Community mapping is a vibrantly visual way of telling a community’s story. It highlights the rich array of community activities and makes them visible and accessible to people. This website is an initiative that assisted four Community Work Programme (CWP) sites to pilot the geographical mapping of all the projects that they manage and care for as part of their work.
It was funded by the Employment Promotion Programme (EPP), which is funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID-SA). The pilot project was endorsed by the Department for Co-operative Governance, and was undertaken by the TIPS GIS Mapping Programme Team.
What is the CWP Community Mapping Programme?
The CWP is a government programme housed in the Department of Corporate Governance. See http://www.cogta.gov.za/cwp. The programme provides public employment at community level, and is designed to create new opportunities for community participation in development. One of the techniques used when a new site is set up is the development of a community map. This initial community mapping is a participatory needs analysis. It is used to help identify ‘useful work’ that the local CWP will undertake.
GIS mapping enhances this process by providing spatial information, in turn linked to photographs and relevant data. TIPS has designed an innovative process that uses visual digital mapping techniques to show the assets and services created at a CWP site. This is linked to the CWP’s outputs reports in a way that can show the details of specific work activities as well as aggregate the different types of work performed.
This process facilitates discussion, data gathering, and helps to track the changes brought about by the CWP at a local level, such as to the environment and to community conditions. Communities are empowered to create and use the information to assist with planning, to inform decisions on work, and to tell the story of their site. The mapping process also contributes to transparency about what CWP is doing and where and how it is contributing to a community. It is a powerful new tool to assist with participatory planning, as well as enabling a participatory approach to monitoring and evaluation.
Two young participants from each of the four CWP pilot sites were trained on the GIS mapping process to map key development information – providing an opportunity for more skilled work within CWP. Over the longer term, there will be a need for a cadre of CWP ‘mappers’ to ensure on-going data capture, as part of their work in CWP. Already, some of those trained intend to use their newly acquired skills and techniques to go further with geographic data management as a career.