In February 2023, the University of Lagos hosted the IDEAMAPS team to formally launch the IDEAMAPS Data Ecosystem Project in Lagos (Nigeria). This gathering brought together diverse stakeholders - government representatives and policy actors from Lagos State, slum communities including underrepresented groups such as people with disabilities (PWD), data organizations, academia, media, and other collaborators - to share their perspectives about filling data gaps in deprived areas through the co-creation of urban data ecosystems.
During a week of workshops and meetings, stakeholders discussed the types of information needed to make change in slums and informal settlements. Attendees from slum communities shared their experiences, the problems they encounter, and how slum policies and practices impact their communities. We also discussed the criteria and conditions for categorizing an area as a slum and alternative approaches to slum identification, boundary mapping, and uses of data about urban deprivation. Our discussions revealed how existing data might be integrated and presented in new ways to inform improved health care access and security, among other issues. The act of diverse stakeholders sitting together in the same room to discuss challenges, data sharing, data integration, and informed decision-making was productive for relationship-building, especially between communities and local government agencies.
Additionally, the IDEAMAPS team visited two communities where we met with slum dwellers, community leaders and trade groups to gain practical understanding of their lived experiences and aspirations for community upgrading.
The next steps for the Data Ecosystem project in Nigeria include a mini launch of the work in the second pilot city of Kano. Here, we will further identify and engage key stakeholders, integrate them into the co-design and development of the IDEAMAPS data ecosystem platform and data outputs which are under development, and initiate participatory action research teams within select communities.
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