Open Data Supports the Urban Upgrading Project in its Efforts to Prevent Violence

Okhoro open street map with boundaries and points of interest.

Okhoro open street map with boundaries and points of interest.

The Urban Upgrading for Violence Prevention Project and the community mapping initiative part of this project were built upon the results of a South-South Exchange that took place in Benin City on July 4 to 8, 2011. In this meeting the Edo State policy makers met with their peers from Jamaica, Colombia, South Africa, Kenya and Lagos (Nigeria) to exchange perspectives on citizen engagement, use of geo-referenced tools, and coordinated policy action in the areas of violence prevention through urban upgrading projects. As a result of this exchange, the Government of Edo State requested support from the Bank to design and develop a pilot project to open channels of dialogue and citizen feedback on the areas of urban upgrading for violence prevention. In response, the Bank supported the Government to design and implement this pilot project including a component focused on community mapping activities.

The objectives of this initiative are to develop a system for improving the dialogue and accountability loops between citizens and government (including key policy makers and service providers) at the local and State levels for the planning and monitoring of urban upgrading projects and violence prevention strategies, in selected communities in Benin City, Edo State.

In order to achieve this objective, the project includes a mapping component in which an open source map of selected communities in Benin City will be developed to constitute a geographical platform around which citizens, the Edo State government, and service providers can engage into a dialogue about the monitoring of urban upgrading initiatives (including monitoring of public works taking place in Edo State in the form of monitoring of contractor and contract performance), while informing the decision making process for the development of Edo State.

As part of the implementation of this project, the Edo State government selected the areas of Okhoro and Useh as the pilot areas for the project. These areas were mapped by a group of 12 members of the Edo State ICT Directorate who were trained on how to undertake mapping activities in the field, as well as in technical concepts and knowledge necessary to create maps.

In order to undertake these mapping activities, the team collaborated with the traditional ruler (Enogie) in Useh and the Community Development Association Chairman and his associates in Okhoro. At the end of the two weeks, the team of mappers produced a comprehensive map of the two communities including boundaries and main Points of Interest (POIs), which are available to the public through the following links:

Okhoro Open Street Map:

Useh Open Street Map:

The next steps for the project include collection of information from Ugbekun and Uzebu communities in Benin City to map these additional communities. At the same time, the ODTA team will provide further technical training on mapping skills to this core GIS unit in order to facilitate the institutionalization of mapping activities within the ICT Directorate. Additionally, the GIS unit will be institutionalized and decision making and citizen engagement in urban upgrading will be enhanced.