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Mildred and Mukuru residents with hand-drawn village boundraies (photo credit: Primoz Kovacic)

In 2010, Map Kibera was awarded a Youth Fund grant from Unhabitat. With the many developments in the Map Kibera project, the Youth Fund grant was delayed until mid-2011. Some of the other initiatives the team was working on included the establishment of the local agency Map Kibera Trust, with support from the Africa Technology and Transparency Initiative and the expansion to work (led by Map Kibera Trust ) to Mathare and Kwale.

Map Kibera Trust received the Unhabitat youth fund grant in order to expand its work to other parts of Nairobi. Given the existing ties with Mukuru (an informal settlement in Nairobi’s industrial area) and the demand for training from young people who had been introduced to mapping in 2009 and 2010, the mappers decided to implement the youth fund grant in Mukuru.

The Unhabitat youth fund grant is designed to support organizations led by young people in developing countries. The grant involves a component of skills development; young people from selected organizations are trained in project management, documentation and budgeting. The young people then put their newly acquired skills into action throughout the project lifecycle.

Primoz and I have been supporting the mappers in Kibera however we believe that the best way to learn is through experience. And so in order to see them develop these new skills, we have taken a step back and supported the project mainly through some limited technical assistance. The field work and documentation has been led by Mildred Anekeya, the mapper coordinator (herself a young mapper from Kibera) and Vincent Mutuku and Moses Wahor, young mappers from Mukuru.

Below is a question and answer from Mildred, Vincent and Moses that documents their experiences in mapping Mukuru during the first half of the youth fund grant cycle.  Their insights are important to those undertaking similar projects in similar contexts. These answers were submitted to Unhabaitat as part of a mid-term report.

What is the progress you have made [in mapping Mukuru]?

First of all we held two successful community forums, in Mukuru kwa Reuben and Mukuru Kayaba, which sensitized the community on the importance of mapping before we launched it. Finally we will hold other forums to confirm the mapping that we have done to the community.

We were been able to cover all five villages of Mukuru which are Mukuru kwa Njenga, Mukuru kwa Rueben, Mukuru Lungalunga, Sinai and Mukuru kayaba. We were able to train 24 trainees in data collection which involved usage of GPS gadgets, downloading the data, editing and uploading it which involved gaining of computer knowledge. We had problems like getting approval from the local authorities but we had to convince on what to implement on the ground and later they had to approve us. We also faced minor problems from the participants which are commitment towards the training and some were demanding allowance for their time, but after giving them the importance of the training they had to commit themselves fully. Insecurity was also one the problems but we had to find ways to curb it, and this was to work the residents from the same village.

What problems have you encountered during the first phase of the project?

At first we encountered problems from the administration, allowances of the trainees they were not ready to work without being paid, insecurity especially in Mukuru Kayaba and lack of commitment from the trainees especially Mukuru Kayaba where initially we had about 12 trainees and they all left remaining with 4. The obstacles that we faced in technical issues were: too few computers which led to extension of the timeframe and also it took time for the participants to catch up with what we were teaching them. Less internet modems which lead to limited internet access.

How did you overcome these problems?

Coordinators from Mukuru had to talk to the administration concerning the project and convince them for approval. They also coordinated and made the availability of the trainee to training centre. They ensured security was intact and organized for the venues. This made the mapping process run smoothly despite the challenges. Concerning technical issues we had to make use of what we had at hand and the administration of the  Map Kibera Trust made sure that we full credits for the modems and the computers were available each time we needed them.

What project activities are planned for the next 6 months?

Drawing of boundaries of the villages and their zones, drawing of paths and tracks, drawing the industries and also showing how they are close to residential areas which can be used to explain some of the risks that people in slums are prawn to, like in the case of Sinai tragedy.

Finalizing on the mapping process and ensuring that the trainees are able to comprehend what we taught them.

Making follow up on all the stakeholders that would be interested in using the final maps in their work groups such as Administration, Youth, women groups, trainees, Community based and Faith based organizations.

To understand the spread of development in every particular village and also make conclusion on how the developments could be enhanced.

Any other comments?

The mapping exercise is a very unique method of bringing out problems in informal settlements; hence it should be enhanced to cover all the slums in Kenya. The trainees will need to have ongoing exercises less they forget what they learned, this can be improved by having substations in Mukuru.

