With the advent technology like satellites and Google Maps, you could be forgiven for thinking that the entire world has been mapped. But this isn’t the case. Crowd2Map Tanzania is one organisation that is working to fix this, and help improve the lives of women in the process.
Large swathes of many countries still lie unmapped. This can cause havoc for those that live there, especially for those living in underdeveloped regions. Since 2015 Crowd2Map Tanzania has been putting rural Tanzania on the map. Quite literally. This crowdsourced project has added thousands of schools, hospitals, villages, and roads unveiling an entire network of rural communities. And all thanks to a dedicated team of volunteers.
Now you might thinking, “aw, that’s sweet, but so what?”. But think about it. Imagine if there were a natural disaster in the area, or even something more simple like a accident. How can relief and emergency vehicles reach those in distress if they don’t even know where the roads are? How can you plan for the future of a country if you can’t tell the difference between a school and hospital, or if you don’t know these things exist in the first place?
Along with emergency relief and planning, the lack of mapping has very real consequences for the women in these areas. Recently this volunteer team has been using their skills to fight female genital mutilation (FGM) in the Serengeti. Typically performed on children between the ages of 4 and 12, FGM is generally performed in isolated, rural areas. It is usually done with rudimentary tools and without anesthetic.
By mapping the region women and children have access to information on local safe houses. And vice versa. When teams are given tips about girls in danger, they can drive to collect the child and bring her to safety. Without maps, this process is impossible. Drivers cannot locate those in danger, and likewise, girls do not have access to information regarding the location of safe houses. Leaving many young girls vulnerable to FGM, which can result in infection, infertility, and even death.
To date Crowd2Map has mapped 64,000km of roads, 175 villages, 12,307 schools and 169 clinics. But they need your help. The team urgently need mappers to help on the project, as well as funds – monetary, but also second-hand Android phones – to help with projects. You can help this amazing community, by checking out their website to find more information.