Goodbye, Kampala!

Today marks my last day at Hive Colab – the collaborative tech space I work from here in Uganda. Though my colleague and I are elated to finish our scope of work and are proud to reflect on all we have accomplished while in country, it is bittersweet to say goodbye to the good friends and coworkers we have met.

Throughout my time in Uganda, I worked for Humanitarian OpenStreetMap. This organization mobilizes local community members to edit a “living map” which can better inform policy makers and development institutions. I had the opportunity to work with every member in the stakeholder cycle: donors, implementers, and the local community.  Together with the HOT Uganda team, I helped train more than 150 people in OSM, JOSM, and QGIS so that they can put their own villages on the map and analyze the issues facing their community with geospatial tools. These students ranged from Uganda Wildlife guides living near Lake Bunyonyi to Uganda Christian University students and the founding members of OSM Rwanda.

Many of those that I helped train also participated in the Hackathon the Uganda AidData Summer Fellows helped plan. The Hackathon took place at the RAN Lab: an innovation hub linked to Makerere University and USAID’s HESN network. On July 22nd 13 teams competed to address the issue of climate change in Eastern Uganda. The winner developed an app that will help inform small shareholder farmers of future weather conditions.

This app is now being considered as a tool for the “Mapping for Resilience” project being spearheaded by USAID and HOT Uganda. My colleagues and I spent one week in Karamoja performing a pre-assessment on the feasibility of mapping geographic features and programming initiatives for development.  As my last blog post stated, the 40 actors we met with expressed a desire for more open data and comprehensive maps.

In all, we worked in three countries and every region of Uganda with over 60 represented organizations. Some of this work is represented in the following impact map I created for Humanitarian OpenStreetMap’s website.   This map will inform HOT’s program placement and increase transparency with its donors:

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There hasn’t been a dull moment since I arrived in Uganda. The hard work was punctuated with strong friendships and wild adventures.  To say that this was the best summer of my life would be a considerable understatement.

Conducting a training at the RAN Lab in Kampala

Conducting a training at the RAN Lab in Kampala