Harnessing GIS mapping and social media to improve lives

Mapping the sanitation in situation in Mathare has been a process of continual learning. When we began the Map Mathare pilot project in December 2010, we employed a dynamic methodology to engage young people and the community issues in the approximately 20 villages in Mathare. My colleague Primoz and I worked closely with the Plan Kenya team to design a training programme and over the past 8 months, have learned a great deal about working with youth and communities to “make the invisible visible” that is – to document tacit knowledge and turn the experience of communities and young people into information that translates across social and geographic boundaries.

Empowering young people

youth map toilets in Mathare

Young people as “digital natives” – are growing up in an age where mobile phones are viewed as a necessity – even a right – in everyday life. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, M-pesa, SMS, Email – all products and services familiar to young people – even the disadvantaged youth in urban areas engage with these products at some level. Harnessing GIS mapping and social media to improve access to sanitation and hygiene may very well be led by these young people.

Yes, the word empowerment is over-used – and has become almost meaningless. Watching the transformation (that can even occur in one day) of a person’s perception of their environment  through the simple act of collecting GPS data about their village – is a very powerful experience and can only be described as empowering.

The team of mappers, videographers and bloggers– now about 15 in number – who have stuck with us since December of last year, can really tell you what empowerment means to them. Not only have they put themselves and their community on the map – a process that evokes a great sense of pride and responsibility. Some of the young people who did not know how to read a map before they engaged with Primoz, Simon, myself and the Kibera mappers. Philip Amukoya, one of the Mathare mappers told me on Tuesday that his soccer coach, who knows his interested in community forums, told him about “this thing called Map Mathare” back in December of last year. Philip decided to come and check it out despite not really know what “Map Mathare” could mean. He is now one of the star mappers and speaks with authority on the importance of “Global Positioning Systems,” Geographic Information Systems and community information.

Putting yourself on the map is the first step toward demanding recognition and everything that comes along with it – including basic human rights (the right to a clean living environment, the right to health) and by extension – the right to access services provided to the rest of Nairobi. Through our programme, young people are given the chance to represent their community through the medium of a map. Standard GIS symbols break down the barriers that separate youth and elders – rich and poor – and allow these young people to express themselves on a level playing field. Looking at the maps,  who would know they were generated by youth from the informal settlements?

Map of toilets, water points and open defecation areas in Mathare

Now that we have started that process of empowerment, and triggered this amazing group of young people to act as “community explorers” – documenting their lives and their community – the larger question is – how can we make an impact? How do we ensure that the process of community engagement, mapping and digital storytelling inform not only the youth about issues in their villages, but also reach duty bearers and decision makers who can then work with the community to take action based on the data collected?

Data in decision making

On Tuesday September 20th, we held a stakeholders forum at Plan Kenya, organized and hosted jointly by the Map Mathare team and Plan Kenya. We invited representatives from the private sector, Government and NGOs – as well as community representatives – to discuss the findings and products of the Map Mathare pilot. More importantly we asked attendees to make commitments to engage with the mappers, videographers and bloggers to “turn information into action.”

The forum was attended by City Council of Nairobi, Athi Water Services Board, MSF, KWAHO, Plan Kenya, Internews, Dignitas Project and several private sector companies.

We presented the trends that drive our work – the “urbanization of poverty”, the growing urban population, the untapped potential of young people, the importance of informal settlements to the economy of Nairobi and the “invisibility” of these areas that contributes to the ability of governments to “ignore” the needs of people living in the informal, marginal areas of the city.

Simon Kokoyo presented some perspectives from Mathare and discussed the research fatigue in Nairobi’s informal areas. He spoke candidly about how his mother has lived in Mathare since 1958 and that NGOs and researchers are constantly doing research and asking questions of Mathare residents. He said “my mother is an expert in filling questionnaires. She is part of a women’s group. And when researchers come to ask questions on water and sanitation they point them to Momma Njeri. Momma Njeri is the one who is an expert in water and sanitation questionnaires.”

But what happens to all this data – how can these “local experts” be the involved in shaping their own narrative – to take on the role of researchers instead of the subjects. That’s why Simon got involved with Map Mathare. He sees the potential in the community members as “experts.”

There was genuine excitement in the room when we spoke about the findings of the community (and youth) experts. Mathare Valley is an area of about 3 square kilometers. The pilot area of 4 villages (Thayu, Mabatini, Mashimoni and Village 10) is covered with 8.5 kms of open drainage. Two percent of the same area is covered with open defecation. These are statistics generated by the people of Mathare Valley.

