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News — 23 September, 2021

Announcing Booster Grants for Communities and Organizations in the Asia-Pacific

The Open Mapping Hub - Asia Pacific is excited to announce the “Booster Grants” to meet the hub's vision to “create a sustainable OSM ecosystem in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Booster Grants, as their name suggests, are intended to boost the ongoing mapping and community-building activities of OSM groups in the Asia-Pacific region. With Booster Grants, the hub aims to support local communities that are already carrying out significant mapping and community-building work.

These grants will support the Open Mapping Hub - Asia Pacific’s aspirations as follows:

  1. Government, humanitarian and development agencies commonly use OSM data in their planning and decision-making.
  2. Underrepresented communities actively participate in the OSM movement.
  3. OSM data is the most preferred choice in entrepreneurial and economic activities.
  4. OSM is used as the most popular map service among citizens.

Purpose of the Booster Grant

Many local OSM communities across the Asia-Pacific are actively involved in mapping and community engagement work. Through the last decade, communities have contributed significantly to introduce and advance mapping in their homes. For instance: Mapping of an indigenous group: Chepang Basti in Nepal, Unmapped Tarlac in Philippines, and the mapping of flood-affected areas in Bangladesh etc.

In recognition of these exemplary efforts, the Booster Grant will serve as a supplement to existing resources in order to increase mapping activities and foster more community engagement. Additionally, the Booster Grant also aims to ensure local communities have the opportunity to set their priorities and hold ownership of their activities by encouraging autonomous and collaborative decision-making.

What communities will receive it & how will they use it?

The first rounds of Booster Grant will be awarded to OSM communities from three priority countries: Nepal, Bangladesh, and the Philippines. These communities have demonstrated continuous dedication to strengthening the OSM movement in their countries, and have numerous active mapping projects. In the National Dialogues held in June-September 2021, these three OSM communities went through discussions to decide on their priorities and activities to strengthen the OSM movement in their respective countries. The hub will now provide the Booster Grant to these three communities to support the priorities and activities decided on the National Dialogues.

However, we anticipate supporting and providing Booster Grants to more OSM communities throughout the next year. Since the Booster Grant is a new idea, the structure and criteria for the Booster Grants will continue to evolve and we will update the communities as we make any progress.

How does it work?

Hub’s Booster Grants model requires the OSM community to identify a legally registered local institution to administer the fund. The institution can then charge up to 10% of the fund to cover its administrative cost, whereas 90% of the fund goes to the community for mapping and community building activities in a transparent manner

Currently, the OSM Nepal community has chosen Kathmandu Living Labs, Bangladesh has chosen Bangladesh Open Innovation Lab (BOIL), and Philippines has chosen SmartCT.

Additionally, the Hub also encourages the local OSM community to form a small facilitating team consisting of three to seven members of the community to coordinate with the community, the institution administering the fund, and the hub. Through the National Dialogue session, OSM Bangladesh community has identified seven members to serve as the facilitating committee, whereas OSM Nepal and Philippines are currently having internal dialogues to form the facilitating committee.

Role of the facilitating team

The core idea behind the facilitating team is to ensure that the local community holds ownership of their activities. In order to depart from the traditional funding mechanism used by contemporary humanitarian aid agencies where the funders set the criteria and priorities, the hub considers it critical to have a diverse and knowledgeable group of people serve as a coordinating committee that will ensure the people within the community work together towards a common impactful goal. Since funders can often be detached from the ground realities, it is important to us that communities who work on the ground hold the power to decide how the funds should be allocated for the utmost impact. Therefore, with this understanding, the facilitating team will contribute to the following responsibilities:

  • Identify priorities in consultation with communities and create a mechanism to define selection for community projects
  • Transparently coordinate with local OSM community about updates in activities and funding
  • Coordinate with legal organization in administering the release of funding for the community
  • Ensure that the money is spent in the most beneficial and transparent way for the community
  • Develop ideas to use the Booster Grant as a seed to elevate OSM movement in their respective countries

If any communities are interested in learning more about the Booster Grants, or believe you are ready for the grant, please reach out to us at