Thank you again for your question and please allow me to first wish you and your team and family a Happy and prosperous New Year!
As you have already noted, we have invested several years into training communities in dozens of slums across Nairobi, Kenya, and several other countries, on methods of acquiring and using community data for advocacy. Each of the projects, however, focused on different aspects of, or the need for, community data, depending on the aim of the project. While many of our projects do touch on resilience to climate change in slums to a certain extent, they were never implemented to address the issue head-on. In our work we have seen the need for having such data available, and perhaps even more importantly, the need to have it collected, used and organized in a responsible manner.
The Amplify support, if awarded, would first and foremost provide us with the opportunity to refine and consolidate our data collection and advocacy model for this specific issue. Specifically, it would allow us to: first, conduct research into data needs to address resilience and monitor the effects of climate change in slums in general; second, look into current organizational capacities of the city and community to address effects of climate change in slums; third, help us design and implement a model to gather and analyse community data on resilience and climate change in slums; fourth, help us define best options for achieving sustainability of this and similar projects; and last but not least, provide us with the opportunity to design advocacy strategies for the cause and wide dissemination of data and findings.
While the spatial scope of our project is narrowly defined (Mathare slum), the findings will have far-reaching consequences.
Our overall aim is to refine our model to better suit resilience to climate change angle, test the model, extensively document it, and finally, scale it up across the city/country/continent. Our goal is to create – together with our partners – the “go-to platform” for collecting, using and accessing community data on resilience and climate change in slums.
I hope I answered your question. I’m happy to answer further questions and in more detail if necessary.
Regarding the first question: “Do you expect that community members will become data experts as part of this idea? How do you envision that happening?”
We have been developing our training methodology for several years and have already implemented it in a variety of settings and problem areas with great success. Out methods are based on transferring knowledge from experts (both in-house and outside) to community members and on learning-by-doing. To achieve the maximum learning impact, we address issues which are beyond just data collection and management. Our training methods include: support in community organizing to recognize the most pressing issues and needs within communities of interest; reconnaissance of resources and of the technology environment; project design and project planning; resource assessment and resource allocation; budget development; technology training: using GPS units, satellite imagery and mobile phones for data collection, using GIS and data management software for output creation (designing maps, charts and reports); and last but not least, data advocacy workshops.
In the past several years, we have trained more than a hundred people, often youths, and we have implemented dozens of community data projects throughout Nairobi’s informal settlements, Kenya’s rural areas, and other projects across several African countries.
Our methods are very effective. Many of the trainees have since successfully used the acquired knowledge in advocacy efforts of their own organizations; some are now running large government programs on data and governance in at least two African countries; some are employed by non-governmental organizations to continue data collection/advocacy work within their organizations.
Concerning the second question: “What information have you collected about what the community finds desirable? How has this been incorporated into your idea?”
Slums are relatively invisible to the outside world. They are often missing from geographic and statistical representation of countries and very little information is available on the quality and quantity of public institutions and amenities, public services, or on the population itself living in the slums. Throughout the years working in slums we found that people desire one thing in particular: having the ability to adequately address the most pressing needs within their communities and then having the ability to use that information to determine and implement the most appropriate development of their own communities. Our methods are based on supporting community’s initiatives first and foremost. This theme is present throughout our proposal.