November 7th & 8th marked the beginning of a new era for Ramani Huria – a project that over the past year has brought together a diverse consortium of partners, including the Tanzanian Commission of Science and Technology, the World Bank, the American, Danish and Tanzanian Red Cross Society’s, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, the Government of Tanzania, and students of Ardhi University and UDSM, to determine the potential of data produced by community mapping and to drive innovation in modern mapping methods.
Community mappers, government officials, and experts from the field (both local and global) lined up outside the National Museum in the heart of Dar es Salaam ready to engage in discussion on the progress and potential of community mapping methods.
The morning of day one celebrated all community members who dedicated their time and their incomparable knowledge of Dar es Salaam to produce Ramani Huria’s highly detailed maps. These maps have now been compiled into the form of an Atlas for Flood Resilience – received by all conference delegates upon arrival. The honourable Theresia Mmbando, Regional Administrative Secretary, and Osiligi Losai, Ward Executive Officer (WEO) of Kigogo, offered their remarks, congratulating all Ramani Huria team members on their accomplishments thus far and officially opening the workshop.
The workshop largely took the form of four engaging panels that covered the topics of Flooding in Dar es Salaam, Learning from Ramani Huria, Maps in an Urban Environment, and Scaling Ramani Huria. Within these panels, WEOs spoke about the participatory mapping process and how they have been using the maps to improve management of their wards, Disaster Managers commended the quality of the data produced by community mapping, professionals from international organizations offered their advice and support for scaling up, and representatives from major decision-making bodies in Tanzania announced their consideration of adopting community mapping as common practice and officially incorporating the Ramani Huria data into development plans.
Conference attendees initiated stimulating dialogue around all topics discussed. This dialogue was particularly present during the Ramani Huria Cafe, a unique session that allowed speakers to share their expertise in great detail with interested delegates over coffee and snacks. Another unique session incorporated into the event was the Forecast-Based Financing game, led by Julie Arrighi of the American Red Cross. This game introduced the concept of forecast-based financing – a system that uses the science of weather and climate to anticipate possible impacts in risk-prone areas and mobilize resources before an event – via an interactive activity that was accessible to all.
With the blessing of major government officials who made appearances at the workshop, from the Regional Administrative Secretary to the Mayor of Dar es Salaam Hon. Isaya Mwita, the Ramani Huria team is now tasked to formulate its plans for a scale-up with its partners – through which it will be extending its reach geographically and expanding its focus beyond flood resilience. The project will continue to grow its partnerships – both local and international – to ensure that the value of community involvement spreads within the realms of urban planning and development, and that Tanzania leads the world in innovative techniques for mapping.
Presentations, photos, and other resources will be available soon at ramanihuria.org.