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  • Confidence Kpodo and Erick T Mnyali

YouthMappers at the State of the Map, Tanzania 2023

With YouthMappers, university students not only define the world by mapping it, but also share their experiences and collaborate with other OpenStreetMap communities and stakeholders both nationally and internationally. State of the Map Tanzania is a national conference that celebrates the culture of OSM, open mapping, open data, GIS and its impact across East Africa and beyond. These are our highlights as YouthMappers regional ambassadors during the State of the Map Tanzania 2023.

Mr. Msilikale from Resilience Academy with YouthMappers students

This was the second State of the Map Tanzania which envisioned to (1) Learn from one another to improve OpenStreetMap and Open Data in Tanzania (2) Promote cartographic innovations in Tanzania (3) Place OpenStreetMap as a governance and sustainable development tool (4) Bring together Communities to share their experiences and achievements.

We finally met

It has been an amazing experience as YouthMappers regional ambassadors supporting university based chapters while equipping them with mapping skills. It was great for us to finally meet in person as leaders, and we discussed success stories and challenges we faced while supporting and mentoring YouthMappers chapters in the year 2022.

Some key takeaways from our discussions were documentation of chapter activities and chapter leadership glued with inter-chapter collaborations as ways to ensure sustainability of the chapters. We had over 50 YouthMappers students from 17 universities in Tanzania. It was great to connect with them in person, and mostly they had an opportunity to interconnect and learn from each other.

Erick and Confidence, YouthMappers Regional Ambassadors

We had an amazing session on Sunday (Final day of the conference) early in the morning before the conference sessions, where all YouthMappers attendees gathered to discuss and share their expectations after the conference. It was great to have Marcela Zeballos (YouthMappers Managing Director) message the attendees before all the YouthMappers attendees. We also heard from YouthMappers leadership fellows, 2022 Edith Namusamba, Nelson and Emmanuel Mahe who shared their experiences and lessons learned. This was to serve as chapter leadership strategy to ensure chapter inclusivity and that more students access open mapping skills. As regional ambassadors, we also shared our views and ways we can support chapters. One key takeaway from chapters is inter-chapter collaborations as a way to enhance the involvement of students during chapter activities.

YouthMappers meet up at State of the Map Tanzania 2023.

YouthMappers presentations highlights

With 20 YouthMappers chapters in the country and beyond, this conference played a great role in sharing experiences on their activities, projects, plans and most of all finding collaborative approaches among themselves and stakeholders in their communities. As regional ambassadors, it was overwhelming to hear amazing presentations from the chapters, and we will be highlighting some of the presentations in this blog.

Caroline (SMCoSE YouthMappers) and Joseph (Juco YouthMappers)

In a series of lightning talks, Caroline from SMCoSE YouthMappers highlighted the various ways to recruit female mappers into a chapter, using her personal experience of becoming a YouthMapper as a case study. Joseph from Juco YouthMappers speaking on the activities his chapter participated in and how they overcame their challenges, creating a success story as a new youth mappers chapter.

Edith (UNZA YouthMappers) and Nelson (IRDP YouthMappers)sharing their experiences

Leadership fellows, in a knowledge sharing session, highlighted their experience as leadership fellows speaking about the lessons learned and how that has defined the perspectives of YouthMappers in their corners of the world. YouthMappers from beyond also participated virtually in the conference, with leadership fellow Lindsey from Ghana sharing her insights on girls entering the open mapping space.

Erick Tamba during QGIS workshop

At the conference Erick Tamba, YouthMappers regional ambassador had a QGIS workshop where the participants had an overview of what GIS is, got familiar with the QGIS interface, learned about symbology and finally created their own map layouts. The participants' final map layouts were either visualizations of the number of scholarships awarded for the state of the map conference or the number of YouthMappers chapters in the regions in Tanzania.

These layouts were intended to highlight possible areas that we expect new YouthMappers chapters to join the network.

Irdp Dodoma YouthMappers Alumni and HOT Quality data intern (2022) shaban Magawila had an advanced mapping workshop where he introduced mappers to JOSM editor and shared best practices to ensure OpenStreetMap data quality. Also, he shared about Open Data Kit (ODK) for field data collection and his experience and challenges while doing their project "Mnadani community mapping project” which was awarded by Open map development Tanzania.

Shaban during Introduction to JOSM workshop

Mudathir Salum, SUZA YouthMappers president, shared his experience on activities and projects conducted by their chapter. One of the amazing projects shared was the Tourism sites mapping and school mapping project aiming to improve the education system in Zanzibar, the data to be collected is a request from the ministry of education in Zanzibar to help add GIS data in their e-system with all school locations.

