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  • Ssebaggala Douglas, Klein Micheal, Musundi Hillary

YouthMappers reaching out to untapped potential in Western Uganda

Uganda has one of the biggest numbers of YouthMappers chapters per country. A majority of these are located in Eastern Uganda (Busia, Mbale, and Kumi), the other two are dispersed in Kampala and Gulu.

Some of the Inaugural chapters established in 2016 (Yellow star), New Chapters in Fortportal and Mbarara (the two Blue circles in western Uganda)

These chapters are university-student led initiatives where members of each chapter determine leadership structures and mapping activities that are to be done according to their own calendars. They also get involved in other OpenStreetMap campaigns, mapathons, events and initiatives both in the field and remotely. They participate in the global network of YouthMappers that now reaches 99 universities in 30 countries by attending conferences, collaborating on data campaigns, and communicating with their peers about their mapping efforts.

Hillary Musundi (Team Mappers for Life - Uganda Christian University, Mbale): There are very many unmapped places in Uganda. There are also very many Youths who can help map these areas on OpenStreetMap. As a team of experienced YouthMappers in Uganda, it is very important to engage the existing communities (universities) and youths so that services can be provided to the people who need them.

Some of the above past activities have included HIV/AIDs mapping, malaria elimination, participating in the State of the Map Africa conference, refugee mapping, OSM Girls, #LetGirlsMap and many more activities.

Even with the tremendous work and efforts mentioned above, there still exists untapped mapping and potential with what can be achieved by the YouthMappers. For this reason, the YouthMappers Network in Uganda has had two new additions to the existing chapters. HiTech YouthMappers in Fortportal, and MUST StreetMappers in Mbarara.

The new chapters were created right before OSM Geoweek, with remote mapping tasks set up in the same region within the Districts of Kyenjojo and Kamwenge around reducing maternal and newborn mortality (Saving Mothers Giving Life).

Stella Nacakwa (Geoyouthmappers - Makerere University, Kampala): One may wonder how fast this went around since OSM GeoWeek is only a few days, well, these two chapters were editing buildings and roads on both JOSM and iD Editor just after a single round of tips and precautions. With a lot of enthusiasm, these teams will surely do wonders on open data contribution.

Klein Michael (Team Good Mappers - Busitema University, Tororo/Busia): With the current disasters around the world, more volunteers are needed to help map for disaster response to save lives. Thus the need to build more mapping communities.

Joining the rest of the YouthMappers chapters holding events, and mapping the above tasks in Uganda, a total of 977,626 map changes have been made (to date).

Mujuni Killigye (MUST StreetMappers - Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Mbarara): For long, I attended ICT conferences, watched Sci-fi movies and read papers on technology and everyone had an ideology or said something along the lines of 'Making the world a better place', This didn't make enough sense to me until i joined the Youth Mappers community. Now we are mapping for people to live in Malaria-free environments, for people to find their way around after catastrophic disasters, mothers to find their way to health centers and many more. In this case I can now claim to being one of the people 'making the world a better place' through mapping.

YouthMappers members representing other chapters in Uganda joined to provide inspiration to these new YouthMappers chapters by sharing activities and approaches to establishing their different chapters. This is the kind of leadership that emerges from these student-led groups, interconnected across their own country and with their peers throughout the world.

Ssebaggala Douglas has been the YouthMappers coordinator in Uganda since 2016, supporting the establishment of three inaugural, and two member YouthMappers chapters (Western, Central, and Northern Uganda). An additional two YouthMappers member universities (Western Uganda) have been established in 2017 to make a total of seven Youthmapper chapters in Uganda. The chapters have taken part in capacity building activities via mapathons, trainings, in country chapter visits, and mapping on remote mapping projects with MapUganda, and the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team.

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