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  • Charles Chilufya, University of Zambia

Untold Story of YouthMappers

Updated: Nov 8

2019 in my second year of studying at the University of Zambia, I heard of an organisation called YouthMappers by my roommate, a senior student in 4th year. I never bothered to ask him more about it.


One day I decided to check online about YouthMappers and was inspired to learn of how youths collaborate to solve the world’s problems, especially those in their local communities. I sat down and reflected on my fellow youths, my community and the country I love so much Zambia. Have you ever wished and cried for more solutions at once to one problem? Oh noo!!! I went back to my senior student and inquired more about YouthMappers and how I could join it, contribute to the world and more especially help my own community.


My name is Charles Chilufya, a proud YouthMappers member from the University of Zambia. I happen to have a seat as the Secretary for the University of Zambia YouthMappers Chapter (YMUNZA). In September 2021, it marked 2 years since I decided to be part of YouthMappers and be among the wordlist of solution providers through mapping.


The change of perception;


After mapping for two months, I stopped viewing YouthMappers as an organisation that can only train youths to become mappers. But also as one that can help build them and prepare them for the next stage. This motivated me to continue understanding YouthMappers beyond mapping. It showed me that being part of this youthful organisation is among the best decisions a youth can make for greater preparation to fight, defend and protect the future we want.


I participated in one of the biggest projects of contributing to SDG6 with the aim of improving people’s accessibility to clean water and sanitation through mapping. This motivated me more to further explore YouthMappers to a larger extent. I have learnt a lot of new tools since I joined YouthMappers, which has helped me in relation to my current career in information management.


Opportunities


At the end of 2019, the YouthMappers Steering Committee announced the research fellow opportunity for all YouthMappers members. I remembered how my community vulnerability levels increase every single year; I decided to pick SDG2 and SDG4 to come up with a research topic that would address the impact of not taking these seriously in local communities. In December before closing schools, I had more interaction with government officials discussing the importance of mapping schools and other facilities for community use. Before the new year, I thought of developing a new community framework that can be used to make mapping more interactive even to other young people like us who are in university.

OSM Zambia, YMUNZA and other government officials from ministries 2019.

YouthMappers committee selected my research proposal, “Impact of Poverty on Education.” I was told to travel to the USA in 2020 to meet different stakeholders and fellow young people around the globe but COVID-19 affected all of us.


YouthMappers has increased my networking and the level of advocates for Sustainable Development Goals.


Education


Did you know that a lot of students go to universities to study their respective courses, obtain those degrees and return to their homes to do nothing? I have not limited myself to the course study that I am doing of information management. I have explored in my networking the diversity of knowledge from information management to environmental, political, governance, leadership, more of technology, mapping tools and skills.


YouthMappers has certainly made me to explore and gain more knowledge and experience with technology. It has challenged me to stay up-to-date and has further created a conducive environment for me and other fellow youths within and outside the belt of the course study to flourish in.


Who we are;

YouthMappers University of Zambia (YMUNZA) is the first chapter in the Republic of Zambia which was established in 2017 at the University of Zambia and founded by Chomba Chishala in Zambia. YMUNZA trains students in different skills, imparts them with new knowledge and mapping skills. It creates a conducive environment for students to interact and network. It also builds the leadership skills of the students within the chapter and allows students to explore. The chapter has supported the creation of 7 new chapters in Zambia, and it is looking forward to spearheading the opening of more networks within the country and outside.


Some inspirational activities by YMUNZA chapter since 2017


After the establishment of the chapter at the University of Zambia, YMUNZA has been involved in various activities that have helped the university and the various communities.


-The chapter was involved in the Peace Corps Public Health Program Zambia; this was a project aimed at understanding the layout of the community and assisting the ministry to map the area for the mass distribution of the mosquito nets in some such communities.


-The MAPPING of Chaisa area in Lusaka capital city of Zambia; there was need to produce the detailed map of Chaisa community, Zambia.


-MUFULIRA COUNCIL MAPPING, COPPERBELT PROVINCE, Zambia.


-Mapping of LUSAKA SANITATION PROGRAM, Zambia.


-WASH ASSESSMENT AND CHOLERA MAPPING, Zambia.


About the Author:



Charles Chilufya; chilufyacharles12@gmail.com

I am an undergraduate student at The University of Zambia, studying Records and Archives Management. I happen to be the President for the University of Zambia United Nations Youths Association, President for University of Zambia Records and Archives Management Association, Secretary General for the University of Zambia YouthMappers, and an advocate for the Sustainable Developments Goals.