The Good Harvest Organization was introduced and trained on the use of the Open Data Tools and other internet-enabled devices with the Crowd2Map Tanzania, which is an entirely volunteer crowd sourced mapping project putting rural Tanzania on the map. It 2021, it is 6 years since Crowd2Map was started. On behalf of the Good Harvest Organization I would want to thank on this auspicious anniversary all staff members of Crowd2Map who have made the Charity to become a shining example amongst the leading organizations in mapping activities in Tanzania.
I still remember the day when we were introduced by Crowd2Map to the mapping activities, with just a handful of people and very limited amount of resources. Starting from there until today, Our Organization has covered a long and evolutionary journey in mapping activities in Western Tanzania. Years back, we had started with a lot of dreams, hope and immense enthusiasm and today when we are celebrating this anniversary nothing has changed, except the fact that we have made our dreams come true and have the new ones now. We have implemented several mapping projects in the Region of Katavi.
Definitely mapping activities in the Region of Katavi will fuel economic growth and development as well as improve healthcare and response to natural disasters. Like many Regions in Tanzania, most Roads and streets in Katavi are off the grid from GPS Devices and Google services such as street view with no map data, it is difficult to deliver aid and supplies to communities in need.
Lack of map data affects virtually all transit in a Region from farmers transporting food to markets to residents of cities finding routes that avoid traffic on their commute. Aside from the maps providing data about traffic and travel times, they can aslo be used to help locate areas that are in danger of flooding, develop plans to prepare for heavy floods and assess which routes can be taken to deliver aid in case of flooding. For example, the rising water levels in Lake Tanganyika and heavy rainfall from March to May leave Katavi Region prone to floods. Each year floods leave hundreds to thousands of people homeless and cause many deaths.
For the one year The Good Harvest Organization in collaboration with Tanzania Red Cross Society Katavi Branch has achieved several positive outcomes in the implementation of the Community mapping Projects in the Region. The Organization has been successful in recruiting and training new mappers as well as networking with local stakeholders within local Government, Colleges, NGOs and local media within the targeted communities, there is an apparent increase in number of people interested in the use of open data tools
We have recruited and trained Community Health Workers on the use of ODK for reporting Gender-Based Violence (GBV) cases happening in their villages or provide tailored health information to the women and children they visit. The main aim of training Community Health Workers on the use of open data tools was to create a network of trained, connected, women leaders to bring about positive social change in the area.
During the COVID-19 pandemic we have introduced a Mobile Library which involves taking computer/smart phones pre-loaded with educational context to students who cannot come to the library or go to school. The service aims at reducing the digital divide within the community and ensures that students in the most remote area, especially Pastoralists, can continue learning.
In our Office since during the COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown we have been hosting training sessions on how to use Open Data Tools like KOBO to medical students and EMA-i (Event Mobile Application) to Veterinary Students (EMA-i-is a reporting tool to collect data and facilitate real-time disease reporting to support veterinary services’ capacities in disease surveillance in the field). We have been engaging them also in the community mapping activities for public health epidemics control using kobo (ODK).
The majority of students feel that measures taken during this pandemic to amend their curricula was necessary and also agree that attending trainings and assisting in mapping activities using open data tools (‘Maps Me’) during the outbreak is a valuable learning opportunity which can supplement the lost classroom sessions and provides an avenue for medical students to get practical training placements to supplement medical learning opportunities they missed during the pandemic. Our aim for the student assistantship is to provide students with an enhanced opportunity to aid the transition from student to doctor and to familiarize with common tasks they will eventually take on as a Doctor.
We have coordinated the establishment of Youth Mappers’ chapters, strengthening links and networking with youth chapters by providing technical support by Planning regular meetings and refresher trainings on the use of open data tools to new mappers/chapters We have aslo been Lobbying local officials of the Ministry of Education to promote the establishment of similar youth chapters in other colleges in the Region.
We have also been involved in mapping small scale mining in Katavi Region, in conjunction with local, we are mapping the mining sites by training its members on open source mobile data collection applications to capture coordinates to bridge information gaps around mining in the Region.
Thanks CROWD2MAP Tanzania for your support as we celebrate Our 6 year anniversary let us party hard and get refreshed for a new tomorrow. We have enjoyed being a part of this event which has given us opportunities to recollect Our year gone memories and to cherish them again.
BY FILBERT CHUNDU-DIRECTOR GOOD HARVEST ORGANIZATION