The OpenStreetMap community, a community of communities, is made up of many mappers and other contributors spread out across local communities around the world. The Open Mapping Community Working Group Mentorship Program can help to close skill gaps in capability between communities.
The OpenStreetMap community, a community of communities, is made up of many mappers and other contributors spread out across local communities around the world.
However, there are huge disparities between these communities in terms of their skills, experience, and level of leadership, as well as whether or not they are known to international NGOs like HOT. The Open Mapping Community Working Group (CWG) Mentorship Program can help to close these gaps in capability between communities.
Some good ideas developed by communities have not been successful because community members don’t have the right experience, but there are other communities with members who have the right experience to see it through. Mentorship between communities offers the chance for this experience to be shared with other communities that will find it invaluable for their goals. Due to lack of long-term motivation and organization, and even lack of understanding of the concept of volunteering, many join the communities that slowly disintegrate over time. New members joining aren’t enough in number or active enough to sustain the community and it gradually loses members.
To maintain momentum and increase collaboration, we can connect communities and re-energize groups by recruiting younger members and empowering them or by giving them the opportunity to engage directly with community leaders.
As part of the Mentorship Program, we can from time to time invite the leaders of these groups to participate in CWG meetings. Given the existence of diversity in experience, CWG attendees can learn all sorts of things from each other.
The goal of the Mentorship Program is to create a mutual exchange of skills between communities.
For the local communities we identify as strong candidates to receive mentorship, we will:
- Identify appropriate training for each group,
- Direct or assign Tasking Manager projects according to group capacity; and if a project is being carried out by a community that does not have sufficient expertise on mapping needs of the project, support will be sought from those who do.
Connecting communities this way will help cultivate a global understanding between communities while promoting the creation of new and support of existing communities.
In its role in the Mentorship Program, HOT and the CWG will
- Facilitate the planning of activities, such as webinars, workshops, and mapathons
- Prioritize the activities to be carried out based on common difficulties faced across local communities as they are known. The intent is to avoid trial and error on the subject of the activities by pre-emptively tailoring them to known community needs.
- In the mentoring or internship program, at least one member of the identified communities will be trained and will be responsible for transmitting this knowledge to other members of the community.
We hope the outcome will be a mechanism for empowering local OpenStreetMap contributors will be put in place and the development of a community network that will reinvigorate groups that have lost their momentum.
It is always encouraging to hold community activities (mapathons, workshops, etc.) in the local language, allowing members a clearer understanding.Imagine the impact of a tutorial prepared and presented in the local language!
Tsongo Muluba Bienvenue is a OSM DRC local community team leader and a HOT voting member.