Girls fleeing FGM come from very remote villages, which until recently were not on any map. Often we get phone calls in the middle of the night saying girls are going to be cut tomorrow in a certain village, please come and rescue them.
But there are no road signs and it was very difficult to find them, particularly at night. So for the last four years we have been working with Crowd2Map to map Mara into OpenStreetMap, a free open source map of the world.
UNFPA’s Nafissatou Diop explains why having accurate maps is playing a key role in removing girls from the danger of FGM:
Online volunteers from around the world add roads and buildings from satellite images, and then we add our local knowledge using a free smartphone app called Maps.Me. We add the location of churches, schools, shops, village offices, and train the police, activists and government officials to use these maps on their phones to quickly find girls at risk. We have also printed village and district maps to be displayed in government offices for the first time.
Anyone with an internet connection can help! If you would like to join this effort please email Janet here for more information.