Map Link enabled students from the Lycee Djignabo High School in Ziguinchor, Senegal to share and exchange perceptions about their local environment with students from Fortismere school in London, UK.
By supporting students to create online maps of their own local area, partners across the world can share their own perspectives and stories about their communities. The goal of the pilot was to develop a creative and practical model for students in the UK and Africa to communicate and collaborate through mapping.
Mapping for Change conducted a series of meetings and workshops for teachers and students at Lycee Djignabo High School in Ziguinchor. In total 17 students and 4 teachers were trained.
The final workshop taught students and teachers how to use the MfC Community Maps website to create their own school map, add information and photographs to this map, and manage their own data.
Each partner school owns their map on the MfC Community Maps website. Students can add their own information to their local map, highlighting things they want to share with their partner students.
Text and photographs add further context and help to give partner students across the world a more intimate understanding of the area. Students in the UK can visit the Senegalese website (and vice versa) to learn about their partner community from the perspective of students there.
In addition to simply visiting one another’s websites, students in one school can post questions directly to their partners’ map. In this sense, the map provides a means of dialogue between the schools.
The pilot programme was very successful. Students in Ziguinchor were excited by the prospect of creating their own maps and quickly learned the technical skills necessary to manage and edit their online map. Since the programme students have continued adding information and photographs to their map.
After seeing the Ziguinchor School map, students at Fortismere school in London were inspired to get their own map up and running! Mapping ambassadors were identified and trained to lead the mapping, and a Community Map was created. The maps have successfully sparked a joint interest, and students in both schools are eager to use the maps to learn more about their partners and share information about themselves.
This pilot offered the unique opportunity to trial a methodology in both the UK and Africa, and overcome barriers to a truly successful linking programme.