Friday 2:40pm, Room 1
Egle Marija Ramanauskaite
One road goes a long way:
the impact of maps in rural Tanzania
Egle Marija Ramanauskaite
CO-FOUNDER & RESEARCHER
Crowd2Map: we didn't mean to map.. :)
COLLECTION AS ONE
OF THE OPTIONS
WHOA! We can add
those to the map
OF WATER POINTS
Problems to solve... FGM & rural development
Mugumu Safe House -
established in 2014,
operating in the Mara region
Saving girls from practice of
FGM, but region largely blank
on OSM/Google - not clear
where any villages are
++ Overall development in rural Tanzania.
Fuzzy realization that maps could help!
Since 2015, we have done...
... so what?
Impact of maps is... obvious?
No "obvious" things to a researcher :)
Need to measure it!
Quantitative data? Patchy at
best. Measure something that is
barely recorded..? Impact of
maps that have just been
Qualitative data? Talking to
people - much more interesting!
But not all that easy...:)
Interviews & (for lack of better option)
Type 1: "Never seen" a map! Even if
linked to mapping programme. Not
aware of maps until it's pointed out
Type 2: Don't have access to a map,
but have seen one (in village office,
e.g.). Modest awareness why maps
could be useful (mostly navigation)
Type 3: Have used maps before but
don't have access now. Modest
awareness why maps could be useful
Type 4: Have used maps before,
continue to use them & can list many
reasons why maps are useful
(development, humanitarian purposes)
HAVE ACCESS TO
ABOUT MAP USES
Some interesting points...
Unaware they've seen a map until you point out an atlas or
a map in village office
Even driver in the Safe House where we're mapping, "has not
seen a map". How is this information shared then..?
Even those who "have not seen a map" know it's basic uses,
such as navigation, and would like to use maps
Everyone very enthusiastic about the ability to learn to
map their area & use the map
In general, the majority of the community does not use maps
Locals use "maps"... but it's not what we think
One interviewee said she used maps in her home town. But ...
[translated] "They didn't have a paper map, it's so only that she grew up in
that place, so she knew... she knew the shortcuts. But they didn't have maps.
So she was using her knowledge, having stayed there since she was born &
knowing where to go, which way to use. That was what helped her, but not maps."
"There was this community member, 55 years old... He drew us a drainage map
using his head. He had a piece of paper, then he had to [draw] everything. And
when we went to the site, it was actually the same thing. So I was very amazed
by that guy.”
But what if you're out of your home town?
Some of the most usual ways of navigating includes...
"You find the people who know the way, we may follow a volunteer, volunteer
like... Joana. We may call her 'come, we want to go to some area - which way
you can pass?'. Joana directs you... 'you're supposed to pass this way, or that
REACHING THE SAFE HOUSE:
"There's not been any cases when girls used a map. Because they just ask in the
villages where is the Safe House, and the activists direct them. 'To reach the
Safe House, you need to go to road that leads to the hospital, and then turn
right, and then reach the Giraffe hotel...'"
Everyone excited about paper maps!
Specific cases too, such as GIRLS REACHING THE SAFE HOUSE:
"If they had paper maps it would be much easier for them; because when they
have map they would be sure if they’ll reach the place; because sometimes they
might meet someone who is still keeping traditional practices and they will try
to cheat them, say 'better go back, I don’t know where the Safe House is'"
Paper maps might be optimal in rural settings:
“Using the paper maps will be great for rural areas. Right now they don’t have
access to smartphones, and if they do, they have internet issues. So if they
have offline maps, such as paper maps, I think that would be great."
In the Safe House maps are more than basic
Know where activist houses are in each village
Select, change & quickly coordinate "safe
places" - girls "assembly points", in case
parents find any
Pick optimal routes & plan fuel costs (limited
Pick the best roads, so they can get to the
Rhobi, director of the Mugumu Safe House:
"In the beginning it was very difficult to
save girls. Because we didn’t have maps to
use, and it was very difficult. We didn't
know where are the villages, what roads we
can use, where are the safe roads; we were
all new to the area, we would be late
sometimes, would go through bad roads, and be
late, and even some girls would be cut,
because they were reached by parents. In the
last year it’s been improved."
For now virtually impossible to quantitatively
assess impact of maps on reducing FGM, but...
We're using GIS to
Last year building
where girls were
waiting for help
But data is so patchy, deeper analysis is
not yet possible
Crowdsourced FGM data at the Safe House not
representative of the region
DHS data self-reported, non-representative,
different years, before mapping...
So many factors could be involved in such a
complex issue as preventing FGM!
More systematic data collection & assessing
change might be possible in the future
Not just FGM - locals recognize benefits
for rural development
Defining ward boundaries, resolving disputes
Dividing wards (happens)
Identifying resources, e.g. land use
Knowing where essential services are & better
planning, e.g. education & health facilities
General empowerment of communities to tackle
"[Identifying] which are the challenges in each village,
and each community can plan best."
But better maps... is just the beginning
Currently maps are incomplete - only remote
mapping & Maps.me points - not fully usable
People in rural areas don't have access to
Printed maps are not distributed, unless it's
ward offices - should be all kinds of public
facilities at least
COMMUNITIES NEED TO BE EDUCATED & MADE AWARE OF
THE USE OF MAPS !!
"What would be the next big improvement in the
map for *you*?"
"...increase the number of people, teach them how to use our maps, bring them
the hard copy, teach them to use phones. Now its’ just girls and volunteers..."
Community members agree: what matters most is...
"Continue to do mapping, but also involving different people in the community:
government leaders, village leaders, the community in general. Continuing
education of village communities about the importance of mapping..."
But progress is being made!
Girls who graduate Safe House
are trained to map!!
Enthusiastic to continue &
teach their communities (but
phones - limitation)
Community mappers map & teach
communities enabled by HOT
WE'RE ON THE RIGHT TRACK... BUT IT'S NOT
JUST ABOUT THE MAP!
Lastly... why impact of maps is not an easy
question to try to answer! Long list...
Researcher not in Tanzania! :) Interviews collected by colleague -
But - inconsistent due to circumstances, non-exhaustive
Translator often needed. Which is fine, but translator -->
interviewee --> translator --> audio transcript ... losing bits of
Surveys useless! Need to take your time & dive into conversation,
often narratives to find out what's real
But what *is* real? Some, especially officials, tell you what you
want to hear...
They don't want to admit nobody uses maps! But some do - and