charles chilufya's Diary

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Posted by charles chilufya on 9 December 2023 in English. Last updated on 10 December 2023.


The State of the Map Africa (SotM Africa) is a bi-annual regional conference that celebrates the culture of open mapping, open data, GIS, and its impact across Africa. The OSM community in Uganda hosted the first SotM Africa conference in 2017. In 2021, It was hosted in Abidjan and Grand-Bassam in Ivory Coast. The 2021 conference planned in Nairobi, Kenya was virtually hosted (online). This year’s conference was hosted in Yaoundé, Cameroon under the theme “Open Mapping as a Support Tool for Local Development in Africa“ []

The OSM Africa community has rapidly grown in recent years and as a way of embracing Africanism, SotMAfrica has been practised since 2017 and is regarded as the biggest gathering for all OSM African communities. Again this year from 30th November to 2 December 2023 the African biggest gathering was hosted in Yaounde, Mbankomo - Cameroon.

Some of the key outstanding from the recent state of the map Africa was the number of countries and people who physically and online participated in the conference, this signifies how people are eying the OSM Africa and its contributions to open data in the world. The OSM community in Cameroon showed how magnificent it is to accommodate African countries with several different cultures in one space and provide full security. Many thanks to local organisers for making this dream come true. The African Culture of Ubuntu was used more and made the place conducive for everyone. I felt at home and spoke a lot of French.

Why compared to a precious stone?

The activities during the conference and what happened can only be compared to a precious stone worthy of millions of money. Initially, it has been some time since we held a physical African OSM gathering, and 2023 was a remarkable year for us. This year’s state-of-the-map Africa presentations responded to the theme of the conference. People had innovative and solutions-driven presentations that addressed different problems we face in our various communities.

I had the chance to listen to a variety of presentations including, but not limited to Mobility mapping, tree mapping, ODK, mapping of electricity, gender gaps, Governance in open communities, state of the map republic of Congo, promoting evidence-based integrated, map my city, mapathon, RapID, etc. We had many innovative, practical presentations both online and onsite. The level of innovation in OSM Africa has opened up a sustainable move for the OSM Africa community. The inclusion of the 2023 state of the map was exciting and showed a green light for addressing gender gaps that pre-exist in OSM communities.

I had a good chance to interact and spend a good time with the YouthMappers [] from African countries and witnessed their solutions-based presentations and panel discussions. This opened up for me to envision the future of OSM Africa. As I always say “ The sustainability of OSM Africa depends on the availability of young people” whom we had during the conference. OSM Africa is trying, by all means, to bring the Youths in open mapping closer and allow them to take the lead. I also learned that the majority of people who got scholarships were young people from different countries in Africa. This signifies the sustainability and importance of inclusivity in OSM Africa.

All different committees worked tirelessly to ensure that the conference came into reality by meeting physically in Cameroon. A huge appreciation to these gallant soldiers of African soil.


To make such a gathering, we need support in terms of finances and human resources. I had a chance to listen to the panel discussion of our great funders and explain why they fund such events.

It’s quite interesting seeing that out of all the many priorities, funders decided to reserve some funding for OSM Africa so that we can have a successful conference. Confidently, the gestures of our funders showcase how they carry a community at the centre of their activities and organisations visions. Indeed in the voice of TomTom, “It takes the world, to map the world” I can proudly say the future of OSM African is very promising and it is in safe hands. Appreciations to all participants, including funders, organisers, all committees, and members of the public. A huge thanks to The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team for Eastern and Southern Africa under the ##MapHerWorld program who made my trip possible by providing full financial support [].

Charles Chilufya

YouthMappers A Bank of Sustainable Skills for students.

What I learned in YouthMappers when I was a student.

I have never forgotten what happened when I was a student that day in the afternoon. I can’t unveil the whole incident without highlighting what caused it and in this case, YouthMappers started it. In fact, that was in the 2nd year, when YouthMappers continued to give students an equal opportunity to thrive and find their path in their career side. In my case, I don’t regret that I chose YouthMappers as a student over many other organizations. Career-wise, I wanted to be a computer or Data scientist but the University never gave me the chance to choose what I wanted, therefore I was pushed into Records and Archivist management and I graduated as an information specialist.

In YouthMappers as a student, I learned different skills in both academics and leadership. I have never learned any course related to mapping or GIS in my profession, but I freely acquired these skills from YouthMappers. Further, among the most important things YouthMappers value is inclusive and equal access to opportunity. I came from a background that has nothing to do with geospatial and geography but I was allowed to join YouthMappers and gained a lot of skills which I have also taught to many communities. As a student, I acquired skills from theories and practical points of view without learning them in class but through YouthMappers, open source, and mapathons.

