Youth in Geospatial Digital Skills

By Hawa Adinani and Msilikale Msilanga

Trained students from Sokoine University ready for data collection. Photo; OMDTZ

Since 2017 OMDTZ has been supporting industrial training to university students to gain digital geospatial skills and knowledge, a culture adopted from the Ramani Huria project — a community mapping for flood resilience in Dar es salaam. OMDTZ itself is made by ‘graduates of Ramani Huria project’ who received intensive practical training during the implementation of the project, which resulted in a strong team able to lead national and international projects.

The Tanzania Resilience Academy is a legacy of the Ramani Huria project that aimed at collecting data of the most urbanized city, Dar es Salaam as the way to identify areas at risk of flooding and provide data for decision making to the existing urban challenges in Dar es Salaam. The project also aimed at providing practical skills to university students from Ardhi University (ARU) and the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) as a way of exposing them to real scenarios of urban challenges while performing their curriculum practical training. Furthermore, during data collection, the project engaged community members at the local level in order to collect accurate information from the communities that experience flooding and other urban challenges

A student digitizing tree canopy using QGIS software. Photo; OMDTZ

Resilience Academy (RA) is collaborating with the University of Turku and four (4) Tanzania universities i.e Ardhi University (ARU), University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), State University of Zanzibar (SUZA) and Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA). The project is using geospatial datasets produced from RH and TURP to producing e-learning materials for university students and experts, supporting the research to university students as well as continuing the community mapping initiatives throughout the university industrial training.

The collaboration between OMDTZ and the Resilience Academy equips young people with the tools, knowledge, and skills to address the world’s most pressing urban challenges and ensure resilient urban development. OMDTZ has participated in training over 1000 university students from five universities in Tanzania i.e University of Dar es Salaam, Ardhi University, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Saint Augustine University — Mwanza, Institute of Rural Development — Mwanza, who have gained different skills in geospatial and open mapping technologies.

Students collecting solid waste management by using Open Data Kit — a free android application for data collection. Photo, Wilfred Chomba

In 2021, OMDTZ and Resilience academy is conducting industrial training for 100 students from three universities, UDSM, ARU and SUA, in order to provide practical geospatial skills that will support their skill development and experiencing the implementation of projects which help them to transform theoretical skills to hands-on experience i.e, participating in data collection, data analysis and visualization of data.

This collaboration has so far impacted more than 1000 students through the industrial training program, and we are committed to keeping on supporting university students, graduates, and youth, in general, to gain technical skills in order to create young experts who are able to develop programs and projects that solve community challenges locally.

Resilience Academy has trained 100 university experts using the ‘training of trainers program’ and more than 150 datasets have been collected and added to the Climate Risk Database. Through the development of e-learning materials and training of experts, universities can be able to improve curriculum development i.e the use of e-learning platforms that can be used to deliver training especially this time of global pandemic — COVID-19.

Using Open Data, Open Source, and maps to solve different socio-economic challenges.