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  • Rehema Nakibuuka, Makerere University

Youth in Rapid Response Against COVID-19

A couple of years back when I started volunteering with Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team as a Geo YouthMapper, I considered my work as only a ‘by the way’ to keep me on the go when I wasn’t busy with my classwork. I am a land survey and geomatics student at Makerere University, and this is how I joined the Geo YouthMappers Chapter Makerere University. I mapped because I didn’t really have an activity outside class plus, my craving to learn something new continually pushed me to keep attending the mapathons, webinars and training that were conducted.

Well, I must concede my engagement was quite casual and I didn’t feel like I impacted much myself. Not until this year 2020, after the government closed up the universities as a COVID-19 pandemic response, when I signed up for a volunteer team under the project by Geo YouthMappers in collaboration with the local OSM community, Map Uganda. For 3 months, we were tasked to map a total of 27 of Uganda’s border districts as a response to the pandemic. This task involved daily mapping, continual training, webinars, sharing with team members and mostly my favorite, networking! These activities overwhelmed me with anxiety and urge for this work like I never had and made me believe I needed to do more than I was.

With my remote sensing abilities blanketing the remote mapping, I’ve found myself building skills I’ve never thought would exist in me. I’ve been able to use this experience to research more about remote mapping. I've attended more GIS and programming courses that could help me deliver more for the humanitarian community to the society in need. I must say my participation in the COVID-19 Rapid Response project has given me a turning point for my career in geomatics and as a land surveyor, and above all a humanitarian.

My name is Rehema Nakibuuka. I am a member of Geo YouthMappers chapter Makerere University, Kampala and the Resilience Mappers Kampala, Uganda. I am pursuing a bachelor’s degree in land surveying and geomatics. Being part of the Rapid Response project, I’ve grown to become a serious contributor to OSM and changed my perspective on how important the actions we may take for granted have the greatest positive impact to build utopia such as mapping.

Thank you YouthMappers!


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