A return to Chad three months after the set up of the EUROSHA mapping team

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Jan, 31 2013
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I just landed in Ndjamena (Chad) for HOT. I am joining again the team of mappers of the EUROSHA Chad project that I helped setting up their activities in N’Djamena and Goré last fall (October/ November – see blog post) in close coordination with ACRA and France Volontaires, HOT’s partners on this project. This is an interesting time for the EUROSHA project in Chad and I'd like to share here some of the progresses we made in the last few months growing the OSM ecosystem in those two areas.

The mapping team of the EUROSHA Chad project, operating within the ACRA-UNHCR program in Goré, and together with ACRA staffs, carried out the mapping program established jointly during the set up mission of the fall. The aim of these regular training, surveying and mapping activities, is to roll out OSM as the mapping solution for the needs of ACRA and its partners from the humanitarian system (International Organizations, Local and International NGOs, Local and Central Government, Academics). Eventually, the critical mass of organizations and individuals who emerged during this first phase of the EUROSHA Chad project, will then continue these programs, and confirming over time the anchorage of the OSM project in Southern Chad from the bridgehead established in Goré. The whole city has been thoroughly mapped as well as the 3 refugee camps (Amboko, Gondje and Dosseye) and their hinterlands of villages; a specific attention has been given to ACRA's realizations in the sectors of Education and Water and Sanitation. Staffs from ACRA, CARE, UNHCR and WFP have been regularly attending trainings and field surveys. Mapping in the camps happened with representatives from the camps trained in surveying ala OSM.

In order to further support the growth of the OSM project in Southern Chad, a specific training program has been planned to target the newly created universities of Moundou, Doba, and Sarh we reached out to during the set up mission. As part of this plan, the team started lecturing on HOT/OSM with the Professors from the Department of Geography of the University of Moundou. Arrangements have been established to expand the program in Moundou and start roll it in Doba and Sarh in the next three months.

In N’Djamena, the team of volunteers and the ACRA staffs have continued their outreach to governmental and humanitarian actors, reporting about the achievements of the pilot in Goré so that opportunities around OSM can be caught in the phase 2.0 of the EUROSHA Chad project. The team participated also into GIS/Cartography events organized in N’Djamena by OCHA and INTERSOS, out of which interesting opportunities arose. Last, lots of work was put into preparing a series of regular intense HOT/OSM trainings with the Association pour le Développement de l'Informatique Libre (ADIL), a groups from the open source movement active in Chad, and with the University of N’Djamena. This last program of activities started yesterday with a first mapping party held at the Training/Learning Centre of ADIL. [inline:598881_395584340536082_1994484953_n.jpg] Like in Goré and in other countries where HOT is active, those training by doing and their associated train the trainer schemes were conducted to foster the mapping of N’Djamena neighborhood by neighborhood. It got started with the Sabangali neighborhood where both ACRA and a training centre of the ADIL are located.

In the next three weeks, we will be consolidating the work in Goré and setting up a similar program in Maro where ACRA is also active with the UNHCR around Education programs in refugee camps. We will be expanding the series of lectures around HOT and OSM in the universities of Doba, Sarh and N’Djamena while continuing the program that has already started in Moundou. Eventually, OSM will become a fundamental feature of GIS/Cartography curricula lectured in the Geography and Computer sciences in this network of Chadian universities. Last, we will continue our dialogue around the OSM activities of the EUROSHA Chad project in N’Djamena. This will culminate in the organizing of a one day event in the N’Djamena’s National Library. Eventually, this will foster the switch to OSM by some actors that will continue and expand the dynamic around OSM in Chad by harnessing on the capacities created during the 6 months of the EUROSHA Chad project.

I'd like to finish this blog post by thanking our partners, ACRA and France Volontaires in the country, and, our donor ECHO, as well as stressing out, once more time, the remarkable work carried out by the volunteers in Chad in those past months. I also wanted to introduce to you Filip and Lenka who decided to join the Chad team after their evacuation from CAR where they had been working as part of the EUROSHA project.

Exciting but challenging times as one can tell for the EUROSHA Chad project, anyone interested and willing to get involved is off course most welcome. Keep up to date with the progresses of the project on the ground on Twitter hotosm and Facebook hotosm and coordinate with the team on the Chad OSM wiki.

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