Map Kibera Trust: Map Kibera Project
Map Kibera Trust, Voice of Kibera, Kibera’s News Network, GroundTruth Initiative
Map Kibera was initiated in 2009 in response to the lack of available map data and other public, open, and shared information about one of the world’s most-known slums: Kibera, in Nairobi, Kenya. A small grant from Jumpstart International set off the first phase of the project.
Methods in Action
A Holistic Community Engagement Plan
After arriving on site, the implementing team established partnerships with three key Kenyan organizations, who then helped with the recruiting of 13 young people, one from each village in Kibera. Motivation to learn and to support community development were the most important selection criteria; some familiarity with computers was a prerequisite, but they did not need advanced experience. The group underwent two days of training to learn technical skills to carry the mapping forward, from using the GPS devices and the editing software in the computer lab, and geographic thinking.
The group spent three full weeks mapping their home villages. They first went to the field to collect data, and then worked from the computer lab space donated by a local NGO, in order to upload. The team decided which “points of interest” were most important to include on the map - included clinics, toilets, water points, NGO offices, electric lights, and some businesses - and wrote the names of each feature. After this intensive round of mapping and editing by the team in the computer lab, the map was complete—possibly the densest map ever made - and is now freely available through OpenStreetMap.
Immediate Impact to Empower Local Community
Aside from empowering local residents and businesses with access to (and ability to contribute to) invaluable information about their community, the map has been used for community organization efforts as well. For example, in 2013, Map Kibera Trust mapped the local polling places and political boundaries of Kibera - which had not been openly released before - and distributed maps to Kibera residents, local authorities, and media outlets to help peacebuilding efforts before the General Election.
Lasting Impact Through Community Ownership
By 2014, Map Kibera had formed the base of the Voice of Kibera website, where residents could post stories and information via SMS and web form, and they were then geo-located on the map. A team of young people covered events in Kibera by using handheld video cameras; they edited the video themselves and posted it on YouTube. Community involvement included drawing paper maps, public participatory GIS sessions, and working with local organizations on key community issues. Approximately 30 Kibera youth formed the core membership of the Map Kibera Trust, and the program had expanded to train people in Mathare, another Nairobi slum.