Pic: Group picture where everyone is showing 10 fingers i.e they learned 10 different things
We invited 19 energetic girls from Udhesya: Girls in STEM program organized by Anuvuti International in collaboration with UNESCO to Kathmandu Living Labs this afternoon. This program aims to help girls learn and motivate to pursue their career in STEM related education and career. As part of their five-day long program, they came to Kathmandu Living Labs to learn about our experiences in working with rural/alternate technologies . In this visit we tried to help them understand how maps can improve their way of living. Our main goal for this event was not make the girls mappers, or try and convince them to pursue mapping in the future, but to make them aware about the existence of maps and how it can help them in their day to day lives.
The program was comprised of a range of sessions. In the beginning, they started with creating a paper map to show the way to get to their school from home. The participants creativity could be clearly seen in the map they made. It was interesting to see how they made efforts in making these maps more understandable to their friends, be it through writing the time it takes for them to reach schools, or through the way they creatively enriched the map with details around nearby landmarks such as forests, ponds and the like.
Pic: Paper maps made by the girls to show way from their house to school
Pic: Participants were asked to introduce their friend by looking at the map they made
After this KLL team member Arogya Koirala gave the girls a brief introduction to how maps are made digitally. He started with talking and asking the girls about satellites, and slowly progressed to the photos they take from far away, and how they can be used to trace maps digitally. Finally he touched upon how these maps can be used not only for navigation, but also as a means of storing and conveying information to people who seek it, and how it helped in disaster situations such as the Nepal earthquake.
A energizer game after the girls listening and sitting for a while was what they really needed. Ritika Singh, our in-house energizer expert, made girls play a quick team based number game focusing on improving communication and motor-skills. This game was not only successful in its primary goal of energizing, and opening up the girls for the coming sessions, but also gave them knowledge of how communication plays a great role in everyday life.
Pic: Girls playing numbers game
After getting all pumped up we started our next session. The girls were amazed when Paras told them they can see their hometown in maps. He asked who wants to see their hometown first and one of girls replied instantly “ I want to see my hometown, Dang” . The participants saw their hometown / district in OpenStreetMap and realized many of the places where they have come from is not mapped properly. In contrast, they were shown the current detail mapped Kathmandu, its features mapped, symbols used to identify these features. The main reason behind this was to show them there’s still a lot of mapping work yet be done. Collective mapping effort can make their hometown also detailed map.
Apart from listening and seeing the use of map for navigation, disaster – earthquake. They also saw a video clip of Engaging Local Citizens to Map Food Security Data in OpenStreetMap. Showing this video clip motive was to let them know how their parents can also be benefited through use of OpenStreetMap as, the girls are from remote places and most of their parents rely on agriculture and cattle farming.
We had feedback sessions and their feedback about the event made us feel we were somehow successful at what we were trying to make them understand. They have said that they will share what they have learned among their friends and family once they return home. We ended this program on a note to help them in every possible way we can if they wish to continue working in map or learn anything from KLL in the coming days. We would like to admire Udeshya: Girls in STEM, UNESCO and Anuvuti International all the people behind this program for doing such a great job by bringing girls from different parts of the country such as Sindhupalchok, Janakpur, Dang, Lalitpur, Dhanusha.