Zimbabwe federation builds alliances through community-based information

29 September 2010

Harare GIS course

Pictured above: Kenneth Gwatura from the Epworth chapter of the Zimbabwe Youth Federation displays his certificate after the GIS course.

By George Masimba, Dialogue on Shelter

In line with the new emphasis on integrating mapping aspects into Federation surveys, the Zimbabwean alliance (uMfelandawonye and Dialogue on Shelter) organised a one-week course on GIS in collaboration with the Department of Surveying and Geo-informatics at the University of Zimbabwe. A total of eleven participants participated in the course. They were drawn from:

1. Dialogue on Shelter — 2 people

2. Zimbabwe Homeless People’s Federation — 4 people

3. Epworth Local Board — 2 people

4. Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities – 2 people

5. Department of Surveying and Geo-informatics (University of Zimbabwe student) – 1 person

The participation of players from central and local government was consistent with the current trend of engaging as many stakeholders as possible. Moreover, the National Ministry and Epworth Local Board were involved in the recent enumeration exercise for Epworth’s Ward 7. The training used data gathered during the enumeration for the practical sessions aimed at introducing the participants to geographic information systems with a particular emphasis on the software that is used manipulate and manage spatial data.

In this respect, the course concentrated in helping the participants to familiarise with ArcGIS, software that is used to represent and analyse spatial data. The participants were taken through the steps of extracting spatial elements such as roads, plots and structures as well as checking out and rectifying errors using the software. The following areas were covered during the training: (1) Introduction to GIS, (2) Introduction to ArcCatalog, (3) Introduction to ArcMap, (4) Geographic Phenomena, (5) Vector Representation, (6) Data Entry and Editing, (7) Topology.

After this first GIS training, the plan is to revisit the Ward 7 spatial data so that some of the errors relating to the Epworth enumeration that were noted during the training can be rectified. This process should be done jointly with both the Ministry and Epworth Local Board. After this verification exercise, the next step should be to formally present the findings from Ward 7. It is envisaged that the socio-economic and spatial data from the enumeration will then eventually feed into the regularisation programme for Ward 7. This work can then be replicated in the other wards that are yet to be formalised.