tanzanian government introduced a policy in 2006 that every village should have a protection committee to address this issue at a local level.  Unfortunately this laudable policy was not followed up by funds for dissemination and implementation.  Serengeti District set up committees in every village in June 2018 but since that time they have had no funding to visit the villages to introduce the programme and train the committee on their responsibilities. So we are delighted to be working with them to ensure the committees in Serengeti are trained in their responsibilities and also have the digital tools for the first time to enable them to carry them out.

16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence in Tanzania

Rhobi and the other FGM activists and community mappers in Mara have been very busy as part of 16 days of activism.  This is the 3rd year they have participated in this global event.

They have been promoting their work protecting girls in many villages around Serengeti, in preparation for the upcoming cutting season which will start next week.  You can follow their progress on their Facebook page here.   Their hard work has meant many cutters have now stopped mutilating girls, and the tide is turning.  However they are currently sheltering 178 girls and the numbers are expected to rise substantially next week when the schools have closed, yesterday alone they received the names of 215 girls at risk who need rescuing, so December will be extremely challenging.  If you would like to help them you can do so here.

They are also getting ready to implement a project called WomenConnect in the new year which will train women leaders in every village of Serengeti district in using mobile phone content to improve livelihoods and access to health and education information.

Mapathon at the United Nations

Last week Rhobi was invited to tell her story as an FGM survivor and activist at a high level panel as part of the United  Nations General Assembly in New York.  She spoke movingly about begging her parents not to cut her, as she feared dying and her body being thrown in the bush to be eaten by wild animals, as had happened to her friend Sabina.  But her pleas were in vain and she was cut and nearly bled to death.  She has since dedicated her life to saving other girls from a similar fate.

You can watch a recording of her testimony here.

The following day Rhobi participated in our mapathon at UNFPA where we explained how better maps can help activists like Rhobi quickly find girls at risk of FGM and showed people how they can help to create them.  There were side events in over 60 countries as part of this global FGM event, including at the Ministry of Women in Somalia, and with FGM activists in Kenya, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Uganda, Djibouti and many more.  Together they mapped over 49,000 buildings and almost 7000 km of roads to better protect girls at risk.


At UNFPA Tyler and Rebecca from HOT also explained how maps can be used for many humanitarian purposes.  You can see the presentation here. 

And now Rhobi is in London for the UK premiere of the film about her work, In the name of your daughter.  For those of you near London, Nottingham or Yorkshire I hope you may get the chance to watch it and to meet Rhobi.

Join our mapathon at the United Nations!

Its been a very exciting summer for Crowd2Map!

In July we were awarded the best Africa mapping project at the global State of the Map in Milan.

In August we gave a very well received key note at the global FOSS4G in Dar es Salaam, as well as another presentation and 2 workshops.  The conference was so impressed with our work that they decided to give the conference surplus of $15,000 to us to continue promoting mapping groups in rural Tanzania.

And now in September we have been invited to organise a mapathon at the United Nations General Assembly to demonstrate how mapping can help in the fight against FGM.  To coincide with this we are also organising a global online mapathon, details here.  We hope to build a global network to unite people from across the world to help map areas where girls are at risk of FGM so that activists can better protect them.  Please promote in your networks and join us! Together we can #map2endFGM

Success at State of the Map, Milan

We were delighted to be asked to talk at State of the Map in Milan, our presentation is here.   We also were on the panels on Sustainability of mapping projects, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap microgrants, which we were delighted to receive last year, and the Open Gender Monologues, at which we spoke at some of the additional challenges faced by female mappers in rural Tanzania and what we are doing to address them.  You can see the whole programme for the conference here and watch the presentations online here.

SOTM award

At the end of the conference the OpenStreetMap Foundation presented their annual awards and we were delighted to win in the Africa category!

Interested in Open Data or Coding? Join us at MozSprint in May!

We are delighted to have been selected to participate in the Mozilla Open Leaders programme, particularly as Crowd2Map started at Mozfest, (the Mozilla Festival) in 2015.  As part of that, we are taking part in #MozSprint, their global hackathon.  There are around 65 locations around the world taking part, and you can also participate remotely online.  If you are interested please register here. 

We are hoping to get more people involved generally in mapping, validating and spreading the word, but particularly in the more technical aspects such as helping improve the fieldpapers process, work out how best to incorporate machine learning into our mapping and how to better automate some of our processes.  Our repo is here.

So if you are interested in any of that please sign up and get involved!  And please spread the word in your networks too!

Open Data for Development event in Mwanza

To commemorate Open Data Day on March 3rd, Crowd2Map and Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team(HOT) Tanzania organised a free 3 day training conference on how Open Data and Mapping using OpenStreetMap can aid development in Tanzania.  Over 90 people from across Tanzania attended the event at the Institute of Rural Development Planning in Mwanza, including community mapping groups from Kigoma, Kagera, Mara and other regions, students from IRDP Mwanza and Dodoma, as well as representatives from Tanzania Red CrossTanzania Wildlife ServiceUwezo and many other organisations.

The training was delivered by Amelia Hunt and Johannes Peters from HOT and covered topics such as what open data is available in Tanzania, what is OpenStreetMap and how it can help Tanzania; how to map your area using satellite images on a laptop; free apps on your phone; and printed Field Papers;and how to create printed village and district level maps. There were a combination of demonstrations, talks and practical workshops, including a session mapping in the field in the area around the campus.  Community groups who have benefited from phones and laptops provided by a HOT microgrant and the Nethope programme learnt how to make the best use of this technology to put their communities on the map for better navigation, planning and development of their areas.

There were also talks by Jonarda Ngissa from Uwezo  Tanzania on their citizen led educational assessments, and from Neema Meremo from Hope for Girls and Women Tanzania on how mapping can help protect girls from Female Genital Mutilation.

Evaluations showed that people had learnt a great deal from the training and comments included “it will help me be a better planner for my country”, “now I can teach others to improve our development” and “mapping is useful to indicate which water points are functioning, so we can improve access in Tanzania”.   Everyone indicated they would like further such training, and so we hope that many will be able to attend FOSS4G and HOT conference in Dar es Salaam in August.