PODCAST #32 · SPATIAL COLLECTIVE · MAPPING AFRICA FROM THE SILICON SAVANNA, NAIROBI, KENYA

“We were able to share this knowledge with hundreds of young people in Nairobi alone… some of them started their own organisations and got funding from abroad to do all sorts of data collection in various parts of Kenya… that’s something that I’m proud of."

“Born and raised in Slovenia, Primož Kovačič is an entrepreneur and geodetic engineer who lives in Nairobi, Kenya. Primoz is a co-founder and director of Spatial Collective, a social enterprise that supports communities and organizations in adopting available technologies to collect, manage, own and use data that is important to them.”

Michelle Gathigi is a Nairobi local and the Spatial Collective Operations Manager. She is an International Relations Graduate from the University of Birmingham and is “passionate about community development and particularly see the benefits of empowering community members to be innovative, creative and proactive in improving their lives.”

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We hung out with Primož and Michelle in the Spatial Collective office in the busy, lively “silicon savanna” of Nairobi. We discussed the following:

  • Primož’s background, how he found himself in Kenya, how Spatial Collective was born and what spatial mapping (geodetic engineering) involves (~01:15)
  • Michelle’s background, growing up in Kenya, living & studying overseas and finding her way to Spatial Collective, where she now “runs the company” 🙂 (~04:40)
  • What is GIS (Geographical Information Systems) and some of the tools/methods Spatial collective uses to visualise spatial information (~07:00)
  • Where Spatial Collective focus including water & sanitation, waste management and education, WHY they do this in the first place and examples of their work (~10:40)
  • How Spatial Collective’s work impacts the communities they work in(~14:30)
  • More on what drove Primož to do more meaningful work (including a terrifying near death experience) (~15:25)
  • More on Michelle’s path and why she finds meaning in her work (~18:00)
  • What keeps Primož and Michelle up at night, when thinking about where the world is going (~19:15)
  • What they’re most excited about and how technology is changing things for the better (~23:40)
  • The Silicon Savanna in Nairobi – how quick internet and community has helped a generation of entrepreneurs to do all sorts of things including social enterprise (~25:20)
  • The role of Social Enterprise in driving change vs the Government approach (~26:40)
  • Spatial Collective’s upcoming projects featuring drones, social media and machine learning (~28:00)
  • Advice for humans of the earth (~31:00)

“They’ve learnt how to collect data via GPS, they’ve learnt mobile data collection, they’ve learnt how to read maps and in the community, they actually become leaders."

NOTABLE LINKS

Spatial Collective:

Kenyans on Twitter: @KOT  & #KOT

Sustainable Jungle Podcast - Spatial collective - Mapping Africa #sustainabledevelopment #geospatial #gis #underserved
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