“It is important to recognise that the crisis was not, and is not, only health. Neither did the pandemic and health measures inaugurate the social and economic crisis. It … deepened and widened existing poverty and social inequalities,” Susana Andrada, a member of The Solidarity Cartography project, commenting on the COVID-19 pandemic.
From Argentina, the Solidarity Cartography is our featured deployment of the day in our ongoing donation campaign. A team of social researchers at the Faculty of Social Sciences (National University of Córdoba) mapped social organisations in the context of COVID and how they inadvertently acted as a containment network.
Aptly named The Solidarity Cartography Project, it has stayed true to its name:
Solidarity. Anna Laura Elorza, director of the project, stated that faced with difficulties, the social organisations responded with an impressive level of organisational capacity and creativity. Noting that their adaptability is what made it possible to sustain life. Further, she emphasised that these organisations should not be thought of as actors that can simply alleviate state absences, but rather the state must recognise and work with them in unity as co-managers that produce knowledge about how to deal with needs.
Cartography. Virginia Monayar, a member of the project, considers cartographies to record trajectories of struggles and work and violations. They are tools that condense the forms of being and doing in a time-space. That they enable thinking about strategies of articulation and construction of networks of organisations to share work agendas, joint actions, knowledge and knowledge built on the practices in this situation, and the impact on public policy.
How is The Solidarity Cartography using Ushahidi the Ushahidi Platform?
They mapped social organisations in four large categories during the pandemic: food emergency, socio-educational support, counselling in the face of increased violence against women and the popular economy. Through this effort, they identified locations of social-economic nodes, care networks, socio-educational and recreational systems, accompaniment and advice in the event of violence, etc.
Other activities in conjunction with mobilisation through the platform?
They continue to carry out awareness and dissemination of the project outcomes through campaigns with participating organisations using videos, interviews, press releases, podcasts, virtual meetings, etc.
Some of the research outcomes?
Surfacing information on problems and needs of the population with the greatest socio-territorial vulnerability. E.g. they were able to bring to light some of the aspects left out of the State's radar and care, such as Prevention and care in situations of violence, the need for public space in territories of precarious housing and insufficient service provision, access to connectivity and support in the management of technological tools.
As a result of the gaps identified by the use of the platform, they were able to define lines of action to respond to the needs and issues of the citizenry from organisations that work in the corresponding neighbourhoods. Thus the organisations adapted to the gaps identified in order to bring relief.
So far, we’ve seen Ushahidi used to map crime, locations where essential services are needed after a natural disaster and now, we embark on research. But why research? Because data collected through the Ushahidi platform:
Has enabled the project to gain knowledge on relevant social entities and their role in crisis management.
Has provided updated and exact data. By differentiating between valuable and vague data, credibility in their work increases and provides a basis for problem-solving and decision making.
The project unearthed that there was more to the pandemic effects than just the health issues. Populations were and are suffering from structural deficiencies: food shortages, lack of employment and housing problems that exacerbate gender and intra-family violence, among other socio-economic issues.
The Solidarity Cartography Project is dedicated to the discovery, truth and validity of:
Learn more about them in this video (in Spanish) and support their essential work.