Empowering Youth: Mapping for Health and Impact: A Journey in Akure
In the heart of Nigeria, from October 2nd to October 6th, 2023, something extraordinary unfolded. The Federal University of Technology Akure played host to the YouthMappers Open Mapping for Heat and Health Mapping Workshop, an event that breathed life into the idea that maps could be tools for positive change.
As one of the privileged members of the logistics team, my journey began with the excitement of welcoming students from diverse universities. With Ademoyeo Victor and Adeyemo Oluwafemi by my side, we embarked on a mission to ensure everyone felt at home, ready to embark on a transformative experience.
The excitement deepened as we had the privilege of meeting some remarkable individuals. Chad Blevins, co-founder of YouthMappers, stood as a beacon of inspiration. Zola Manyungwa, the YouthMappers Communications Specialist, illuminated our path with her expertise. And then, there was Abdulrahman "AI" Alsanad, who joined our mapping adventures, adding his invaluable insights.
During the welcome orientation, the discussions were nothing short of enlightening. Mercy Akintola, Victor Ademoyero, and Babalola Oluwabukola shared their perspectives on YouthMappers' engagement in Nigeria, setting the stage for a week of discovery.
The virtual sessions led by Rory Nealon introduced us to the dynamic world of Power Africa and Power Mapping, shedding light on how maps can shape the future of health and well-being.
The workshop was packed with enriching lectures. We delved into Kobo Collect, Mapillary, and Fieldwork Orientation, equipping ourselves with the tools and knowledge needed to make a difference.
But the real magic happened when I became a part of an incredible team - "PACESETTER." Our slogan, "We set the pace, so we win the race," was a testament to our commitment to excel. Together, we embarked on a thrilling journey of field practice mapping in Akure.
Abdulrahman "AI" Alsanad, with his boundless enthusiasm, joined us in the field, making each step feel like an adventure. Our team mentor, Odunmorayo Michael Temitayo, guided us with wisdom and patience.
Our fieldwork was a testament to the power of collaboration. Armed with Mapillary, Maps.me, OsmAnd, Trackila, and Google Maps, we set out to locate 29 designated locations. In just two days, we successfully pinned down 22 of them. We brainstormed, navigated, and collected data together, forging unforgettable memories along the way.
The final day was a culmination of our hard work and dedication. I had the honor of moderating the oral presentations, where each team representative shared their unique fieldwork experiences. It was a moment of pride, seeing how much we had accomplished together. Team 1's video, masterfully created by Bukola, left us inspired and in awe.
Amidst the ongoing workshop, a surprise awaited me - a Certificate of Recognition for my contribution to the 2023 YouthMappers Workshop Mapping for Heat and Health. It was a token of appreciation that warmed my heart and fueled my passion for mapping.
But the most meaningful part of this journey was the opportunity to engage with chapter leaders from different universities. We discussed the importance of capacity building, understanding that we don't just build maps; we build Mappers who have the power to create lasting change.
In conclusion, the YouthMappers workshop in Akure was more than just a gathering of like-minded individuals. It was a celebration of the power of maps to transform lives and communities. As we continue on this journey, let us remember our mantra: "We don't just build maps, We build Mappers."
Compiled by: Mercy Akintola
Mercy Onaopemipo AKINTOLA is the former YouthMapper Regional Ambassador 2021-2022 based in Nigeria. Over the years, he was once the former vice president of YouthMappers FUTA and chapter president of YouthMappers FUTA, He is an undergraduate student working towards a Bachelor of Technology in Remote Sensing and GIS. Currently, he's volunteering with the HOTOSM Training Working Group, the HOTOSM Global Validator, OSM Africa validators, and the OSM Africa monthly marathon committee. While studying, he has developed expertise in remote sensing, field data collection, data management, and geospatial analysis. He is an enthusiastic, energetic, passionate, and ambitious person. Also, a great team worker who loves to contribute and volunteers for several humanitarian initiatives. His dream is to help people who are willing and interested to learn, grow and improve in mapping activities over time, and help their communities. He hopes to give voices to people, particularly the underrepresented, through mapping, which is a means of communicating problems and providing solutions.