- Tarcizio Kalaundi, LUANAR YouthMappers
THROUGH MALAWI AND SOUTH AFRICA YOUTHMAPPERS WORKSHOP, LUANAR YOUTHMAPPERS LEARN
The Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources YouthMappers chapter was privileged to be among the YouthMappers chapters that attended the Malawi and South Africa YouthMappers workshop that was held between September 2nd and 4th, 2022 at the University of Malawi. The training attracted five YouthMappers chapters from Malawian universities namely, Malawi University of Science and Technology, Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences, Mzuzu University, University of Malawi, and Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources itself. The South African Counter Parts comprised of the University of LImpompo as well as the University of Pretoria.
The training was organized by YouthMappers and USAID. The training team comprised of the delegation of Brent McCusker, Zola Manyungwa, Ndapile Nkuwu, Adele Birkenes, and Christine Urbanowicz. It was aimed at: imparting knowledge and sharing mapping experiences on iD editor Java Open Street Mapping, QGIS, and Kobo collect Toolbox, facilitating improved contributions and utilization to the open source community activities. Chapter members that attended the knowledge exchange platform were tasked with training their fellow chapter members in their respective colleges, as a post-training activity.
LUANAR YouthMappers Delegation
The three-member delegation for LUANAR YouthMappers comprised of Tarcizio Kalaundi, Susan Chibophe, and Martha Chirwa. They share their experiences for the Youth mapper’s workshop.
It was an inspiration to network with chapter members across the universities, learning from the potentials of the YouthMappers organization and our role as chapter members to keep the dreams of the founders alive and perhaps develop new motivations and aspirations from the limitless mapping world. My take-home assignment is to inspire fellow youths to explore opportunities with YouthMappers.
I did learn a lot from the workshop, and public speaking skills stood out for me. I am a very shy person to speak in public, but noticing from the speakers of the workshop that was dominated by female presenters like Zola, Ndapile, Adele, and Christine, did motivate me to consider my public speaking fears manageable. I go back to my university a confident and determined person to teach my fellow chapter members with confidence, what I have attained.
I had very limited knowledge about what YouthMappers was before the workshop, seeing students coming all the way from South Africa and with facilitators like Brent traveling past continents to impart knowledge, reaffirmed my interest and docility. I have made new friends who we have promised each other to continue to share our experiences beyond the training, as we grow and learn the applications of youth mapping opportunities in our respective careers. I am a fully committed member from now and always.
Training at LUANAR-Bunda Campus
Upon the completion of the workshop, they went on to schedule their two-day training with their fellow chapter members on September 23rd and 26th 2022, where they trained their fellow YouthMappers chapter members in making contributions to the OpenStreetMap world using iD editor, Java Open Street Mapping, QGIS, and Kobo collect.
Chapter members that attended the training have experiences to share;
Chapter Members’ shared experiences from the training
I came to the training with some knowledge of GIS but I was not aware of the unlimited things I can do using different software including OpenStreetMap, QGIS, and Kobo toolbox. But now after the training, I’m confident to enter the GIS field since the training has boosted my knowledge of many applications needed to solve real-world problems. Esther Tamanda Biliat-Bsc Agricultural Engineering, Year 4.
Through the training session on OpenStreetMap, I have learned to locate my home district, giving further descriptions of different landforms and drainage available, including the identification of features like buildings, forests, and rivers. I have further broadened my data collection skills. I now know how to create a questionnaire by using KoboToolBox. Data collection and analysis for my project have been made easier. The mapping skills acquired will help me in making positive contributions to environmental problems like waste management. Michael Steve Khumba, BSc in Environmental Sciences, Year 4.
It was an amazing training, I was able to map for the first time and had an experience working with iD editor. Being a champion for waste management, I am willing to explore what capabilities that come with the mapping skills and the chapter. Christiana Rosha-Bsc Natural Resources Management Land and Water year 3
I never knew YouthMappers existed before the training. I saw the post that was calling for new members to come to be part of the training and I expressed my interest. A lot was shared on how mapping is applicable to my career and I am interested in exploring contribution and leadership opportunities laid by the chapter and the organization. Upile Chelewani-Bsc Environmental Science Year 2
It was inspiring to hear about mapping stories, it gave me purpose to believe in the studies that I am pursuing, knowing fully well the world of exploration that it could contribute to through mapping. I encourage everyone to become a mapper. Lisa Gama-Bsc Environmental Science Year 2
A great learning platform that I intend to cherish, I am interested in understanding the software development contribution aspect of OpenStreetMap, and with proper guidance and training be able to contribute to its improvement. I have heard of the YouthMappers conferences and leadership opportunities, it will be delightful to network and grow with the rest of the world. Dennis Mazeri-Bsc Environmental Science year 2
My earlier perception of a community of mappers was that it was meant for a specific group of people, especially those with a background in Geographic Information Systems. But being part of the training however, has helped me realize that YouthMappers is beyond GIS experts. It is a community of researchers, leaders, storytellers and passionate youths that are geared to transform the world by sharing stories of people and their interaction with the environment regardless of field of belonging. Vanessa Majoni-Bsc Agriculture Extension year 4
I have had the quest of belonging to a community of young people that are geared to contribute to building sustainable communities. The training has helped me realize that I have such a community with LUANAR YouthMappers and the YouthMappers Organisation at large. Wongani Ntonga-Bsc Agriculture year 4
Current Chapter Status and Activities
The Chapter has seen a tremendous increase in patronage and activity contributions, with an average of 20 participants and a female representation of over 60% in all its activities. It has embarked on a mission to help other colleges and universities register as YouthMappers chapters. The recent engagement was with Natural Resources College, where the registration process is underway to have NRC YouthMappers chapter established. It has plans to reach out to two more universities within Lilongwe City by June 2023, namely DMI University Lilongwe Campus and Malawi Assemblies of God University.
LUANAR YouthMappers engage students at Natural Resources College (NRC)
Other activities that the chapter has engaged itself in include working in partnership with Malawi Red Cross Society, Nkhoma University, OpenStreetMap Malawi, and Map Malawi to aid emergency disaster response, by mapping out road and building data in flood-prone areas as well as communities and districts that have been affected by such. Recent projects on the same include responding to a call to map out the Southern region of Malawi that has been affected by cyclone Freddy.
Building and road data contributions towards Cyclone Freddy response
The LUANAR YouthMappers chapter is more determined than ever to build mappers not just maps, that leave an indelible trail of positive impact in the mapping community by responding to complex problems that the societies are facing.