Welcoming our 100th YouthMappers Chapter: The Nature Club of Karatina University
YouthMappers welcomes its 100th chapter in 100 weeks, Karatina University in Nyeri County, Kenya. Karatina University’s School of Natural Resources and Environment celebrated Global GIS day in November 2017, during which many undergraduate students majoring in GIS expressed their interest in having a platform to exchange ideas and learn. The school organized a panel and Mr. Elijah Karanja was invited as a guest geo-mentor to share his experience of how the YouthMappers program helped him improve his personal and professional GIS journey. Mr. Kingori, from Dedan Kimathi University of Technology’s YouthMappers Chapter, GDEV, was selected as one of 20 YouthMappers Leadership fellows and traveled to Kathmandu, Nepal in May 2017 to participate in a two-week leadership workshop. After his presentation, he asked the students to look up YouthMappers. Joy Mwangi, a recent graduate of the Environment and Natural Resources department took the initiative to research YouthMappers and immediately knew this is what the Karatina Nature Club needed.
Previously, the Nature Club had no common platform to discuss GIS matters and, most importantly, learn from other organizations and larger platforms. Ms. Mwangi explained that during her undergraduate education, her dissertation was wholly dependent on GIS and looking back, if she had learnt of a platform like YouthMappers, her journey with GIS could have been smoother. “This chapter is all about those I left at school, it is meant to help those students learn and collaborate with other institutions not only in Kenya but also in other countries where there are other YouthMapper chapters,” explained Ms. Mwangi, “this will help them tap into the interesting ways in which GIS is and can be a tool to provide solutions”. She is the chapter’s alumni advisor and counts on the support of Dr. Duncan Kimuyu, lecturer in the Department of Natural and Environment Studies, as the chapter’s faculty advisor.
Pictured in photo: Andawa Godfrey, Treasurer; Paul Wandabusi, Organising Secretary; Amuga Bernard; President; Elizabeth Wairimu, Editor; Dr. Duncun Kimuyu-Patron; Elvis James Kagwe, Vice president; Sally Kendo Mutembei, Vice Secretary; Janet Wangari Kariuki, Secretary; Benittez Kipyegon, Treasurer. Not pictured: Liner Muhuhe-Ex official; Mwangi J. Wambui, Environmental Officer/Alumni Advisor, Graduate of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources; Dr. Duncan Kimuyu, Department of Natural and Environment Studies, Faculty Advisor.
The Nature Club of Karatina University was founded in 2010 with the objective to develop and implement programs to enhance environmental awareness and sustainability in accordance with Karatina University’s performance contract. Currently, the Nature club has 243 registered student members with 51% female enrollment. The student-led organization exercises social responsiveness by organizing cleanup and tree planning activities, organizing and participating in both internal and external conferences, seminars, symposia, and competitions at national and international levels related to the conservation of the environment. They liaise with other conservation oriented organizations in management and the protection of limited natural resources, sensitize the university fraternity and adjacent communities on the identification, utilization, and conservation of natural resources available for sustainable development and act as a body through which the university can effectively promote environmental conservation.
Capitalizing on web-based open geospatial technologies, YouthMappers seeks to cultivate a generation of young leaders to create resilient communities and to define their world
by mapping it. Uniting a global network of student-led chapters, now on 100 university campuses in 30 countries, we promote the creation and use of open data on open platforms in ways that directly address development challenges, both in the local community and around the world through remote collaborations. Mapping applications focus on a range of significant issues such as food insecurity, public health, natural disasters, and peaceful development. The program supports university efforts to offer meaningful global learning experiences, build a socially engaged citizenry, enhance long-term scientific capacity around the world, and foster university student leadership.