Titus Letaapo is a champion of the community-based conservation model in Northern Kenya, having over 20 years experience in conservation and community development. Now, he oversees and supports the Namunyak Community Conservancy and acts as a Director of Community and Programs at the Sarara Foundation (TSF).
Indigenous-led mapping has become an indispensable tool in the struggle of Indigenous peoples to claim their rights to land and resources. In this presentation I will give an overview of the Namunyak App project (a winner from the 2020 GEO Hack4Covid) and emphasise on the importance of the active participation of Indigenous people in the mapping process itself in order to fully move beyond the colonial cartographic frame. The Namunyak App encodes real geographical coordinates into four symbols. We believe that the app would allow the Samburu from northern Kenya to visualise and document their land in a dynamic, accessible and culturally relevant way. What we offer is to rethink the conventional, Western projections of maps, and combine it with local knowledge and understandings of land. Secondly, the app will be also an educational tool as it will introduce and advance the use of maps within the Samburu community. Finally, the Namunyak App is a communication tool that will improve the communication between Samburu community members, the local park rangers, and policy makers.