Participatory GIS Wundanyi and field work preparations

On third day students got in touch with the local people at the town of Wundanyi, the home of Helsinki research station. The idea was to harness local knowledge and perceptions services in the town. This PGIS (participatory geoinformatics) practical started with an introduction from Dr. Tino Johansson, after which students headed to the town to do interviews and draw maps with the people of Wundanyi, trying to include all the age and gender groups for an inclusive perspective of local services.

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The practical turned out well with students learning about both possibilities and challenges of the method. Local people’s perspectives of Wundanyi services varied among interviewees and both positive and negative perceptions were observed.

While students spent their afternoon at the town, teachers and assistants remained at the station to prepare for the next day’s field campaign in Maktau. This included checking and packing all the measurement devices, as well as five big tents since the next night was going to be spend at a farmyard. So once everyone got back together it was once again time to jump into a bus, this time destination being Maktau.

In Maktau the group was heartwarmingly welcomed to research station manager Mwadime Mjomba’s farm by the whole family. After students set up the tents next to a maize field, the dinner was served inside the house in traditional Kenyan manner. Later in the evening, while the course assistants were setting up temperature and moisture sensors in cassava and cowpea fields, the students enjoyed watching the breathtaking night sky by the tents. To keep the unwanted guests, such as lions and elephants away from the camp, lanterns were set up and it was time for a rest.

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