The statistics, visualizations, stories and presentations inspired the representatives to make commitments to working with the Map Mathare team to turn this information into action. Realizing that not everyone is in a decision-making role, some were personal commitments to take the information presented at the meeting forward to the relevant decision-makers in various offices.

The representatives of City Council of Nairobi were not in a place to make commitments on behalf of the City Council but personally committed to continue to engaging with the community to change or transform social behaviour and to better living and health conditions in their work. The representatives will pass on the information to City Council decision makers so that they are aware of the existence of GIS maps developed by the community.

Athi Water Services Board representatives commit to creating awareness in the community to make better use of the existing WATSAN facilities. They also have some data regarding water services in Mathare and would like to work with Map Mathare to harmonize the information and identify gaps.

The private sector representatives were interested in continuing to innovate around sanitation solutions. They would like to work with the youth from Map Mathare and use the data to make a business case for sanitation service provision. This would include exploring the size of the population, their ability and willingness to pay, what toilet models are most successful and how to take it to scale.

Many of the stakeholders raised the issue of the linkages between sanitation and security – particularly for women. Medicinés Sans Frontier (MSF) work in Mathare on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV). The advocacy officer who joined the meeting mentioned the importance of sanitation and the need for mapping security issues – these maps could then be used to complement MSF’s advocacy work to improve lighting and security, particularly around toilets. The private sector representatives were interested in participating in lobbying efforts for improved lighting and security.

The Map Mathare youth have also committed to continuing the mapping work and to represent their community well. They are excited, empowered and will continue mapping and telling their stories!

Training youth mappers in Mukuru

It’s not if but when, And the when took place this Monday morning. A KPC pipeline – that runs through Nairobi’s informal settlement of Mukuru – exploded, taking with it the lives of 95+ people who live, work, school and play near in one of the marginal areas of the sprawling metropolis of Nairobi city.

Kenyans have been discussing the pipeline disaster and have been analyzing the factors that led up to the event. On Tuesday, both the Standard and the Daily Nation ran 11 pages of coverage of the event. It’s not surprising that journalists have in the past covered the precarious situation residents of the Sinai village face. There is often coverage of other dangerous conditions Nairobi residents live in – such as those living along the railway or high voltage power line in Kibera, or the polluted river in Mathare, or the dumping site in Dandora.

Many are not aware that the Sinai village (referred to in the media as Sinai slum or Lunga Lunga slum) is one village in the larger informal settlement of Mukuru. Mukuru is located in Nairobi’s industrial area. Access to the area is facilitated by roads that lead along the backs of factories and warehouses and industrial workvsites. The dangers of living in Mukuru slum are apparent as factories bellow out smoke, trucks carrying hazardous materials rumble by and pipes and electrical towers dot the landscape.

For the past 2 months, the Map Kibera Trust team have been working with youth in Mukuru. The “Map Mukuru” project began with funding from Unhabitat’s Youth Fund and interest from young people in Mukuru who we had worked with in 2010, with funding from HIV Free Generation.

Maureen Omino from Kibera trains mappers in Mukuru

The Map Kibera team has been engaged is a long-term process of skills building for young people in Nairobi’s informal settlements of Kibera, Mathare and now Mukuru. The Mukuru project is being run almost entirely by young mappers from Kibera – we’ve taken the opportunity of receiving the youth fund grant to push the Kibera youth to manage the project on their own and to exchange skills and learn from other young people.

The team is saddened by the tragic event in Sinai. The event hit some of our mappers quite hard – they were in the field in the area of the blast the previous week and were thankful that we were inside, editing data at the time of the explosion. None of the mappers were injured during the explosion but some lost friends in the fire and we send our condolences to the families and friends of the victims.

Our mapping work however is not a reaction to any singular event – it is a long-term effort aimed at amplifying the voices of residents of informal settlements. Our mission is to increase their representation and influence in decision making processes. By training young people as mappers and digital storytellers, we hope we are contributing to community resilience, not just to respond to disasters like the Sinai fire tragedy, but to ultimately reduce the risk to resident in informal settlements through identifying solutions to ongoing problems and dangers in the local environment.

