The Growth of OSM Communities in Tanzania Through Community Microgrants

OpenMap Development Tanzania
2 min readMar 7, 2022

By Hawa Adinani

SMCoSE YouthMappers, one of the grant recipients. Image; Ambangile Mwambungu

The growth of OSM communities in Tanzania is taking shape as most organizations, institutions, and communities in general, are recognizing the importance of using and contributing to OSM data. To support the growth of OSM communities in Tanzania, OpenMap Development Tanzania with her partner the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) awarded microgrants to seven OSM communities in Tanzania — See the supported communities here.

The grants provided are supporting these communities to leverage the use of OSM and mapping to help solve different community challenges by facilitating training/workshops, purchasing tools and equipment, supporting staff, and other logistics. Most communities work in peripheral regions with a minimal understanding and use of open mapping technologies like OpenStreetMap.

The first phase of project implementation ended with great successes and lessons learned from these communities. The general success of the microgrants so far include the following:

  • Transforming communities from using traditional data collection to digital tools such as ODK and Kobocollect has greatly improved data management and analysis. For instance, Agri Thamani Foundation and LAVISEHA are new to OSM and open mapping technologies; however, they now use different tools, i.e. Kobotoolbox OpenDataKit, OSM, and Tasking Manager, to collect data for their interventions in nutrition and gender-based violence.
  • Connecting OSM communities in Tanzania and encouraging collaboration in various tasks and opportunities. The grant provided an opportunity for local OSM communities in Tanzania to work together; a good example is Hope for Girls and Women in Tanzania, giving training to LAVISEHA on how communities can use ODK to report the cases of GBV for rescue.
  • Creating awareness about OSM and other communities through participating and presenting in conferences and events such as the State of the Map Africa, Community webinars, etc.
  • Over 16000 buildings were mapped and 380 km of roads were uploaded to OSM by grantees
  • Supporting the growth of youth mappers chapters — Three grant recipients are youth mappers who are using the grants to solidify the chapter and get exposure to projects while also applying for other funding to expand their projects

Lessons Learned

  • More resources should be allocated on training and capacity building as most of the OSM communities are less exposed and have not implemented projects on their own and are less exposed to open mapping tools for mapping
  • Microgrants should prioritize youth and community-based organizations to support them in taking leadership roles and gaining experience in running projects while using data to solve community challenges.

Next Steps

  • Although the microgrant is expected to end in June 2022, OMDTZ is committed to supporting these communities through training and different engagements to ensure they achieve their goal of using open data for decision-making. Together we can add more people to a map by supporting all communities in mapping.



OpenMap Development Tanzania

Open-source tech & geodata for managing & solving community's socio-economic and humanitarian challenges