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Global Citizens: New Ways of Solving International Problems

Innovators Blog

Global Citizens: New Ways of Solving International Problems

My name is Colin Mc Andrew and I have had and have the great fortune of being on the Global Citizens Mapping The Future team. Our main project was #MapLesotho. We taught people how to use www.openstreetmap.org to map a country. Using this simple technology we could provide a developing country with practical and essential information such as the location of housing, water bodies and forestry.

We were first introduced to Open Street Map by one of our local councillors in Fingal County Council, Mr Ciaran Staunton and his colleague Mr David Coorely. After learning the basics of mapping and contributing to the Global online Mapping task #MapLesotho seven of us felt a calling to teach people the importance and simplicity of mapping. Myself Colin Mc Andrew, Anbu Sundar, Grace Matthews, Matthew O'Driscoll, Morgan Keane, Cian Gargan and Oliver Juchnevicius came together under the fantastic guidance of Ms Colette Cronin and Mr Niall Fitzgerald set foot on the journey that would be Global Citizens Mapping the Future.

To take on the task of teaching people how to change the world with a mouse and keyboard needed a plan and lots and lots of research. First we had to know the mapping process in detail and put together a team. Once we were ready we hit the ground running. On the 16th of January we held our first mapathon (the event in which we map) in the Fingal County Council Chambers. This was a great success making 108697 edits in one day with help from people all over the world.

Time flew and it was already February and we were invited to The Den. Here Anbu, Grace and Oliver pitched “Global Citizens Mapping The Future” to the YSI panel and were successfully awarded €1000 for the project. We were soon invited the Vodafone Headquarters to learn how to use social media and technology to promote our project. It is also worth mentioning that at this point emails were flying back and forth. Although we were a small team good communication made everything possible. Keeping up to date with the mapping community wouldn’t have been possible without technology.

I was very fortunate to participate in the YSI promotional video. Representing my team and the community we belong to. I explained how opportunity met with action is what changes the world. YSI; our local and expanded community; and a good internet connection gave us the opportunity to make a difference.

As speaker I was nervous for our first “speakout”. A simple presentation with the help of the Lesotho ambassador to Ireland we got through to the next phase, preparing for the showcase. By now we had so much to report: our success at the World-Wise Global Event; our educational tour; the rapid progress of #MapLesotho and so much more. After sharing our experiences of our project and the YSI, the afternoon was dedicated to meeting new people and getting to know their projects better (probably my favourite thing to do). Two hot dogs and ten followers on twitter later we sat down in the main stadium for the entertaining award ceremony. It was great to see all of the projects at the showcase and celebrate it. I still remember when our category came up and when we were awarded the “Making Our World One World” award we were shocked but proud. There were so many people who helped us get there who will remain our friends and part of our community forever. On the bus home we kept looking at the award with amazement and pride, patting each other on the back. Nonetheless there was more to come…

More events and more mapping. #MapLesotho is now a thriving project with the rural area complete and has over 4 million edits. The relationships with people from all over Ireland and beyond are stronger than ever and the project continues on to a new journey.

Everything I have mentioned couldn’t be possible in any other century than the 21st. In this age everything is possible. It gives me immense hope for the future for everyone.