My post also appeared on the Map Kibera blog

Kenya’s Vision 2030 strategy was launched in launched in June 2008. The overarching vision for the plan is “a globally competitive and prosperous nation with high quality of life by 2030.” The plan is based on three pillars:

  1. Economic: Maintain and sustain economic growth of 10% per annum for most of the next 20 years
  2. Social:  A just and cohesive society enjoying equitable social dev in a clean a secure environment
  3. Political: An issue based, people-centered and accountable democratic political system

The strategy is enabled by crosscutting activities in infrastructure development, science technology & innovation, public sector reform and macroeconomic stability. The Vision 2030 office is currently working to support approximately 100 projects across all pillars and within the “enabler” areas across the country.

One example is the reform of political system through the development of e-government systems to improve service delivery and communication with the general public. Another example in is the road development currently taking place throughout Nairobi (any Nairobian can tell you the current snarly traffic jams are a constant headache).

Vision 2030 is expected to be rolled out through government programmes with a significant contribution from the private sector. Companies and organizations are encouraged to contribute to the Vision. Private companies and public-private partnerships are expected to be responsible for rolling out 70% of project. Tatu City is one such private sector project.

Geospatial information for decision making towards Vision 2030

As presented today in the Africa Geospatial Forum, the team behind Vision 2030, lead by Director General Muga Kibati, requires geospatial information to assist in decision making. One example of this is the plans to establish 4-5 zoonotic “disease free zones” to improve the situation for livestock and animal husbandry. Identifying and monitoring these areas for improved planning and decision making will be assisted by GIS. Another area where geographic information systems (GIS) will be crucial is in land registry. EM Murage, Directory of Surveys at the Ministry of Lands, spoke of the development of a national digital cadastre database and land registry database.

According to the Murage, Kenya has “continued to use outdated and inconsistent geodetic reference systems that are not properly connected. The situation makes building up Geographic Information Systems (GIS) extremely complicated.” One challenge the Ministry experiences is the demand to conform with modern geospatial technologies, inadequate software for updating topographical maps and survey activities and inadequate human capacity in new technology (his slides showed screenshots of ArcView 3.2!! – they most recent version is 10).

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) is another key government agency that supplies geospatial information that is, and will contribute to Vision 2030. KNBS is the principal agency of the government for collecting, analyzing and disseminating statistical data in Kenya. According to Emma Akelo Odhiambo, GIS Manager at KNBS, her team will use geographic information to assist in timely decision making for several sectors. Of particular interest is the health and water and sanitation sectors.

The GIS team will contribute to the goal “to provide equitable affordable health care at the highest standard of cities” and to make “water and sanitation available and accessible to all.” KNBS will identify location of health facilities and provide data about the distribution of future health facilities and medical personnel to staff based on the needs identified.

Type of health information KNBS will collect:

  1. Location of health facilities
  2. Distribution of medical personnel
  3. Location of vulnerable populations
  4. Indicating longitudinal trends
  5. Mapping at risk population
  6. Determining geographic distribution and variation of diseases (incidence and prevalence)

Water and sanitation information:

  1. Inventory of utilities
  2. Distribution of water points
  3. Accessibility to water points
  4. Sources of water
  5. Safety of water point

Government agencies, organizations, institutions, companies and individuals contributing to Vision 2030 have a challenging task ahead of them. Many of the presentation in the session on Vision 2030 at the Africa Geospatial Forum discussed the potential of geospatial information, rather than concrete examples of how various agencies are using information to inform projects. With only 18.5 years left to 2030, the challenges faced by various agencies in terms of harnessing GIS tools for decision support must be tackled quickly in order to move ahead not only with planning but also with monitoring the implementation of Vision 2030’s projects.

Map Kibera Trust recently facilitated a 3 day training to introduce participatory digital mapping to target staff at Plan Kenya. The participants in the workshop included programme staff and ICT staff from the Kenya Country office and regional offices around the country. Participants came from Homabay, Kisumu, Kilifi, Kwale, Tharaka, Machachos, Bondo, the Kenya Country Office and the Urban Programme (Nairobi). Their backgrounds ranged from ICT support staff, to Child Rights & Gender Advisor, to M&E Coordinator, to programme staff in 4 of Plan’s 5 focus areas (Protection and Inclusion, Health, Education and Governance).

The training was planned at the beginning of the implementation of the new Kenya country strategic plan (CSP) 2011-2015 for Plan Kenya. Building on the success of Plan Kenya’s work in Kwale on universal birth registration and also from digital mapping work with POIMapper and Map Kibera Trust, the new CSP highlights the importance of ICT in the improved efficacy of Plan’s work. Plan Kenya has chosen to place an explicit focus on participatory ICT in its work. This is in line with Plan International’s focus and leadership in ICT4D globally.

