This is the second in a series of blogs sharing lessons learned from a collaboration between DataShift and the SPEAK! campaign and the resulting conversations about data management practices among diverse organisations working to overcome social divisions around the world.
It would be difficult to recognise the beach in the coastal town of Bagamoyo, Tanzania today compared to what it looked like just a few short years ago. While the shore is still spotted with broken fishing nets, plastic wrappers, and household waste that get washed in with the tide, the beach is relatively clean. It’s not spotless, and there’s definitely room for improvement, but it’s come a long way thanks to a local beach cleaning organisation called Bagamoyo Beach Lovers (BBL). Unfortunately, up until late last year, they had no data to support that conclusion.
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In July 2018, Bagamoyo Beach Lovers united a diverse group of local stakeholders for an event introducing World Cleanup Day, an international citizen-science data campaign and environmental movement. Below are five key takeaways from hosting the event, for anyone planning to introduce data-driven initiatives in their community.
Community participation is an important component of situating a community as the champion of its own rights. However, community participation is not always easily achieved, as this requires both facilitating communities to demand for participation spaces, as well as sensitising duty bearers to understand the value of community participation.
Bagamoyo Beach Lovers would have had a difficult time motivating the participation of government officials, artists, school principals, nonprofit directors, fishermen and business owners attending and supporting its World Cleanup Day launch without the community relationship building in the years leading up to the event.