Mapping health centres in Serengeti

In 2021 we brought you exciting news of a $5,000 Community Impact microgrant awarded to our partner, Hope for Girls and Women by Open Map Development Tanzania (OMDTZ) which was to be used to support with leveraging the use of OSM and mapping to help solve community challenges.

Hope for Girls and Women chose to use the grant to:

  • Expand the existing OSM community in the Serengeti region
  • Add healthcare facilities to maps, helping the local community in the process
  • Collect information about local schools
  • Add other features available in the villages as and when they were encountered during field visits
Image of participants in the health centre mapping training being taught how to map

Challenges mapping health centres in Serengeti

The initiative brought with it several challenges and obstacles that needed to be overcome with a strategic approach, taking into consideration the available resources, budget and location of health care facilities. These challenges ranged from:

  • Mapping contributors not having the necessary equipment to submit data. There was a lack of laptops or smartphones at times
  • Reluctance by private health care centres and laboratory managers and teams to support and collaborate with us by providing information about their sites. At times concerns would take upwards of an hour to resolve with site owners, which added to our timeline
  • We were delayed starting training by two months, this meant we had to spend significant time on refresher sessions for participants
  • Locations of villages in Serengeti can be very remote and with large distances between one another. Couple with very rainy and wet conditions, this added time and difficulty as well as costs to several field visits

We were successful in involving 35 new local mappers across Mugumu, Serengeti, and trained them on the use of Open Data and how to use it to solve community challenges. This was well received, and we are confident we provided a level of training and expertise, as well as insights and real life working examples to ensure that those involved will continue to not only take an interest in mapping, but also actively participate in mapping moving forward.

Discussions taking place between a mapping contributor and a health care professional

Outcome of the health care mapping initiative

We added the following facilities to maps of Mugumu, Serengeti:

60 Health center facilities where;

  • 2 are Hospitals
  • 15 are clinics
  • 35 are pharmacies
  • 8 laboratories

Collaboration and training across the following partners:

  • MARA RED CROSS: a team of five people participated, building their capacity and understanding on the use of Open Data, we also involved them in the whole process of contributing to mapping activities and improving knowledge on how mapping can help them with solving community challenges. We also agreed to keep sharing our insights on mapping and other related activities that will help the community
  • SETCO Youth Mappers: 10 Youth mappers were involved in this initiative, which opened their eyes to how they can use mapping to solve community challenges.  This will trigger them to be more enthusiastic when identifying ways of using the knowledge acquired.  The easy access to health data is helpful because we need this information to be freely accessible to give the community added support
Girls from Hope for Girls and Women learning to map in Tanzania

Hope for Girls and Women Tanzania: 5 girls from Hope learned how they can contribute to impacting the community. For some of the girls who are pursuing careers in community development, this was great experience and a dream come true.

Hope for Girls and Women often takes girls to obtain health services, so moving forward it will be possible to participate in updating health facility locations and information and have a better understanding of the procedures of mapping and collecting helpful health information. This also further adds to the positive impact Hope for Girls and Women is having on the local community around Serengeti and Butiama

  • Community Involvement: 5 participants from the Serengeti community were actively involved. It is important to pass on knowledge about mapping and how mapping can help in solving community challenges, especially as these people are often the users of such data.  The ongoing strickle effect of sharing new-found knowledge with other people in the community is an additional benefit of training individuals and small groups.
  • Local Government: We were happy and grateful to have the Deputy District Community Officer and Chairman to participate in the mapping training, helping them to better understand the importance of mapping, how it helps community development and even their own work

What has the impact of the OSM microgrant and associated training been?

The Serengeti community will have an easy way of accessing health center facility data. Hope for Girls and Women Tanzania will also be identifying which health center facilities are available 24 hours a day, and what kind of services are offered at specific health centers

Involving local government officers, village chairmen, and community people, Youth Mappers and other NGOs has helped to raise awareness and interest in using Open Data to solve community challenges. This helps to scale up the knowledge within such groups and also increase contributors and proactivity around mapping.

Having access to health data shows a picture of the local infrastructure, and allows us to better demonstrate  challenges in the community whereby people suffer from a lack of access to health centers. Providing evidence of how far individuals have to travel to find sites, availability of services and staff and opening hours, can be a much needed wakeup call for the Government to finding a solution to reducing the challenges that Serengeti people are facing.

The Villages Chairmen has requested maps showing all features available in their villages in addition to maps which focus on health centers and schools, so we have agreed we will do a participatory mapping in each village, so we people with further training. In return, villages can provide information which we can use to create maps with more details in each village.