In this context, the workshop aimed to:

  • Introduce participatory digital mapping theories, techniques and tools that Map Kibera Trust employs in its work
  • Provide hands on experience in GPS data collection and data editing using Open Street Map
  • Learn more about how Plan Kenya programmes use information and communicate
  • Brainstorm ideas about how to integrate ICT into programme work

We began with an introduction to Information Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) by exploring some questions to consider before introducing ICT into programme work. The questions were (and are) meant to stimulate discussion and encourage participants to think systematically about the integration of ICT into new and existing programmes. The questions identify the reasons why you would use ICT, assess what constraints and opportunities exist in the framework you are working in, and explore how people are communicating in order to design appropriate and sustainable systems to build upon existing channels of communication. The questions are modified from Linda Raftree’s post “7 or more questions to ask before adding ICTs,” so thanks to Linda for the inspiration!

  1. Why are you considering the use of ICT?

The Plan Kenya staff identified that using ICT, particularly mobile phones and the internet, has become a desired lifestyle choice that the majority of Kenyans around the country have embraced. This was an important point that the participants wished to build upon and capture in their use of ICT in various communities. The group generally agreed that ICTs are available and can be accessed by many Kenyans. The staff also mentioned that ICTs could improve communication and be used to easily mobilize communities (for example sending one SMS to many people to attend a meeting). ICTs are flexible and can improve accuracy and consistency in information, which can then be easily stored and shared. There was also mention of improved efficiency in programme work through the collection and processing of real-time information.

 

  1. What are the programme goals or programme framework you are working within?

 

Most of the participants identified the new country strategic plan for the organization as the overarching framework that Plan Kenya staff are working with. The country strategic plan identifies 5 areas of focus: Health, Livelihoods, Education, Protection & Inclusion and Governance.


  1. What are your specific information and communication needs?

The information needs of Plan Kenya staff members were largely related to programme work. The needs included collecting accurate data for baseline surveys for Monitoring and Evaluation and thus to assess programme impact. There were some suggestions of improving communication through digitizing information that can more easily be shared to large numbers of people. The group suggested that this could improve accountability to other staff members, donors and to beneficiaries in communities. ICT can also improve the ability of Plan Kenya staff to analyze information and make decisions.

  1. How are you already using information and communicating?

In order to integrate ICT into existing programmes within communities, it is important to know how staff members are already using information and communicating in their daily lives. The group came up with a long list of communication tools: email, internet, intranet, websites and social netoworks – namely Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, MySpace), applications (Skype, Yahoo Messenger), SMS and telephone calls, radio, and television. The group is using information during baseline data collection. Some are involved in a project that integrates SMS applications into the birth registration process in Kwale District.

  1. Who are the actors involved in the particular issue you are seeking to address with ICT?

 The Plan Kenya staff won’t be (and aren’t) using ICT in isolation. There are important stakeholders they work with on particular issues, programmes and projects. These include the general community – with a particular focus on youth and children. Important sub-sections of the community include teachers, school administration, Government of Kenya, civil society organizations, Plan Kenya partners (such as Childline Kenya, Community Cleaning Services), the media and private sector actors. Different groups of people use technology differently, and depending on the answer to question 1) and question 6 (below) the staff may need an ICT strategy that is diverse enough to reach the various stakeholders.

 

  1. How do people use ICT already?

 

This list of the ways in which Kenyans are already using ICT is a testament to the idea that the group tapped into when answering question 1. The use of ICT in Kenya, specifically mobile phone applications, has become a lifestyle choice. Kenyans use phones for mobile money transfer, SMS, calling, accessing the internet, paying their bills, paying for goods, calling toll-free lines (e.g. Childline call centre, police hot lines) and for data collection and dissemination. Kenyans also listen to the radio, use computers, blog, email, chat, shop online, bank online, join online discussions and news groups and use various forms of social media. They do this for work, but also for pleasure. These were the means identified by the group, however this is not an exhaustive list.

  1. How do people access technology already?

 

This was a sub-section of question 6 and the group answered: mobile phones (including GPS enabled and internet enabled phones), street phones, computer, internet connection in office and homes, internet modems, cyber cafés, radios, TVs, toll free lines, and resource centres.

 

  1. How will you close the feedback loop and manage expectations?

How do you make sure the information you are generating, no matter the medium or tool you are using, gets back to the community? How do you promote the use of technology without seemingly presenting a silver bullet solution (even if you don’t intend to do so)?

