We reinvigorated our Innovation & Learning webinars on July 9 with Primož Kovačič, Co-Founder & Partner of Spatial Collective, a Nairobi-based social enterprise that uses Geographic Information Systems for community development. Through the use of ICTs, Spatial Collective allows communities to organize and coordinate the provisioning of public goods in ungoverned spaces. Their data collection and visualization tools have been applied in various technology, governance, and community development projects, enabling companies, organizations, and communities to understand available resources, current and future needs, trends and solutions.
One of Spatial Collective’s current projects concerns waste management in Mathare, a collection of slums in Nairobi with a population of approximately 500,000 people. This project examines informal waste management activities, community-led hazard mitigation practices, and how the main actors in waste management interact with each other. The project was based on a household survey conducted in November 2013 exploring information systems in Mathare, testing the assumption that ICTs could play a constructive role in raising awareness and facilitating waste management in Mathare.
What’s clear is that Spatial Collective isn’t just another technology or mapping company; community engagement, community development, and community mobilization are a priority for them. What struck me most during Primož presentation was Spatial Collective’s emphasis on listening to community voices, not relying on assumptions about information or technology use, identifying solutions from the community, and building the capacity of communities themselves to take action.