I took advantage of the YouthMappers short course to advance my skills in mapping. I first started with a beginners’ course on how to map with JOSM, ID Editor, chapter management, field data collection tools, OSM ecosystem, and organizing mapathons. I managed and got 6 beginners certificates. Later on, YouthMappers advanced the courses and I decided to be the first one to take them. Luckily enough, I managed and acquired another butch of 6 advanced certificates. Away from these certificates, YouthMappers taught me how to conduct research, contribute to society, team building, and leadership skills. They introduced me to validation through the YouthMappers validation hub and made me more interested in exploring and understanding mapping. All in all, these certificates really sharpen my skills and advance my mapping knowledge. I managed to leave behind a very strong and successful YouthMappers Chapter at my university because of the Chapter management courses I took. I also started my journey of training others around Open mapping participatory while I was a student with YouthMappers.

Further, all these skills I acquired from YouthMappers allowed me to join HOT’s first cohort internship, OSMF (OSM Foundation) as an active contributor to open mapping. I also used my field mapping skills to participate in a data collection project organized by the OSM-Zambia, I was also selected as a research fellow and I led a group of 13 young people in a deeply rural area to collect Data.

Life as YouthMappers Alumni

I have been a student and it’s so nice being part of many organizations. I must also say that many opportunities come as you are at school because life after school has a different point of view. I have enjoyed a lot in YouthMappers from theory to practical benefits. YouthMappers gave me the knowledge I wanted and the opportunity as a student. However, if you have chosen YouthMappers as a student, you are on the right track and please do not leave faster than it can push you.

As a graduate in 2022, YouthMappers brought all research fellows and regional ambassadors who are young people from all over the world to attend the international conference which took place in Florence, Italy between 19th to 28th August 2022. I was among these great minds in Italy, we networked, laughed and we ate together. This was a great opportunity where young people could meet, network, collaborate and represent their specific chapters.

This opportunity came to me because when I was a student, I decided to be part of YouthMappers and never left. This was a great moment for YouthMappers members to meet again for the second conference since 2017. This gathering was the combination of the 2020 research fellows, regional ambassadors, YouthMappers technical supporters, directors, communication team, researchers, founders, etc. Truth be told, one edit really landed me in the plane. This was my first international trip and I enjoyed my tiresome trip for one day from Lusaka, Zambia to Florence, Italy.

I learned that YouthMappers is the community of communities as Patricia put it, meaning it cutters for many communities and generations. YouthMappers believes in building young people to be self-sustainable and be able to identify a problem, conduct research, and offer solutions on their own. The conference opportunity exposed me to a lot of knowledge and skills including web creation, Mapmyrun app, QGIS, Geocat, Field data collection tools, Streetcomplete, Everydoor applications, etc. I met and participated in a lot of OSM presentations and social dinners. This gave me a chance to explore and interact with a massive number of OSM contributors across the globe. Isn’t that great? YouthMappers launched its documentary and shared the book written by young people in YouthMappers. I attended a very successful meeting with OSM-Africa and It was so great meeting fellow OSM Africa people, full of young people trying to take the lead.

Lastly, I had a chance to meet and talked to DR Patricia Solis. It was a dream come true for me because I used to follow her works and was inspired a lot. Meeting Dr. Solis physically really moved my dream to great heights

Opportunities that came because of YouthMappers’ background.

After school, I decided to reorganize myself and join society, especially in the least developed countries like Ours. Job opportunities after graduation are really hard to find. I decided to continue Mapping because that’s how I drive sustainable development goals. Mapping is something I am passionate about and love. I remembered how I was picked to join the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team HOT for Southern and Central Africa Hub as a Mappers volunteer in Zambia on a project led by the HOT-ESA team. I was not picked because I had finished school but the background and skills I had acquired while as a student with YouthMappers. The YouthMappers has so much to offer to Students but it’s all up to a student to decide and pick what they think will be best for them. I am glad I picked a great path and I don’t regret it. I also volunteered with Crowd2Map Tanzania, MapUganda, OSMZambia, MapMalawi, etc.

Participatory Open mapping for locals Under HOT, I was among the trainers

I had an opportunity to share the skills I learned from YouthMappers with many communities and young people.

Data collection in Lavushinda district, under HOT and local impact

Based on my experience in October 2022, I applied for Crowd2Map Tanzania as a volunteer. I decided to contribute to the FGM and add many buildings to the map. This opportunity was given to me due to YouthMappers’ background. More opportunities.

Did you know that other people search names, places, distances, clinics, markets, and countries on the YouthMappers website? In 2022 I received an email from the World bicycle relief in Zambia and they explained that they found my email address from the YouthMappers website, on one of my blogs. They engaged me with other fellow young people to collect data using KoBocollect. This was an application I learned from YouthMappers and HOT-ESA training. This opportunity came because I made the right choice of belonging to YouthMappers as a student.

In conclusion, my short message to all students joining YouthMappers today, please do not leave prematurely, exercise a little patience and see what retirement package of skills the YouthMappers impact on you.