These questions were answered in several ways. One idea about both closing the feedback loop and managing expectation was to network  with other organizations and partners in the community to share information and raise awareness about the use of ICT and the opportunities and limitations of ICT4D projects.

Another option for closing the feedback loop was to both collect and disseminate information on popular social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

A third suggestion was to close the feedback loop and manage expectations through an informed resource person and/or resource centers and staff having sessions with the community.

Finally, there was the suggestion to start the integration of ICT in development work by outlining and communicating clear expectations and at the end have feedback sessions to monitor the whole process.

 

  1. What is your sustainability plan?

The final question, and likely the most difficult (we only had a one hour brainstorming session and did not expect participants to come up with final answers to this question but simply consider it as an important component to any project with an ICT component).

One idea was to equip community members, and particularly youth, with skills that will be applicable beyond the program (or project) timeline. The YETAM project (youth empowerment thorough arts and media) was designed in this way and the group agreed that this design was beneficial to the young people involved in the program.

Another suggestion was to involve the beneficiaries/community in the entire process of choosing/customizing appropriate ICT tools that suit their needs and for further development so that it is community owned process and will in theory continue beyond the project/program lifecycle. Other ideas included:

  •  Build partnership with Government and NGOs.
  • Integrate fund raising or income generating activities into the project.
  • Use affordable technology (free and open source)
  • Ensure follow-up mechanisms are built into the project

We discussed the use of mapping, open information and ICTs for development. We also used two of the three training days to focus on hands-on training and skills building. We facilitated training in handling the GPS devices, collecting data and using Java Open Street Map (JOSM) and Potlatch to record open spatial information into the OpenStreetMap databases. As we’ve found in the past, the hands on training is exciting and motivating. The theorietical discussions, combined with the practical field work inspired discussion and debate on ideas on how to integrate participatory digital mapping andICTs into programme work.

The following are ideas generated by the Plan Kenya staff:

  • Ushahidi could be useful for referral partners mapping and identifying the hot spots of child abuse
  • Use of SMS for communication with hearing and speech impaired within the community
  • Using reports and sharing the same information to various media channels. E.g. PPM a in-house system that is used to track and monitor information and projects progress
  • In governance as a tool for enhancing social accountability, where ICT can be used to track projects
  • Digitization of data collection e.g. in sponsorship (especially photography), child abuse hotspots
  • Involving children in participatory community mapping by mapping schools using walking papers
  • Using blogging as a tool for youth to document governance issues in the new good governance project for the Urban Programme
  • In Kilifi the team is doing a 2 year study on Open Defecation Free villages and health outcomes. They could use mapping and spatial statistics to document findings.
  • Mapping and other ICT4D tools could be used to document and share participatory activities that Plan already undertakes, such  as transect walks and participatory situational analyses

The training ended with a note of caution – the team recognized the potential tension between the processes that are needed for ownership of a community map (and any other ICT4D project) and the haste of development partners to use the budget and report progress to donors. In this case, many projects (ICT4D, mapping and any other project) may “leave the community behind.”

It is thus important to ask the following questions and consider the answers carefully when designing projects:

  • For whom are we doing the mapping (or any project really)? And whose map is it?
  • Of what use is the (spatial) information, what will it compliment?

After another successful workshop with Plan Kenya, we look forward to building on the excitement and enthusiasm generated during the training! Let’s see some of the great ideas turned into reality!

Data collection is not a walk in the park. Day two of the health services mapping with Map Kibera brought to light two major challenges to systematic data collection.

I do not claim that these challenges are unique, nor that today was the first day the mappers came across these issues (in fact yesterday, and during the previous mapping exercise, the mappers expressed some of the same concerns):

1. Suspicion. People do not want to give up information about the services they are providing. This could be for many reasons (they don’t believe you are who you say you are, they think you are being exploitative, research fatigue, they are not licensed to provide said service, etc).

2. Research fatigue. From my (limited) experience in Kibera (I spent 3 months in the area in 2008 and have been back a few times in 2009 & 2010), the settlement is one of the most over-researched places in Kenya, if not in Africa. As an example, as we were walking around today, I saw 2 groups of researchers walking around with clipboards interviewing people door-to-door. And what ever comes of the research? Does the community see the benefits? Likely not in their eyes. As such, even groups such as Map Kibera doing ‘community research’ are viewed with suspicion…and the cycle continues.

Reviewing the health services data collection form

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