Over 50 rural development practitioners from all over the world and a multitude of organization gathered at IFAD this morning for the learning event on participatory mapping.
The event was jointly organized by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), International Land Coalition (ILC) and Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA).
We kicked off the morning session with a presentation by Giacomo Rambaldi who gave an overview of the opportunities and challenges of participatory mapping. In his presentation Giacomo pointed out that:
- participatory mapping is based on spatial local knowledge
- participatory mapping is good for awareness building, cross generational transfer of knowledge + good governance
- spatial knowledge cannot be captured by satellite
- recently smart phones are used to support participatory mapping
- importance of understanding who is in control of the process? who has visual access? what's left with those who supported the mapping?
Giacomo informed the participants that shortly IFAD and CTA will be releasing the "Training kit on participatory spatial information management and communication".
We then watched an inspiring video entitled " mapping our culture, mapping our future". The video showed how communities use participatory mapping to have their voices heard. It was a great example of cross culture and cross continent knowledge sharing. We watch African communities exchanging their experience with their Latin American brothers and sisters. It was an inspiration piece of exchange between different cultures and ethnicities.
For me, the take home messages from video were:
- that fact that the final step of participatory mapping is to look into the future
- participatory mapping gives indigenous groups sense of community and ownership of the future
- participatory mapping empowers local communities to negotiate at peer 2 peer level and gives the voiceless a voice
As I am writing this blogpost, the participants are busy doing a map. I must say, there is a certain buzz in the room. Great conversation, laughter, but also at times some tension. The group is realizing the challenges of engaging in participatory mapping and at the same time are seeing the value of this tool.