Map Your World
Map Your World is a multi-platform project that puts the power of new technologies into the hands of young change agents, enabling them to map, track, and improve the health of their own communities – and then share their stories of change with each other and with the world.
Developed at the BAVC Producer's Institute for New Technologies, Map Your World was inspired by the feature documentary The Revolutionary Optimists, which follows “The Daredevils,” a group of youth in one of Kolkata’s most notorious squatter’s colonies, who have made a dramatic improvement in the health of their community, a place that cannot even be found on the map. The Daredevils undertook to make their own map of their colony, and have been painstakingly tracking and collecting data around health issues that impact them – water, sanitation, and infectious diseases. In ten years, they have made dramatic improvement in their area: they’ve turned a trash dump into a soccer field, lobbied for electricity and clean drinking water, and decreased diarrhea and malaria rates in their neighborhood, and doubled polio immunization rates.
Map Your World adds technology to this equation, and allows it to be replicated around the world. Using cell phones, youth can create customized surveys about public health issues or community issues of concern to them, and upload data at the moment of collection into a database that is linked to a digital online community map. The project leverages existing, proven technology, integrating Google maps, GPS, Android phones, and an open source tool developed by the Modi Lab called Formhub. The database system is modeled after ChildCount+, a program of the Millennium Villages project. We are partnering with Matt Berg of ChildCount+ for the development and implementation of this project.
The possibilities are endless and exciting: using Map Your World, the youth can accurately track each child born in their colony, and record bi-weekly updates about vaccination statistics by uploading surveys and photographs from their cell phone directly to a database. Map Your World automatically links this data to a map, hand drawn by the children, that is overlaid to actual GPS coordinates. The “live” online map will show them which children need polio vaccination each month, and where those children live, so they can target their outreach campaigns and make sure those children get to the polio booth. Doing this by hand, the children have brought polio vaccination rates from 40-80% - with Map Your World, we believe they have the power to bring it to 100%! And Map Your World allows them to easily print out evidence of the impact they have made.
We are currently building the Map Your World technology and website which will launch later this Spring. Already, we have developed partnerships with youth organizations and schools in Kolkata and across the United States who are piloting the prototype. With Map Your World, the youth’s data not only provides actionable information that can be used for policy change, but also tells the story of change. From children in Tanzania mapping malaria bed-net usage to children in Oakland mapping fresh food availability, gang violence, or bathrooms that aren’t being cleaned in public schools, youth everywhere map their concerns and share their stories on an interactive website, showing that young people truly can be the change agents in their communities.