Alongside scientific knowledge of hazards that may contaminate water sources, those living and working in rural sub-Saharan Africa may have a detailed knowledge of potential contamination hazards and where they are located. This component of the project aims to draw on that knowledge, to better understand geographic patterns of hazards that could contaminate water sources.
Participatory mapping has been used in fields such as natural resource management to understand how local communities perceive and use the environment around them. The technique involves working with small groups or individuals, who are then asked to map particular features of their environment onto aerial photographs or detailed satellite imagery or annotated image maps. In the image below, for example, a group of participants are discussing likely future patterns of water and sanitation access in Kisumu, Kenya, as part of a workshop organised by VIRED International.
By organising similar events focussed on mapping possible microbiological contamination hazards in rural Siaya County, we hope to understand the potential hazards that may be found around rural water sources in sub-Saharan Africa and ultimately improve management of water safety.