The last month of 2012 have been very busy for the Burundi team. Always more actors, from Community Based Organisations (CBOs) to INGOs and UN agencies, are interested in our project and willing to collaborate with us. Every meeting to discuss possible collaboration had a positive feedback. It seems that we had our Christmas gift just on time! Although I’m sure not all people agree on seeing more work as a gift, but at least, from a working point of view, it is satisfying. Furthermore, the humanitarian situation in Burundi is not that easy at the moment and humanitarian agencies are dealing at the same time with thousands of Burundian returnees repatriated from Tanzania, influx of Congolese refugees escaping from violence in South Kivu (DRC) and outbreaks of cholera epidemics along the lake Tanganika and Bujumbura.
While still discussing with international and governmental agencies on how to organise our contribution to their humanitarian effort using our humanitarian mapping tools and skills, we are keep on training CBOs and local associations. No one better than locals know the ground and their own needs. Capacity building is indeed a standing point in our activities and it is crucial for the sustainability of our project.
On the 15th of December we organised our second “Mapping Party” with Scouts and Guides followed by a 5-days training with AJDI (Association Jeunes par la Democratisation de l’Informatique). AJDI is a Burundian association, which count 500 members around Burundi, committed in reducing the technological gap through the provision of IT trainings. We met 15 of them and we are pleased to train such energetic and optimistic guys. They showed soon to be quite enthusiastic to learn how to use a GPS, how to map the area where they live in and how to edit such data in JOSM and OpenStreetMap (OSM). Their positive attitude and willingness to learn was very contagious and supportive for our work. The training was a mix of theory and practice, from the explanation of the open-source concept and basic use of OSM/JOSM to the more accurate field mapping and creation/edition of objects (such as building, roads, facilities etc.) in JOSM and OSM.
We believe we just created new dedicated geeks. Indeed, by chance we find out that one of them was already editing in OSM at 3 am. This is a clear sign of them being contaminated by some kind of geek illness! Anyway we are proud of those guys and we will keep following them with further support as we want them to become proper “citizens” of the OSM (Burundi) Community.
Finally we want to thank to the Centre Jeunes Kamege (CJK) that allowed us to have a proper room for the training. Since 1993 the Centre Jeunes Kamenge, with almost 40,000 youth enrolled, offer a space for peace and reconciliation in one of the poorest area of Bujumbura, engaging youth in vocational trainings, sport and many other activities.
Last but not least we want to show our support to the rest of the EUROSHA family, particularly the CAR team, as they were facing hard time due to the deteriorating security situation in Central African Republic and their following evacuation.
We wish you all an happy and professionally fruitful 2013 and let’s hope to see a better OpenStreetMapped world!
Eurosha Burundi Team