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News — 12 October, 2021

Launching: She Leads and She Inspires - Women in Leadership Program

The Open Mapping - Asia Pacific Hub is launching “She Leads & She Inspires,” a program that will engage 100 women between December 2021 and June 2022. The goal of the program is to support women interested in open mapping to grow as leaders within their communities. This includes an opportunity to initiate and lead a humanitarian / development project, use GIS and technical mapping skills, learn digital leadership skills, and more. (The full curriculum will be released in November 2021).


To better understand the needs of women already in (or hoping to step into) positions of leadership in the OSM ecosystem and beyond, the Hub conducted several workshops and focus groups to gather insights that will inform the format, content, and resources available for participants in the program.

In total, 26 of the participants were involved in the community consultation process; 20 of which were women and 6 of which were men; 13 of which were from the OSM ecosystem; and 16 of which were from the Asia Pacific region.

The topics discussed included:

  • Characteristics of women leaders
  • Opportunities for growth beyond program engagement
  • Defining successful women leadership and how that success can be achieved
  • Experiences of good and bad leadership programs
  • Idea collection for curriculum development
  • Innovation in online participation


Certain keywords came up repeatedly in the conversations:

  1. Inspire – 14 (inspiring others to action, inspiring other women inspiring each other, inspiring and motivating)
  2. Community – 14 (community-centered, lifting communities, creating community, immersing in the community)
  3. Network – 7 (well-networked, building relationships and networks, OSM networks, networking/peer learning amongst women)
  4. Communicator – 9 (public speaking, listening, responding)
  5. Supportive – 6 (supports community, supports others)
  6. Solution – 5 (solution-oriented, problem solving, OSM-based solutions)

Participants agreed on a number of points:

  • Community building should be at the forefront of activities
  • Where possible, women in leadership positions in the OSM ecosystem and beyond were preferred as program mentors, speakers, and trainers
  • All activities, including training, group assignments, and mentor sessions, should be highly engaging and interactive and should encourage relationship building between participants where possible
  • Resources should be open source, accessible, and stored in one location
  • Assignments/engagements that involve group activities (such as mentoring and group mapping project) should involve no more than 5-6 participants to encourage peer-to-peer learning and strong relationship building
  • Leadership skills and hard skills (GIS, remote sensing, etc) should be equally addressed in the program

Informed program development

Based on the workshop findings, we have developed the following structure for the program:

  • Before the program kick-off, participants will complete a questionnaire so that the coordinators can better understand the needs of the participants (eg. the level of expertise of technical GIS skills) to ensure we are providing the training needed/desired by participants
  • 2-3 day intensive workshop
    • Icebreakers; opportunity to meet each other virtually and begin network building
    • Introduction to GIS
  • Communication skills
    • Program etiquette and how participants can support each other during the program
  • Skills in problem identification
  • Proceeding 6 months
    • Monthly “topics” that include group assignments (each month, new group to enhance network building)
    • One humanitarian/development project (6-month project duration; opportunity for funding?)
    • Group mentoring with a group of between 5-6 participants
    • Embedded opportunity to apply skills learned during the program

Get involved

To apply to the program, find more information here. We are also looking for women leaders who would like to speak, engage or mentor in the program. Could you or someone you know be a good fit? Register your interest by signing up here.