Antwerp, Belgium

Utilizing Crowdsourced Mapping to Enhance Food Security Among Lower OMO Agro-Pastoralists in Ethiopia

Binyam Dele

In the Lower Omo Valley in Ethiopia, a food security crisis is unfolding. According to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET), the situation in the area has passed ‘stressed’ to reach the ‘crisis’ stage. Against this background, we have been supporting a few affected agro-pastoralists
communities in mapping the facilities and the natural resources, as part of an effort to better manage these resources and provide evidence to assess the scale of the disaster. The results from a pilot project (2021) demonstrate that the data generated by those affected is more accurate, complete, and locally relevant than authoritative maps or global machine-generated maps.

The Crowdmapping For Food Security in OMO Zone of Ethiopia Project aimed to support agro-pastoralist communities in mapping the natural resources and facilities they have access to and monitoring the state of such resources. The project further integrates the land user-generated data (in full or partially, depending on the communities’ decision) into OpenStreetMap.

The project also brought multiple groups together with distinct capabilities and knowledge, including OSM Ethiopia, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, YouthMappers, and the University College of London, who have come together to create the project's success. The project has already had a significant impact on the lives of those impacted by the food security crisis, improving circumstances and offering much-needed support. Furthermore, engaging and empowering youth to contribute to good change in their communities is a major goal of the project. This collaborative, multi-stakeholder approach has made it possible to achieve these goals.