Vingunguti is an administrative ward in Ilala district in western Dar Es Salaam and according to the 2012 census has a population of 106,946. Vingunguti ward is a flood-prone area of Dar es Salaam and many settlements within it are informal. The Msimbazi River flows around the West and North boundary of the ward, and during the rainy season is a major cause of flooding.
Launching mapping in Vingunguti
Ramani Huria launched mapping in Vingunguti with a community forum taking place on 11th September 2015. Red Cross volunteers were excited to be present at the event, with the Ward Community Executive Officer Mr Msimi, and community members from eight sub-wards, including Mtambani, Kombo, Mtakuja, and Miembeni. Also in attendance were representatives from the World Bank, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap, and university students from Ardhi University and the University of Dar es Salaam.
Vingunguti ward includes many flood-prone areas and Red Cross volunteers shared their experiences of flooding in the ward during 2011 and 2015. One story shared by Mzeee Hamis was that in 2015, floods led to the death of five people and buildings within the ward were so heavily flooded they have been abandoned. He noted that due to financial resources current initiatives against flooding are severely limited. Mr Said Mwikala also shared his experiences, noting that on the 4th of April Vingunguti hospital was completely flooded, with drains overflowing and offices and wards of the hospital being severely affected. As a result, in one case, a pregnant woman had to deliver outside the labour room as it inaccessible and full of water. Ambulances were unable to bring the sick to the hospital, and the facilities were not functional for more than twelve hours. He noted that the flooding in April of this year was disastrous, with high costs to property and loss of life.
Assisting in the mapping of Vingunguti by Ramani Huria, the Red Cross volunteer group divided into two groups, each with ten volunteers, and each group worked with other community members and students involved in the mapping of the ward. The first group were active from 14th September to 18th September, and in collaboration with experienced student mappers, began data collection with GPS units. The second group were active from 21st September to 25th September.
While many residents were enthusiastic and supportive of the mapping project, the Red Cross volunteer teams did encounter some challenges. Power shortages made it difficult to digitalise the collected information in a timely manner and the changes in the availability of the room supplied by the ward office meant that activities had to occasionally relocate to the nearby Kombo Primary School.
While some challenges were faced in mapping, the students, community members, and Red Cross volunteer all worked hard to complete mapping of the ward on time. Over two weeks the Ramani Huria team, including Red Cross volunteers, mapped the entire ward, including sub-wards of Kombo; Mji Mpya; Faru, Mtambani; Mtakuja; Butiama; Miembeni; and Majengo. Key features such as roads, buildings, drainage channels, and flood-prone areas, were all included in the mapping.
Completing mapping in Vingunguti
Mapping was completed in the ward and closed with a community forum on the 9th of October. Maps were presented at the ward, a general map and drainage specific map, and those participating in the mapping received certificates of achievement.
The maps were presented to the Ward Executive Officer, Mr Msimi, to provide Vingunguti ward with the tools to enable improved disaster planning and response to flooding.