Map Action is an initiative that represents a concrete response to the lack of reliable information on WASH and environmental issues in the city of Bamako. It makes available a map of the city of Bamako which lists the problems. Map Action's first innovation is citizen participation in the project. Map Action encourages citizen participation in reporting. The interactive map is accessible to everyone via the Internet and any citizen can be an active actor in the process of signaling and mitigating problems through a mobile app. The second innovation is the process and the methodology. Not only reporting problems, Map Action does a preliminary study evaluating the impact on humans and the environment and classifies the problems.
The project has accomplished:
- An active campaign on social media reaching a community that is interested and dedicated to solve environmental issues
- Over 600 reported environmental incidents through the mobile app, visible in an interactive map. The incidents are evaluated and classified.
- Contracts with several governmental, semi governmental and private companies to pursue data analytic activities in the environment sector
Tips for the future
- Being a start-up, it is a risk to depend on contracts with large organisations, such as government authorities, because of long negotiations and late payments
- ‘Except for extraordinary luck, you have to work hard for a long time to lead a startup on the road to success’ - Boubacar Keita, founder MapAction
Potential for growth
MapAction is profiling itself as a data-analytics company in the environment sector. This certainly has potential for growth, both in Mali as well as in the rest of Africa. Sound and verified data is always needed. Additional support is needed to further develop the technology (introduce AI, machine learning, improve the drone), the team and the business model.
MapAction, Kaicedra Consulting, Impact Hub Bamako
July 2017 – July 2019
Last project updates
Bamako is the capital of Mali and also one of the most populated urban agglomerations in the West African zone as well as one of the cities where the rate of increase is the highest in the world. From 2 million inhabitants in 2009 it now has more than 3 million inhabitants in its agglomeration. This exponential population increase translates into high demographic concentrations (671 inhabitants per km²) and an increase in the need for equipment and infrastructure, notably in the health sector and the distribution of drinking water. However, there is a rapid deterioration of equipment and infrastructure due to the high pressure of their use. Indeed, it is observed that certain equipment such as public drinking water terminals and fountains are regularly subject to breakdowns or dysfunction due to their too frequent use by populations. This results in a deficiency in the distribution of drinking water in the city. The high rate of increase in Bamako also has consequences on the hygiene and sanitation of the city. With the increase of the population, whole zones or neighborhoods were created anarchically without urban policy, giving rise to habitations devoid of a system of evacuation. The government, unable to control this population explosion, is overwhelmed by serious problems of sanitation in urban areas. Government programs or private structures and NGOs exist but are often faced with a lack of information on the real-time situation of existing problems. This lack of information results in an inefficiency of actions because very poorly coordinated. The fact is that despite the existence of multiple programs in the field of water and sanitation, the problems are increasing.
To reach the goals of the project, there is a specific project plan starting with a pilot phase of 6 months and following with an implementation phase. Bamako is a huge city of 267 km² with 6 urban communes. For the pilot phase, we will start by testing our model in only 2 urban cities (commune I and II) respectively 34,26 km² and 16,81 km² for the following reasons: Commune I has a huge human density (over 6000 people per km²), low enrollment rate (22%), huge sanitation problems (proliferation of anarchic deposits; inadequate sanitation facilities; absence of gutter…), and presence of river Niger. Commune II has small area but concentrate most of Bamako’s factories and industries that have big impact on WASH and environment. The commune also has presence of river Niger. During the pilot phase we will create the web platform with the interactive map and make the necessary technical configurations with the mobile application Akvo Flow (product of our partner Akvo) which will allow citizen to report easily their WASH problems directly to the Map Action team. At the same time, we will also implement our marketing strategy by introducing the project and services to companies and test our approach and methodology on the field about identifying –analyzing – and reporting WASH problems. The help of our partners is crucial during the pilot phase: Aikio Corp. for the building of our web platform and configuration of the interactive map with mobile application Akvo Flow, the Development Regional Agency of Bamako (ADR Bamako) representing municipalities and government ministries and agencies for allowing our studies and activities and making them easier with the right tools, Impact hub Bamako for giving us full time access to working space and Akvo for giving us access to the mobile application Akvo Flow and a training session free of charge. The pilot phase is very important, by the end of it we will apply all the corrections needed, validate the prototype and proceed to the first evaluation of the activities and impact of the project. Once the pilot complete, we will start the implementing phase, the work area will cover all six municipalities of Bamako (267 km²). The implementing phase will be the continual improvement of the pilot phase by scaling up all the process.
