This article was originally published on Seriously Different.


“Deep in Tinderet forest, a data revolution is taking shape. Community members from the Maasai Mara and across the Mau Forest are working together to see how the forest measures up. Equipped with the latest data from space missions plus tape measures and clinometers, they are deploying their collective ancient wisdom to map the size and health of the medicinal trees and the ecosystem services provided by the forest.

Led by researchers at Strathmore University Business School, the Institute for Global Prosperity at University College London and PROCOL Kenya at the British Institute In Eastern Africa, the Mau and Mara teams are building the first community data block in the Africa Regional Data Cube (ARDC). The ARDC, normally known for providing access to user-ready space data, is enabling localised earth observations to be made accessible to country and national government agencies, local farmers, villagers and elders alike, through the use of big data analytics.

The data is collected by communities through smart phone applications such as Sapelli, which provides accurate geolocation as well as a pictorial record of the species of a tree or plant, including its traditional name, size and health provision, By providing accurate earth observations, the mapping can be used to design and create innovative, global value chains linking local Maasai and Mau forest communities with markets and nature lovers worldwide.

…These new data analytics and technologies are part of a new index to measure what communities consider necessary for leading a good and prosperous life – “maisha bora”, which Maasai community calls, “dupotu, sobet nonyolu”, rather than Gross Domestic Product.

The Prosperity Index includes community- based, evidence-driven approach presents a powerful way of finding innovative local solutions that can scale up in different parts of the world.”

Read on at: Seriously Different