Tech StartUp Identifies Mali’s Environmental Problems And Helps Solve Them Through Civic Participation
Data is everything everywhere. I used to wonder what the fuss is all about. Why companies such as Facebook and Google became powerhouses because of their numbers and of course, the data. Now it makes sense. Map Action has made it crystal clear for me. It is always an incredible feat when an enterprise joins forces with government authorities and facilitates change. If you read Getting Beyond Better (which I recommended to you in this previous article), you would understand just how difficult it is for government bodies and social entrepreneurs to find common ground.
If you are providing a solution to a systemic problem that has become the norm, there are bound to be parties that take offense. Parties that believe that the social enterprise is out to expose their inabilities and label them as incompetent. Yet in the mind of a good social entrepreneur, a concerted effort is a key component in successfully solving any problem affecting a community. Boubacar Yussouf Keita has created a way to foster that concerted effort through Map Action, a technological tool that brings together interactive mapping, geo-location through a mobile application that collects, analyzes and transmits data for better environmental management and other areas of application.
Sub-Saharan Africa suffers from some serious environmental problems, including climate change, water pollution, coal mining, nuclear waste, deforestation, overfishing, and industrial agriculture.Greenpeace
It has become increasingly important for people to come together and try to solve these problems. Through Map Action, anyone can report an environmental anomaly and provide evidence of it. The data is then transmitted to the relevant authority who will work on solving the problem. Map Action works with the Government, Municipalities, and NGOs in Mali and their main role is to monitor, analyze data and measure the impact and severity of the environmental problem. For instance, anything related to the River Niger is shared with ABFN, a government agency that is involved in the protection of River Niger.
The resolution rate for the problems sent through to some stakeholders has been quite dismal. Boubacar pegs it to be below 30% and the main reason is the lack of accountability and urgency from the municipalities who at times have no financial muscle to solve the problems. To address this, Map Action has added a feature that will enable members of the community to rally behind each other and take action by themselves. Through the feature, one can volunteer to assist in solving a problem. Companies and organizations can also pitch in with resources to assist the community members.
Map Action is taking strides and has been chosen by the European Union for a pilot phase to help develop the Smart City of Bamako. They recently ended a six-month-long Acceleration Program with Airbus which has led to a partnership that will enable Map Action to develop Artificial Intelligence to assist in their endeavors. The use of satellite imagery will help increase the enterprise’s scope as well as provide reliable and up to date information for a larger area.
We are looking forward to the success of this enterprise, just like Boubacar’s other social impact business, Aikio Corp, which I profiled here not so long ago.
Listen to Boubacar’s full interview in our latest Podcast Episode