On October 27th, 2016, Ward Executive Officers (WEOs) from across Dar es Salaam came together to discuss the observed benefits and the future potential of Ramani Huria’s community mapping project. The workshop was kicked off by Osiligi Lossai, the WEO of Kigogo, presenting his community’s experience with the maps, leading to an open discussion between all WEOs on the many purposes that the maps can serve to further socio-economic development.
Salum Mzaganya, the new WEO of Hananasif, shared a more personal story with his fellow officers. Having entered his position in the ward with very little knowledge on the ward itself, he extended his gratitude to the community mappers and the product that they created for helping him to get thoroughly acquainted with the piece of land over which he was to govern. He then went on to describe how he used the maps to identify priority areas for infrastructural improvement – essentially informing his ward budget.
The WEOs expressed a desire for the project to expand and extend its reach. Considerations that they suggested for a potential scale up included the addition of sub-ward boundaries and creation of dedicated sub-ward maps, the inclusion of NGO and other service provider locations, the undertaking of a comprehensive informal market survey, and the identification of public spaces – just to name a few.
This communal appeal for further development of the project was accompanied by a commitment from all WEOs to remain heavily involved in the project’s expansion and to continue to engage their community members in the participatory mapping process. In the words of Osiligi Lossai, “now we have a map and a map is something to start with. It is a roadmap for us to set up new plans, to organize ourselves while involving the community. Let’s not end here, because this is just the beginning”.