Acknowledgment YouthMappers USAID DR PATRICIA SOLIS (Ph.D.) HUMANITARIAN OPENSTREETMAP TEAM (HOT) World Bicycle relief YouthMappers University Of Zambia Chapter (YMUNZA) Local Impact Crowd2MapTazania

About the Author: Names: Charles Chilufya B.A in Records and Archives Management 2020 YouthMappers Research fellow. Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Mapper Mapper of all time. Currently Records officer, Email.

Location: Chaisa, Lusaka, Lusaka District, Lusaka Province, Zambia


Posted by charles chilufya on 11 February 2023 in English.


State of the Map Tanzania is a national conference that celebrates the culture of open mapping, open data, GIS, and its impact across East Africa. The conference took place on 20th-22rd January 2023 in Dare salaam, Tanzania. The conference had the following goals

-Learn from one another to improve OpenStreetMap and Open Data in Tanzania.

-Promote cartographic innovations in Tanzania.

-Place OpenStreetMap as a governance and sustainable development tool.

-Bring together all OpenStreetMap Tanzania Communities to share their experiences and achievements. For more info about the conference visit

activities Joined

  • I participated in the Mapbox and how to utilize it for free. it was my first time understanding that Mapbox can be used for free by the communities. I learned that MapBox allows individual subscriptions and enjoy their services.

In 2022, I had the big privilege to join the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap team for the southern and Eastern Africa Hub in Zambia as a volunteer. My experience can not be explained on one plain paper or page. I have received more skills than I expected and overwhelming lessons. In fact, I am not geospatial by profession but a records and archivist manager. I have learned all my spatial life off my profession through the help of #YouthMappers #Crowd2MapTanzania and #HOT. In addition, today I can simply say I am an expert in the Geospatial spectrum and I do train massive of people in this field. I have no paper but the skills and knowledge that i have acquired directing through networking, collaboration, and Mapathons. Lastly, i have done a lot of self-development to ensure that at least I make sure i do something daily in spatial and open mapping areas. Contact info +260962256767 (calls and WhatsApp).

Leadership and #Volunteerism

My name is Charles Chilufya, a youth lead and co-founder of the youth movement Kasama, currently serving as a project officer for the United Nations youth association of Zambia, hub lead for the Youth dialogue program on Sustainable development goal with Global platform Zambia, @ Alumni, volunteer and an intern with @, volunteered with @ and as a local coordinator in Zambia with Students for liberty international organization. #Highlights I recently joined the 2nd Cohort of the Leaders Arise Program Program for young Zambian Leaders that’s being run under the auspice of the Zambian US Embassy’s American Centre for Leadership at the U.S. Embassy in Zambia. The Program is a 5 Week cohort-based Leadership Development Program (supported by the U.S. Embassy Zambia) that has been designed to grow a pool of young Zambian leaders aspiring to work particularly within the Civic, Business & Entrepreneurship as well as Public Management spaces. Modeled in part after the Mandela Washington Fellowship concept and curriculum, this Program seeks to leverage curated homegrown solutions to effectively deal with the Leadership development crises that are present within the 3 major sectors highlighted above. Leadership development is one of the most pressing issues facing most organizations and institutions within Zambia, and as the global community slowly works its way towards the achievement of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the performance of any country, in seeking to achieve these goals, to a large extent depends on its Political Leadership. Effective Political leadership translates into prudent public policy formulation and implementation, as well as good public service delivery, to meet the needs and aspirations of all citizens. This particular cohort of the Program dabbed “Politics & Governance Cohort” is thus focusing specifically on the processes and structures that guide Political and Social Economic relationships within a country, and how this intersection helps to define the parameters of success for a country like Zambia. I am proud to be a part of this Cohort and excited to be able to contribute to the positive growth of the Political and Governance space within Zambia, en-route to the achievement of our 8th National Development Plan, Regional Agenda 2063, as well as the global SDGs. #leadershipdevelopment #capacitybuilding #SDGS #innovation #leadership

Location: Chaisa, Lusaka, Lusaka District, Lusaka Province, Zambia

YouthMappers Pre-conference meeting.

On the 18th August YouthMappers called its members to meet. This was a great moment ever for YouthMappers member to meet again for second conference since 2017. This gathering was the combination of the 2020 research fellows, regional ambassadors, YouthMappers technical supporters, director, communication officer and the board members.

The first meeting created a space for YouthMappers members to be updated, knowing one another, interacted, collaborated and above discussed the major impacts in their communities as a collective. In the process of continuity in the building of young people who define their future through community works and actively engaged in identifying problems and offering solutions, YouthMappers awarded certificates of appreciation to all its young people. This was a great motivation to Youths who tirelessly and selflessly contribute to open sources.


In 2022 during the conference YouthMappers @[] launched the first ever documentary in history, highlighting the major impact and voices of young people inclusively. Additionally, in recognizing the efforts of young people across the #67 countries with #327 YouthMappers chapters, young people combined their voices and released the book around all sustainable development goals. This book is a true reflection of YouthMappers current, Alumni, technical team and board of directors voices. It has showcased some major impacts, works and efforts of the young people in their different communities.