We will continue to bring you updates on further mapping projects as they arise. If you have a mapping project that you think could benefit northern Tanzania, and/or if you are aware of grants for such projects, please do reach out to us here.

Microgrant for mapping project in Mugumu, Serengeti

Crowd2Map’s partner, Hope for Girls and Women Tanzania is among seven organizations that have been awarded an Open Map Development Tanzania (OMDTZ) Community Impact Microgrant of $5000. OMDTZ selected recipient organizations with the intention;

The grants provided will support these communities to leverage the use of OSM and mapping to help solve different community challenges.

Hope will use the grant to expand the existing Open Street Map (OSM) Community around Mugumu, Serengeti. By improving our maps of the region, we are able to provide better, faster reaching, efficient support and advice to girls and women who are at risk of, or who have been through, female genital mutilation (FGM) and gender-based violence (GBV).

The grant will help the Hope team to recruit 25 new OSM community mappers around Mugumu, who will be trained on how to use different tools that support mapping, including:

  • application
  • ID editor
  • JOSM

They will also receive training in how to use Open Data Kit Collector for Data Collection.

A lot of this training will involve the use of smartphones.

A woman is seen studying in Tanzania

The goal is to map all of the health center facilities available in 30 villages around Mugumu, showing the services provided at each, and if the center facilities are adequate in relation to the community population.

The grant will additionally the team to buy equipment such as laptops, smartphones and routers which are critical for the work being done. They will also be able to rent a hall for workshops and training, provide transportation for data collection, and support other logistical requirements for a period of six months.

Training being given on smartphone

At this point, findings will be presented back to the community and Hope will also create a map of each village, showing the health center facilities that are available.

75% of the new mappers will be female, which helps to promote and encourage the inclusion of women in technology and OSM. We are seeing increasing numbers of women wishing to train and contribute to maps, and they are also getting a lot of enjoyment from seeing the benefits of technology on their daily lives and that of the local community.

We are excited to be welcoming to the workshop and training Mara Red Cross and SETCO Youth mappers who will be involved to learn more about how mapping can help solve community challenges.

We look forward to bringing you further updates on this Microgrant and the project in general.

Read more about why maps are so important for Tanzania and even get involved as a virtual volunteer. Mapping is protecting girls from Tanzania by ensuring help is able to reach them faster – and often time is of the essence.

151 Digital Champions now trained to report FGM and GBV in their communities

Tarime digital champion training

By Herry Kasunga

We recently shared news of the training of 59 Digital Champions in Butiama District, Tanzania. In total in June, we managed to train 151 new Digital Champions, made up of both male and female local volunteers who are fighting FGM and GBV. This training was made possible with support from UNFPA Tanzania.

Masanga Center managed to recruit the Digital champions in Tarime District meaning each village will have one Digital Champion. They will be responsible for educating girls and women in their villages about the impact of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

The Digital champions were given Smartphones for the purpose of using apps such as ODK and ODK is used for reporting GBV cases happening in their villages, with the data then submitted to Masanga Center and the Gender Desk Police for investigation and rescue of girls, if required.

Digital Champions presented with new smartphones is used for mapping their village’s features such as hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, schools, Police stations, Churches, and safe places around their villages. We also formed a WhatsApp group for all attendees, as a way of the Digital Champions communicating with one another.

In attendance for the training were Tarime District Social Welfare and Tarime Gender Desk Police which also trained the Digital champions on GBV and shared their experiences. There were also churches leaders in attendance.

The training was conducted over four days (22nd – 25th June 2021) and we separated the attendees into two groups with each group attending for two days.

In Tarime, Digital Champions are made up of a mix of both men and women. This allows men to participate in fighting against GBV and FGM and support their women and girls. Traditionally, FGM is conducted to ensure a higher dowry for the family when a daughter is married, so educating both the men and women in families ensures the practice is more likely to be discontinued. Men are increasingly turning their backs on FGM and we have seen cases of fathers and uncles removing their children temporarily from the imminent risk of FGM. There is, of course, a lot more work to be done.

If you’re interested in becoming a Crowd2Map virtual volunteer – contributing from anywhere in the world with an internet connection, you can find out more about our work here.

