By Peter Agenga of Map Kibera
This post has been cross-posted from Map Kibera.
2020 has been a unique year owing to the fact that the whole world was brought to a stand-still by a global pandemic. Kibera and other informal settlements of Nairobi weren’t spared either. Most of the Kibera residents work as casual labourers and due to the regulations set up by the government, the majority of the residents lost their jobs while some had to shut down their business. This left most of them having to rely on well wishers for any form of support.
In response to this, many organizations came up with initiatives to support the community; this varied from sensitization activities, food and soap distributions, setting up hand wash points and other relevant resources. Map Kibera, having worked with these organizations in other events and activities, partnered with them to:
- Map out their activities and post them on the Ushahidi-based Kenya Covid-19 tracker; this included training them on how to post their work and offering support in posting them where necessary.
- Directly support the programmes they were implementing on the ground.
Mid this year Map Kibera was awarded the 2020 Rapid response Micro-grant funds by Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) to support our Ushahidi deployment. We created the site for tracking Covid-19 cases, resources and news related to Covid-19 —primarily in Kibera as well as the other informal settlements of Nairobi, but also other parts of country. The goal was to keep this information together in one easy place, allowing people to see what is going on around them that might be relevant to them. This was also to aid in our efforts to keep Kibera, one of the most vulnerable communities to illness, healthy during this pandemic.
The team had already started working remotely, and therefore made use of the online tools for accomplishing the mapping tasks involved in the project. The team used tools like Maps.Me, healthsites.io, and of course OpenStreetMap to work on all the mapping tasks that were agreed upon. The initial training was conducted in form of webinars through Zoom and Google Meet; this was because of government directives on safe distancing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. As the tools mentioned above suggest, the goals of the mapping activity were the following:
- To train community volunteers on how to add and edit information remotely on OpenStreetMap
- To ensure timely and accurate health data on OpenStreetMap
- To improve coverage of maps on health in the country (especially on informal-settlements)
We also have recently trained more community ambassadors on the use of various mapping platforms that are freely available and accessible to the public. This wouldn’t be easy to achieve without the financial and moral support from HOT and all the parties that were involved in the Micro-grant Program.
Update: Map Kibera is currently doing an update of WASH data in Kibera and Mathare and at the same time running a survey of how the two communities coped with the issues of water and sanitation during the pandemic.