Mudathir on his talk about SUZA YouthMappers

Here were our proudly female drone pilots who attended one-month training with the African Drone and Data Academy (ADDA) at the Malawi University of Science and Technology. They had an interesting presentation where they gave light to participants on how drone technology can be used for humanitarian response. This was also a motivation to female mappers and through them, we believe more female YouthMappers students' knowledge of drone technology shall be transformed.

Janeth (SMCoSE YouthMappers) and Brenda (UDOM YouthMappers)

We had time to hear from SMCoSE YouthMappers projects addressing flash flood challenges in Morogoro Municipal and Ifakara Town council. For the past three years, they have been engaging several stakeholders including the world meteorological organization and Global water partnership in using open mapping in contributing data to enhance early warning systems. The chapter has been working with GeoTE Tanzania to transform the knowledge of university students as well as local government officials in using open mapping tools to address challenges and implement community mapping projects.

Gideon Sway and Frank Anderson (GeoTE Tanzania Representatives )

It was also great to see posters describing several projects, methodologies, activities and results. These posters summarize two projects conducted by SMCoSE YouthMappers in collaboration with several stakeholders in addressing flash flood challenges in Ifakara Town council and Morogoro Municipal. The main takeaway from these tells more about the ideas that youth have to support developmental strategies, and they should be included in decision-making processes. It was great to hear from Tumaini Apolinary and Anorld Mlay who had lightning talks on the two projects they have been engaged in.

Posters submitted by SMCoSE YouthMappers

It was great to hear a great presentation from Herry Kasunga who has been engaging SETCO YouthMappers in implementing community mapping projects including mapping health facilities to help the local government and the community understand to what extent the available facilities fit their existing needs. Also, Herry teamed up with Caroline Likiliwike from SMCoSE YouthMappers to give a presentation on Mobile mapping tools and how they have been collaborating through the crowd2map Internship program.

Herry Kasunga and Carolina Likiliwike

Our regional ambassador confidence, from OSM Ghana, shared a presentation on building resilience in Ghana: YouthMappers in Action. It was great to hear about how YouthMappers in Ghana have been involved in several projects and knowledge transformative skills to address challenges in their communities. We also had the first female president from UNZA YouthMappers and Leadership fellow 2022 attend the conference. She gave closing remarks and words of thanks to the organizers and sponsors on behalf of the scholars.

Edith Namusamba from Zambia

In this blog, we acknowledge the support and hard work of Miss. Monica (the host) from CBE YouthMappers, and from SMCoSE YouthMappers, Mr. Ambangile (photographer and filmmaker) and Mr. Simon (Graphic Designer) for their amazing work during the conference. The three helped to capture precious moments during the presentations as well as enhanced engagement for the online audience on social media channels.

Monica, Ambangile and Simon

Generally, the conference was a perfect ground for fostering collaborations, discussions and meeting different chapters and sharing some nuggets of wisdom among each other.


About The Authors

Erick is a researcher, GIS specialist, environmental scientist, serving as YouthMappers regional ambassador and National focal point for United Federation of Youth (UN1FY) for water and climate. He is supporting YouthMappers chapters in the East African region and strives to share his skills on the use of open-source GIS tools in supporting data-based decisions and solving climate related community challenges. He is also a co-founder of Geospatial Technology and Environment (GeoTE), which is an NGO aiming to impact the community by achieving sustainable development goals through the use of geospatial technology. He dreams to see a network of team players among youth who are focused on finding solutions to their communities by mapping, giving out insights, and educating their local community, especially marginalized groups.

Confidence Kpodo is a YouthMappers Regional Ambassador and a volunteer with OpenstreetMap Ghana. She graduated from the University of Cape Coast with a Bsc in Geography and Regional Planning. Being a geospatial enthusiast, she joined UCC YouthMappers in 2016 and before graduating, served as the chapter Vice-President in 2018 and the Chapter President in 2019. That same year, she was selected as one of the HOT OSM Global YouthMappers Women Connect Challenge Winners to represent YouthMappers at the 2019 State of the Map Conference and HOT Summit in Heidelberg, Germany. She was nominated as one of the top 50 Geospatial World Rising Stars in 2022. She believes the exposure to certain skills that are not gained in the classroom, such as developing one's capacity in the field of GIS, impacts personal growth positively.


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