We were delighted to help organise and participate in the Second State of the Map Tanzania in January 2023. It brought together a diverse community of individuals and organizations driven by a common goal: using and contributing to with the theme “Supporting Progress Towards the SDGs with Open Mapping.”
Over 130 individuals from 8+ countries attended, including over 50 YouthMappers students from 17 universities in Tanzania. We had wonderful discussions of new developments, and collaboration on projects aimed at improving OpenStreetMap and open data in Tanzania, promoting cartographic innovation, and using OpenStreetMap as a tool to catalyse progress.
On December 22nd 2022 we talked at State of the Map Nigeria about the journey of the Crowd2map project since it’s origins severn years ago, highlighting the successes as well as challenges the project and its mappers have faced. You can find a link to the slides here and link to the YouTube video here.
With now over 17,000 volunteers both online and in person, we have managed to map an incredible 5.3 million buildings, over 300,00km of road and over 10,000 Points of Information (POI). It is the combination of our global online mappers with access to complex digital mapping software’s like TaskManager and the local knowledge of our field mappers that continue to make this project so successful and worthwhile. This has saved many vulnerable girls from gender-based violence (GBV) and female genital mutilation (FGM) as well as a tool for development across rural Tanzania. You can see the huge impact of our work by comparing the map of Mugumu before and after our intervention.
Despite these obvious successes, Crowd2map continues to face problems around gender inequality and poverty in relation to in person mappers. While our remote mappers are majorly well educated and with good access to technology, our field mappers live in some of the poorest regions of rural Tanzania, with many never having even used a smartphone or any kind of technology. It is Tanzanian women that are particularly affected by lack of access to the internet. A microgrant we received in 2017 went a little way to buying cheap smartphones that were integrated into the mapping community, allowing for more women to get involved. The gendered stigma around the role and desired characteristics of women, however, continues to limit their potential within the Cord2map project.
Many of the female in person mappers have reported instances in which they have been discouraged from getting involved with mapping from their male counterparts, instead being told they should stay at home and take on more traditional domestic roles. In more extreme cases, women have been victims of physical and/ or sexual violence while undertaking mapping tasks. This is rooted in an inherently sexist culture which continues to limit the potential of women across Tanzania. Women are very unlikely to put themselves forward to lead mapping tasks in comparison to men, despite having more than enough potential to take on these roles.
To tackle this issue, we as a community must do more to educate the Tanzanian locals on the importance and significance of mapping as well as encouraging a more positive and less discriminatory attitude towards women and their capabilities. We can continue to reduce occurrences of physical and emotional abuse from men towards women through education, as well as allowing women to regain their confidence and integrity within the mapping community. Setting up women only mapping groups or requiring at least 50% female participation also goes a long way to reduce this gender inequality.
We are making good progress already. With now over 200 women trained to be digital champions, leading the fight against FGM and GBV in Tanzania through mapping, the death rate has fallen by 75%. More than 3000+ girls have been rescued along escape routes discovered through the Crowd2map project, and we continue to look out for important institutions such as police stations that can further our progress, all while encouraging more and more female participation in mapping efforts.
There are so many ways in which you can get involved with the Crowd2map project and contribute to our growing success. You can start by attending some of our upcoming events or visiting this page to get ideas on how you can contribute.
Last year we hosted our first cohort of interns recruited as part of the Youthmappers Everywhere She Maps initiative which was a great success. You can read quotes from some of the participants here. Building on that we were delighted to recruit 12 more Youthmapper interns for our second cohort.who started at the beginning of October. They come from 6 different African countries and we organise training via Zoom and WhatsApp delivered by their mentor GIS specialist Herry Kassunga and variious outside experts. They also participate in training delivered as part of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Data Interns program.
We are continuing with our monthly mapping groups training, and have set up a new group in Shinyanga. We are also mapping school journeys with Ikondo School in Kagera, who have particularly dangerous routes during the rainy season as you can see in this photo.
