Tuesday, May 23, 2023

‘We are our land’— Ogiek of Mount Elgon, Kenya: securing community tenure as the key enabling condition for sustaining community lands

Published in Oryx – the international journal of conservation – this open access article also highlights how this community control is under constant threat until and unless national law and practice recognizes the collective tenure rights of such communities.

"We outline how securing the community tenure rights of forest peoples can create a rapid, rights-based route to the effective and sustainable conservation of their forests. We draw on the different skillsets and experiences of the authors (long-term fieldwork, mapping and monitoring, and a lifetime of experience) to identify the conditions that enable the Ogiek of Chepkitale, Mount Elgon, Kenya, to sustain and be sustained by their lands. 

We also identify the conditions that drive the disruption of this sustainable relationship through an appropriation of Ogiek resources by external interests that threaten to degrade, alienate and destroy their ecosystem. It is increasingly recognized that securing sustainable conservation outcomes can be best achieved through the deep knowledge, connection and commitment that ancestral communities have regarding their lands. 

Evidence from Mount Elgon and more broadly shows that Indigenous Peoples are better guardians of their forests than international or state protection agencies. This challenges the idea that evicting forest peoples is the best way to protect forests. Other studies, including those conducted by the Kenyan governmental Taskforce on Illegal Logging, highlight the way Kenyan state agencies such as the Kenya Forest Service have been responsible for the severe depletion of Indigenous forests. 

We examine how de facto collective community control can enable decisions to be made in line with taking care of community lands over the long term, but also highlight how this ability is under constant threat until and unless national law and practice recognizes the collective tenure rights of such communities."

Friday, May 19, 2023


Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Evaluating Participatory Mapping Software

Evaluating Participatory Mapping provides a framework for evaluating geospatial software for participatory mapping. The evaluation is based on ten key indicators: ethics, cost, technical level, inclusiveness, data accuracy, data privacy, analytical capacity, visualization capacity, openness, and accessibility (i.e., mobile friendly or offline capabilities). 

Each application is evaluated by a user and cross analyzed with specific case studies of the software’s real-world application. This framework does not discriminate against assessing volunteered geographic information (VGI) applications, as a form of participatory mapping, in circumstances that its application is spearheaded by underrepresented groups with the intent to empower and spark political or behavioral change within formal and informal institutions. 

Each chapter follows a strict template to ensure that the information within the volume can be updated periodically to match the ever-changing technological environment. 

The book covers ten different mapping applications with the goal of creating a comparative evaluation framework that can be easily interpreted by convening institutions and novice users. 

This will also help identify gaps in software for participatory mapping which will help to inform application development in the future and updates to current geospatial software.