YOUTHMAPPERS AT RCMRD INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE (RIC) 2023
RIC - PRE CONFERENCE (Monday, August 7th)
The theme of this year's Conference was "NEXT LEVEL: Space to Community". The conference was held from 8 to 10 August 2023 at RCMRD, Nairobi, Kenya. The conference provided an excellent platform for how geoscience can effectively be used to inform policy. Delegates were from various sectors including Ministers, Principal Secretaries, Government Officials, Scientists, Development Partners, Researchers, Academics, and Media groups. With the quote from the African Union “Leaving no one behind” we were honored to participate and connect with experts in the field of geosciences and understand our involvement in policy adjustments.
Summary of the pre-conference day
We heard from various partners and sponsors of the conference as they highlighted opportunities and areas of engagement with the community. Among many highlights, was the highlight of YouthMappers technical challenge 2022. Digital Earth Africa showcased winners from four YouthMappers chapters who developed and are implementing projects addressing climate action. To know more about the winning projects click here. Together with such great engagement for youth, Digital Earth Africa continues to provide weekly sessions and training on the use of Digital Earth platforms.
At the end of the pre-conference, an opportunity to participate in the 2023 RMCRD map competition was introduced, and this year's competition aims to promote the use of maps, Earth Observation and create awareness of the data-sharing portals, and observatories to allow users to discover GIS datasets and creatively use them to develop innovative solutions.
DAY 1 (Tuesday, August 8th)
The first day of the conference was exciting because of the detailed sessions on various conference themes. In the session with the theme of policies on innovation and data aiming at discussions on how to improve science policy linkages, OpenMapDevelopment Tanzania shared their experience on their influence on policies through different open mapping and community engagement programs. In the questions and answers session, it was great to hear Mr. David from Uganda argue for the involvement of the community by sharing his experience in field data collection, especially in risky places. He pointed out an essential step in making sure the local community understands field activities beyond a reasonable doubt during implementing projects.
On this panel, Ms. Pauline Okeyo from Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) shared an opportunity titled “2023 ArcGIS StoryMaps Competition” which Closes on October 27, 2023. This competition invites storytellers to share stories about restoring and conserving our planet's lands and waters.
DAY 2 (Wednesday, August 9th)
The main theme of this day was “Data and Users”. This day brought together different practitioners in the geoscience field to showcase some of the research works they have done. The studies were based on the four thematic areas; Agriculture and food security, Biodiversity and Blue Economy, Land management, Policy and Development, Data, and Innovations. YouthMappers were honored to have Erick Tamba, YouthMappers regional ambassador, and Mary Muthee, Technical University of Kenya 2022/2023 chapter’s president presenting their work on this day.
Mary Muthee presented a study on “ Predicting the Potential Habitat Areas for Elephants in Africa using Maximum Entropy Algorithm under Climate Change”. The study aimed at modeling the current geographic distribution of elephants in Africa and also predicting their potential geographic distribution in 2050 under the projected 2050 climate data.
On the poster presentations (Land management, Policy, and Development), Mr. Erick Tamba Director at GeoTE Tanzania and YouthMappers regional ambassador shared findings on his published article titled Analysis of the Current and Future Land Use/Land Cover Changes in Peri-Urban Areas of Dar es Salaam City, Tanzania using Remote Sensing and GIS Techniques, that seeks to contribute to the body of knowledge required for evidence-based policy formulation and decision making to attain sustainable urbanization through setting suitable management plans for peri-urban areas of Tanzanian cities.
DAY 3 (Thursday, August 10th)
The culmination of the conference brought forth an awe-inspiring day. Among the remarkable moments was the interaction between the regional ambassador based in Kenya, and a vibrant assembly of YouthMappers hailing from the Technical University of Kenya. In addition, the conference was graced by the presence of the university's 2022/2023 president, alongside fellow mappers representing institutions like Maseno University, JKUAT, and Moi University. This convergence facilitated a fruitful exchange as they delved into diverse activities that hold the potential to empower not only themselves but also the wider community. Ideas were shared, and strategies were formulated, all centered around the mission of aiding fellow students and fostering community growth.
YouthMappers also had the privilege of engaging with esteemed partners, including Digital Earth Africa, Esri, and RCMRD, among others. These organizations encouraged the young mappers to take part in their ongoing mapping competitions, fostering an environment of collaboration and growth.
GIS DAY 2023
It was an honor to meet Mr. Antidius from the Tanzania data lab and director of Root GIS, who came to share about the Tanga city observatory project, which involves the training of Youth and students in the digitization of available data for timely decision-making. Antidius is also a YouthMappers Alumnus and a mentor of Ardhi University YouthMappers and has been supporting YouthMappers through in-person training and technical support.
This year Root GIS, YouthMappers, and GeoTE Tanzania are organizing GIS Day 2023 from 15-16 November 2023 with the theme “GIS for Sustainable Development”. The conference is an annual event dedicated to highlighting the pivotal role of geospatial technology in fostering sustainable development. This event serves as a platform for geospatial enthusiasts, industry leaders, practitioners, academics, and civil society organizations to come together and explore the potential of geospatial technology in addressing pressing global challenges. We also had a drone for agriculture (pesticide spraying) demonstration on the final day from fahari aviation.
In general, the conference was a great platform for engagement and networking among ourselves as youth and finding opportunities and collaborations with other stakeholders and experts in the geospatial field to build our careers. We acknowledge the conference organizers and look forward to more of this meet-up next year (2024)
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