New Digital Champions recruited and trained, with funding from UNFPA Tanzania

By Herry Kasunga

In June, Hope for Girls and Women Tanzania and Masanga Center recruited 59 Digital champions in Butiama District, Tanzania. Each village has one Digital Champion who will educate girls and women in their communities about the impact of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Digital Champions receiving training

The Digital Champions were given smartphones, with access to apps to support their work to promote gender equality in their communities. The phone apps include:

  • ODK for reporting GBV cases happening in their villages, this data is then submitted to Hope and Gender Desk Police for investigation and rescue of girls at risk;
  • for mapping features such as hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, schools, police stations, churches and safe places around their villages.

The event was attended by Butiama District Social Welfare, with Butiama Gender Desk Police contributing to training the Digital champions on GBV, whilst also sharing their own experiences.

The Training was conducted over two days in June 2021. Day one covered the purpose of Digital Champions and expectation of their work, an introduction to and types of GBV, and FGM.

For many of the Digital Champions, it was their first time holding a smartphone, so we showed them how to:

  • switch the phone on/off
  • make a call
  • send texts/SMS
  • view and interact with apps
Digital Champions received smartphones

Day 2 included a recap of day one’s training in the morning, followed by training on the ODK tool, collating the required information and how to send this to Hope. We went through all of the questions available in the forms to ensure the Digital Champions were clear on appropriate and helpful responses.

We also demonstrated how to use WhatsApp for communication and support, in case there are any challenges.  A WhatsApp group was set up on the day, allowing all of the Digital Champions to get support from their peers.

At the end of the training, all of the digital champions signed a contract confirming receipt of their smartphones and that they are ready to work as Digital champions and help fight GBV and FGM in their villages.

Special thanks to UNFPA Tanzania, through their funding, this training was made possible.

Cutter in Northern Tanzania is sentenced to 10 years in prison

Police Officer Sijali (left) and Mgesi (right), the cutter
Police Officer Sijali (left) and Mgesi (right), the cutter

In April 2021, an important prosecution took place of a cutter from Kitarungu Village, Tanzania. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay 1,000,000 TZS (c. $430USD / €350) to the victim. A parent was also jailed for 5 years for their involvement in arranging for the cutting to take place.

The victim was rescued and taken into the protective environment of Hope for Girls and Women, where she was found to require hospital care, due to her injuries.

FGM was criminalised in Tanzania in 1998 but still happens, particularly in rural areas where it is easier to conduct the practice away from authorities. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to schools being closed which in turn opened a longer window for girls to ‘recover’ away from the eyes of the education system. School holidays will often be exploited and these periods have come to be known as ‘cutting seasons’.

During these ‘cutting seasons’, our maps become even more integral to rescue teams who need to be able to reach victims and those at risk as quickly as possible. Find out more about our work, and get involved here.

Hear more about the impact of COVID-19 on work to end FGM, by watching a webinar here.

Using mobile technology to improve the farming of crops in Tanzania

Farmers receive training

On 26th April 2021, Hope for Girls and Women kicked off a programme of agri-technology farmer training in Matare, Serengeti. This exciting collaboration between Hope and PlantNuru, Kenya, provided training that explored the use of digital technology to help farmers protect their crops. Not only does this support the local community with their work, but also provides the opportunity to engage attendees in education and conversation around gender-based violence.

Farmers explore practical training

There were 20 farmers and 7 community leaders involved in the two-day session which was opened by Serengeti’s District Executive Director.  The District Agricultural Officer and District Community Development Officer were also in attendance.

Day one covered the types of disease that can be found in cassava and Maize and how to differentiate between diseases and their impact to crops.

The team then looked at the approaches that can be used to mitigate the infection of these crops, providing a solution on how to plant cassava and maize when you want to increase your production and possible ways of planting cassava for seed.

Day two included a practical session on how to record crop-type data by using PlantVillage app. This included a visit to a maize and cassava farm where disease identification exercises were carried out. Attendees were shown how they can use the  PlantVillage app for the detection of diseases and Pests. Farmers can seek advice from extension officers who are close by as well as from other users, using the app.

This is an innovative new stepping stone for farmers to benefit from agri-technology, which will help the production of their crops.

Twenty farmers were given smart phones at the end of the session.  As well as the PlantVillage app, their phones were installed with and the ODK form to support the reporting of GBV/FGM cases. All farmers signed the contract upon receiving their phones to commit to use their phones for the targeted work.

20 farmers participate in training

There was very positive feedback from the farmers involved in the session who welcomed this opportunity to enhance their output and support their local community, including vulnerable girls and women.

The PlantVillage app can be downloaded on the GooglePlay and Apple App Store.

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