We are currently in Tana River supporting the work of Kenya Land Alliance (KLA) and their partners Namati and Oxfam in using mapping and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tools in their efforts to help communities protect their customary and indigenous land.
We are building on the work that these organizations have already completed in Tana River, namely, laying the ground work, capacity building, boundary harmonization between communities, and sketch mapping.
Concern, as put forth by Namati and partners, is that sketch mapping, as conducted in the past exercises, does not create sufficiently strong evidence for use in negotiations and legal proceedings by the government officials dealing with land-rights. One of the important lessons learnt by Namati in their previous projects was that a low-cost, yet more accurate solution, to capturing geographic data is required. The mapping should be accurate enough to satisfy legal requirements as posed by individual countries.
We were hired to do just that: develop a scalable and replicable community mapping model for capturing community land. We started our training by conducting a three day workshop in Malindi where we covered topics such as:
- What is community land and how can we use mapping tools to capture it?
- How to plan a mapping project?
- Practical exercises in GPS data collection and basic GIS training.
- How to turn a sketch map into a geo-referenced map?
- Basic data management.
After the training we left for Tana River where we conducted hands on field work. This is the first post describing the training and subsequent mapping of community land in Tana River written during field work. More will follow.