The Map Action project will have a strong social impact and will directly affect the population who will be the beneficiaries of the activities. More specifically, the direct beneficiaries will be the structures, organizations, public / private enterprises, etc. working in the field of WASH, the populations of the Bamako district and finally the official urban and environmental management authorities of Bamako. ⋅⋅* Populations People will now be able to report rapidly and accurately the water, sanitation and hygiene problems they are facing. For instance, they will be able to locate and report perforated water pipes, a non-functional fountain post, an overflowing open channel, a difficult circulation of rainwater and flooding, etc. They will also be the primary beneficiaries when the competent authorities correct the problems they have reported. ⋅⋅* NGOs, private and semi/private companies NGOs and private or semi-private companies active in the WASH sector will all benefit from the information made available on the interactive map and gain a better understanding of the Bamako situation. Those who subscribe to the platform will receive an early warning about the types of specific problems they have selected. They will also have their information and logos displayed on the analytical sheet of the problems they are involved in finding a solution which will also give them better visibility. NGOs and companies will definitely improve their actions by having all the information that will allow them to have a clear reading of WASH needs and priorities. They will also be able to save money on research and problem analysis. Donors and investment funds in the WASH sector will also be beneficiaries of this project because they will be able to allocate their resources in the priority problems with the necessary preliminary information for efficient management. ⋅⋅* Government companies Companies such as Somagep and Somapep will be able to intervene faster and thus avoid a waste of water resources for example. They will receive the information in real time. ⋅⋅* Researchers and students The Map Action project can serve as a reference framework for researchers and students needing data in the WASH field in Bamako. The data can be used for theses, research and statistical databases, etc ...
The conditions we put in place to ensure the sustainability of the Map Action project are based on the institutional framework, the innovation and participation of the populations, the relevance of our studies and the diversification of our actions. Climate change, urbanization and rapid population growth place a heavy burden on natural resources. WASH problems grow much more rapidly than the money spent to resolve the issues. To meet these challenges, Mali in its National Sanitation Policy has been committed to achieving the sustainable development goals of the international community. The Map Action project is in line with the National Sanitation Policy, whose specific objectives are to harmonize the approaches and interventions of the various actors involved in the management of liquid, solid, special and rainwater wastes; Federating public and private energies; Increase the funding available to the sector to help reduce the impact of the problems on the population (living environment). This National Policy falls within the framework of the protection of the environment and the living environment of Law No. 91-47 / AN-RM Relating to the Protection of the Environment and the Framework of Life. The project also focus on the following bases: 1. Innovation From a phone take a picture of a nuisance situation (environmental pollution) and as soon as it is relevant a study will be carried out. Then all the information will be listed on a map. A technological watch will be made so that Map Action can innovate more. 2. Integrate the population It is at the heart of the WASH issues in society, Map Action will enable them to identify, report their problems and communicate them to Map Action. 3. Awareness campaigns Regularly, we will communicate with people on the streets or through our publications and newsletters to try to get people to gradually change the bad behaviors of WASH. 4. Make the results of the studies accessible: The results of the studies will be accessible on the internet, which will enable the population to see concretely its involvement in the project. The Map Action project will not only be limited to the publication of studies on a map, but also the creation of a directory and a professional network bringing together all the players in the WASH sector and the environment for better synergy and better sharing of knowledge . Finally, we have the ambition to propel the project beyond the borders of Bamako and to use the same model in other African cities.
Overview of Goals
The main goal of the Map Action project is to gather data on WASH problems in Bamako and make them available for everyone. In order to achieve this they are several specific objectives such as : ⋅⋅* Allow citizens to report their WASH problems through a mobile application ⋅⋅* Make preliminary analysis of problems by identifying their impact and severity ⋅⋅* Improve the management of WASH problems in Bamako ⋅⋅* Etc...
Results and indicators
- Citizens use Map Action's mobile application to report their WASH problems
- Number of problems sent through Map Action's mobile application 15 to 30 per month ( target )
- Government and companies will use the website daily to identify localize and resolve WASH problems
- Number of WASH problems solved by subscribed companies before/after Map action 1 to 5 per month ( target )
- The project will generate income
- Number of companies subscribed 35 ( target )