“A joint development initiative of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID), SERVIR works in partnership with leading regional organizations world-wide to help developing countries use information provided by Earth observing satellites and geospatial technologies for managing climate risks and land use. We empower decision-makers with tools, products, and services to act locally on climate-sensitive issues such as disasters, agriculture, water, and ecosystems and land use. SERVIR is improving awareness, increasing access to information, and supporting analysis to help people in West Africa, Eastern and Southern Africa, Hindu Kush-Himalaya, the Lower Mekong, South America and Mesoamerica manage challenges in the areas of food security, water resources, land use change, and natural disasters. With activities in more than 45 countries, SERVIR has already developed over 70 custom tools, collaborated with over 250 institutions, and trained more than 3000 individuals, improving the capacity to develop local solutions.”
"The principal objective of the SERVIR West Africa project is to support regional institutions to improve their capabilities for applying geospatial and analytical techniques, in order to strengthen the resilience of the region to the impacts of climate change and to ensure sustainable land management and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. SERVIR AO’s areas of focus are: Food Security and Agriculture, Water Resources and Natural Disasters, Weather and Climate, Land Use / Land Use and Ecosystems. The SERVIR AO project is implemented by CILSS through the AGRHYMET Regional Center. The members of the Consortium consist of the following institutions: the African Center for Applications of Meteorology for Development (ACMAD), the Center for Ecological Monitoring (CSE), the Center for Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Services (CERGIS), The International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), The Regional Training Center for Aerospace Surveys (RECTAS). The project partners are: USAID (financial) and NASA (technical)."
As part of the activities of the SERVIR Club (under the direction of the Center for Ecological Monitoring - CSE), I was invited, my colleague and I, to Ghana to attend the International Conference on Geospatial and internet in Africa. It was the first opportunity for us to enter a new world, an environment of technology, remote sensing and finding a solution for the place of Africa in this universe, through geospatial data.
The first thing I thought, as a YouthMapper, is to get in touch with the chapter of the University of Ghana. I went to the official website to see the chapter information and was redirected to Twitter. I left a message hoping to have a return, but unfortunately there was no response. Once in Ghana, we had to attend plenary sessions and activities. The topics of the debate revolved around remote sensing and data sharing in Africa. We also attended the youth forum. This forum developed the place of young people for the digital future of Africa.
At meal time on the first day, I heard students from the University of Ghana talking to my colleague. I asked them if they had heard of YouthMappers. They introduced me to Louis Bosso, a former member of Ghana's YouthMappers Chapter. After interacting with him, he scheduled a meeting for me with some YouthMappers' chapters from Ghana.
Early in the morning on the second day, I met the president of the chapter of the University of Ghana and his team. We had lunch together and I was very curious about their activities, the tools they used, and so on. Thus, we plan to work together wherever possible. Following this meeting, we went to the room reserved for the Hackathon. I met other YouthMappers there. We discussed the activities they do and we exchanged contact information to keep in contact. I was very happy to meet these young people with whom I share the same dreams to save lives through mapping, create resilience, etc.
From right to left:I - Phyllis, University of Ghana - Emmanuel, Federal University of Technology - Akure, Nigeria
- Samuel, OSM Ghana - Benedicta, University of Cape Coast, Ghana
But the most important meeting for me was the one I had with Marcela Zeballos.
I was really happy to meet a person with whom I only exchanged by email for almost 2 years (she gave us guidelines since the creation of our chapter and remained at our disposal to support us). The virtual has become more than a reality for me. My sense of belonging to the YouthMappers community has grown exponentially.
During this meeting, she reminded us of the goal of the YouthMappers community. She has been very attentive to our experience as YouthMappers, our technical and logistical problems, as well as the language barrier that some young people face to fully integrate the community. Marcela gave us solutions, renewed motivation and strong encouragement for activities and networking between YouthMappers chapters.
On the last day, I introduced Micheal Batame to the head of the SERVIR WA clubs, Mr Moussa Sayo Issoufou. They discussed and envisioned working together, by creating a Serving Club with the Ghana YouthMappers Team. In less than a month, Micheal started attending SERVIR's activities and wrote a blog about it. It was a very important experience for me. I understood the challenges of geospatial data in Africa, the internet and the place of young people in this technology. I also met very ambitious young people, and supporters who are motivated, passionate and convinced ready to support them in their dream. All with the aim of building a better world through geospatial data.
Michael Batame with Mr. Moussa Sayo Issoufou at CERSGIS.
Now, my goal is not just to do mapping, but to build mappers ...
Ibrahima Sory DIALLO is a Master student in Geography - urban spaces and societies at Gaston Berger University (UGB), Saint-Louis, Senegal. Passionate about GIS, collaborative mapping and open data, he plans to pursue advanced studies in geomatics. Because it's a very interesting science. Through geospatial and the new technology of remote sensing, GIS is used in all fields in search of solution.
He's also the President of UGB YouthMappers and SERVIR West-Africa Club at Université Gaston Berger