Mapping for food safety in Nairobi’s slums
This article from the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) explores how communities in informal settlements in Nairobi, Kenya create and use maps to ensure food safety. It shows how rapid urbanization in Nairobi, has created food safety and security challenges in the overpopulated Mathare slum. The article demonstrates that a map on which food kiosks, street vendors and hazards such as rubbish dumps and open sewers are depicted can help to ensure food safety. While informal settlements tend to play a key role in the economies and food distribution of cities, they are often not depicted on official maps from the government. Community led mapping processes can help to show where undocumented people live and which challenges they face. In addition, the mapping process can create knowledge and provide a basis from which communities can engage local authorities in policy dialogues. The mapping project in Nairobi used a ballon with a camera that took a photo per second. The balloon mapping showed where food vendors operate, the environmental hazards they face in their daily work and the wider settlement’s layout, including unoccupied areas. The mapping process helped to demonstrate how food vendors supported local food security and the needed action from local government and residents. The article also contains a practical guide to balloon mapping.