We are also now mapping in Singida in the area around the village development project we are about to start in partnership with EuCanAid. This will bring access to water, a clinic, and improvements to the primary school in Mduguyu village. This area was very poorly mapped so we set up this project and have been training field mappers to add their local knowledge. We will then produce village and district level maps for the community.
We are also continuing to map areas where girls are at risk of FGM, particularly in the lead up to the cutting season expected in December.
Finally we are busy helping organise the second State of the Map Tanzania conference. This will be a hybrid conference so we hope many of you will be able to join from wherever in the world you are – we already have a brilliant range of speakers confirmed, and the call for talks is still open.
Thank you again for your generosity which enables this entirely volunteer run project to keep going.
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
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.
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
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
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.
Crowd2Map Tanzania has a cohort of 16,000 volunteers based in Tanzania and around the world, all of whom are driven by a passion to help rural communities in Tanzania and to ensure girls and women in these areas are empowered. As we celebrate 6 years of mapping, we take a look at some of the work and partnerships that we have developed to ensure Tanzania is mapped.
Crowd2Map Tanzania has been training local activists (NGOs), Local Government, communities and Youth Mappers Chapters in Tanzania on open data and mapping and how can they integrate mapping knowledge with their activities to solve community challenges.
Some of the tools used for mapping and open data that Crowd2Map has been training these group on are:
Smartphone applications such as Maps.me, OSMAnd, ODK and Mapillary for mapping features around their community and collecting data for different uses
Other tools that require the use of a computer for mapping and Data collection such as ID Editor, JOSM and Kobo toolbox
Some of the NGO’s have managed to win Community mapping microgrants and are running projects in their communities in various areas in Tanzania to share mapping and open data knowledge with a wider audience.
Tanzanian NGOs who have been trained include:
Agri-Thamani based in Bukoba Tanzania are running garden community mapping and Schools mapping project in their community
Red Cross Katavi community are mapping vulnerable areas around Mine sites in Katavi
LAVISHENI group in Mwanza mapping vulnerable areas for GBV cases in their community
Institute of Rural Development and Planning College in Dodoma Youth mappers are mapping Dump sites in Dodoma
Serengeti Tourism College Youth Mappers are involved in mapping health centre facilities in Mugumu-Serengeti
Institute of Accountancy in Arusha (IAA) Youth Mappers, Tumaini College in Arusha Youth Mappers, Institute of Rural Development and Planning Youth Mappers in Mwanza are still continuing with mapping Training.
Miller’s Group in Muleba Tanzania, Kibondo mapping Group, ESTL NGO are still continuing with mapping and Open Data training.
Local Government in Serengeti and Singida are now involved in mapping and Open data training conducted by Crowd2Map.
We are seeing a great deal of interest from these local and broader organisations who are understanding of the benefit of accurate maps for the growth of Tanzanian communities.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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 maps.me. 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.
Maps.me 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.
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;
Maps.me 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
view and interact with apps
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.
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.
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.
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 maps.me 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.
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.
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!
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:
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
It was wonderful, if slightly overwhelming and sometimes surreal to finally meet so many fellow mappers again at SOTM Firenze last week, as well as so many new friends that I’d only interacted with online. This was my 4th in person event and it reinforced not only how much Crowd2Map has grown since Brussels 2016 but also how the mapping community has changed.
In 2016 arrived in Brussels late at night, a bit disconcerted to find that I was sharing a bed with a stranger – Miriam from GeoChicas. We quickly got over this surprise and she became a great friend and ally, even visiting the FGM Safe Houses we work with in Tanzania en route to FOSS4G 2018. In Brussels I was a newcomer who knew no one. I tried to navigate the seeming chasm between the brown shirted craft mapper gang and the humanitarian team. In Firenze I was very pleased to note much less of this divide. Arriving felt like coming home after a long journey, meeting so many people from previous events and others for the first time IRL.