Why are donors so reluctant to fund protracted, slow onset, urban crises?
By Becky Murphy (Resilience Capacity Building Officer and Lead Researcher at Christian Aid and Kings College London University)
Becky is currently travelling to 8 humanitarian intervention sites to capture if and how emergency response can integrate resilience building.
“The further we let them fall, the heavier they are to pick up” (Field Staff).
“We need to educate the donor” (Field Staff).
Cash transfers work.
Cash transfers effectively empower vulnerable households struggling with the negative impacts of protracted, slow onset crises. They give the people a lift to tackle underlying vulnerabilities. At least this is what a recent Linking Preparedness Resilience and Response (LPRR) case study in Korogocho has highlighted.
Field science and exploration were the main motivators for Kate to study Geography. Kate Baker holds a BSc in Geography from University College London and an MSc in Aquatic Resource Management from King’s College London, one of King’s Water’s four … Continue reading →
On Monday 21st March 2016, Faith Taylor and I managed to organize a MissingMaps mapathon here at KCL.
What follows is not a mere report of the event (it’s been great fun, just look at the pictures!), but rather an attempt to cover certain aspects of a mapathon which usually might be overlooked, and that I instead consider to be of interest for an academic audience.
Let’s start first with an obligatory (short) background on the Missing Maps initiative.
Each year, disasters around the world kill nearly 100,000 and affect or displace 200 million people. Many of the places where these disasters occur are literally ‘missing’ from any map and first responders lack the information to make valuable decisions regarding relief efforts.
Missing Maps is an open, collaborative project in which you can help to map areas where humanitarian organizations are trying to meet the needs of vulnerable people.
Masterfully summed up with a one-liner, their aim is thus to:
Put the World’s Vulnerable People on the Map
Hence MissingMaps (from now simply referred to as MM) acts as a catalyst to solicit new contributions on OpenStreetMap (OSM) in areas that otherwise would tend to be:
As part of the DfID-ESRC funded Urban Africa Risk Knowledge Project (Urban ARK), focused on breaking the cycles of risk accumulation in sub-Saharan Africa, Faith’s research requires better understanding of what structures might be impacted by hazards such as earthquakes and floods, and how people and goods move about during a disaster. This clearly relates to improving also our understanding of the built infrastructure in a hazard-prone city.
Karonga, a small town in Northern Malawi part of the Urban ARK initiative, only a couple of weeks ago wouldn’t have met such requirements due to a complete unavailability of data.
But given the open nature of OpenStreetMap, which is freely editable by anybody, the mapathon has proven to be a powerful way to improve the basemap of Karonga. Helping plenty of other NGOs and working in the area on topics such as development, sanitation and health, in addition to contributing to Faith’s work.
This leads us to the second point of this post: the additional benefit of hosting a mapathon isn’t just limited to an evening of fun (for those of you who possess a penchant for maps). But it’s a rather excellent moment for stepping outside the traditional boundaries of academia and connect with a wide breadth of professionals.
Checking the guest list we realized in fact that only a portion of all the guests actually were part of KCL, with a good amount of external attendees coming from all walks of life: NGO and humanitarian crisis mappers, GIS technicians specialized in Natural Hazards, Red Cross UK members etc..
During the evening we had a few hours at our disposal to get to know new people. And not only while mapping or during the break over a slice of pizza! Network building and socializing was actively encouraged, as throughout the whole event a whole range of spontaneous talks ignited discussions and interesting topics were shared among the mappers.
Andrew Braye, GIS team lead with the British Red Cross, provided a list of “GIS-sy tips”, events and people from the geospatial community worth to look at:
out skel qt;
The query calls the Overpass API asking for all the polylines tagged with a key property equal to “way” regardless of the value of such property (Remember that all OSM features are “classified” on the basis of a key-value tagging system!). This means that I’m retrieving all buildings regardless of their use/typology (i.e. schools, churches, residences..). I’ve also specified a Bounding Box and a starting+ending date to temporally delimit the search.
I’ve then used Mapbox GL JS to create two layers, in order to render the before/after state.
If you want to know more, I’ve created a repo on my Github account where you can download the code and play with the map.
The aim of this post was to account for the KCL Geography for Missing Maps event not just by giving a narrative of a Mapathon night (you should come and experience it yourself! Monthly events are scheduled in London and over the world) but rather to shortly explain its value and potential for an academic crowd.
So remember, a Mapathon is:
quick and easy to organize
a powerful catalyzer of interest toward a topic and an area, that might help gather data for your research
an effective way to connect with other communities and professionals outside of the Academia
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