Pictured above: 2019 Leadership Fellows Sabina Abuga, Ndapile Mkuwu, and Laura Mugeha
This week we are putting the spotlight on our female mappers and fellows in honor of International Women's Day and Women's History Month. Three of our 2019 YouthMappers Leadership fellows shared their thoughts on being part of YouthMappers, the importance of international exchanges, and how their participation in the Leadership Fellowship Workshop at the University of Pretoria's Centre for Geoinformation Science in Pretoria, South Africa has impacted them since returning home.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A PART OF YOUTHMAPPERS?
Laura Mugeha: Being part of YouthMappers means that I am part of a global network of youth leaders creating change locally (which is really amazing!).
Ndapile Mkuwu: It means being part of a global community where we all get to work on the problems together as one, it means being part of a large network and having brothers and sisters from all over the world.
Sabina Abuga: YouthMappers are agents of change, who are taught to use geospatial data techniques to transform their societies and make them a better place.
HOW DOES THE YOUTHMAPPERS LEADERSHIP FELLOWSHIP FIT INTO YOUR ACADEMIC AND CAREER PATH?
NM: The fellowship not only highlighted on important social issues that are being dealt with but it also equipped me with tools that I can use to deal with these at community level. It encouraged me and pushed me into a direction where I want to give back to the community through mapping. It got me thinking of a change in my career path actually and just doing this full time.
SA: The Youthmappers fellowship has widened my international social network, thus connecting me to resourceful persons who are ever ready to support and guide me in solving the challenges that are faced in my society and the world as a whole.
LM: The fellowship not only equipped us with key leadership skills but also technical skills in open mapping which are directly aligned with my pursuit in a GIS career in the humanitarian context. By working with fellows from various countries, I was able to learn about the state of the field globally and was also able to strengthen my network.
HOW HAVE YOUR AWARENESS AND/OR PASSION FOR GLOBAL ISSUES BEEN IMPACTED BY YOUR INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE AND WHY?
LM: My awareness has been impacted positively since I learnt that we are actually facing similar problems just different local contexts. I now firmly believe that through collaboration between various institutions would greatly assist in creating solutions to these problems.
NM: It has shot off the roof. I am not just walking past streets or listening to news these days, my eyes and ears can’t help but try observe the surrounding and if I do see some things that are wrong my mind starts to race and think of ways in which those issues can be dealt with through mapping.
SA: I realized from speaking with my colleagues during workshop that their challenges are similar to that of my society's. This allowed me to see how they solved the problems in their society and also search for ways to apply those solutions in my society.
IN WHAT WAYS CAN LEADERSHIP WITHIN AN INDIVIDUAL STUDENT AND HOST COUNTRIES, SCHOOLS OR ORGANISATIONS BE LEVERAGED TO STRENGTHEN ENGAGEMENT LEARNING AND CREATIVE SOLUTIONS TO REAL WORLD CHALLENGES?
NM: This could be done by establishing a working relationship between student and organizations, students are a walking innovative bomb just waiting to be unleashed, the problem that is faced is the right platform that could be used to display and put their ideas into play.
WHAT IS ONE UNEXPECTED THING YOU LEARNED DURING THIS EXPERIENCE AND EXCHANGE?
SA: Being part of the YouthMappers fellowship has made realize that there is more to do in order to impact lives in our community. I enjoyed learning about others who impact their communities daily during our field day with the ViVa Foundation.
NM: The unexpected thing that I learnt during the workshop is that most of the chapters seemed to have the same problem and through communication and a brief exchange of ideas these problems that seemed like the ultimate dooms day went away. So communication and a network are very vital.
LM: Card games, a Ghanaian traditional dance and a bit of salsa (definitely still working on these).
For more posts focused on LetGirlsMap, Women in Leadership, and Inclusive Mapping, check out these guest blogs:
Girls in Mapping Rubaina Chalpang Adam, University of Mines and Technology, Ghana
Mapping a bridge across the Atlantic Ocean - How Two University Students Hope to Implement a Sister YouthMappers Community, Stella W. Nakacwa and Sonia Torres
My Mandela Washington Fellowship Experience Dr. Naa Dedei Tagoe, University of Mines and Technology, Ghana
I found the impact that I want to generate Yasmila Saenz Herrera, Universidad Nacional de Ingenieria, Nicaragua
Mapping Bridges the Gap Laura Mugeha, Jomo Kenyatta University, Kenya
We are the pioneers of the YouthMappers Legacy, Maliha Binte Mohiuddin, University of Dhaka
To #LetGirlsMap for socio-economic development and vulnerable communities response is sacrosanct! Blessing Oshoma, University of Port Harcourt
Polaroid moments through the eyes of YouthMappers, Maliha Binte Mohiuddin, University of Dhaka
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