A collaborative research and mapping initiative is working toward standardising and opening transit data for Nairobi’s matatus — the informal and de facto city bus system — and expanding their findings, tools, and processes globally. Building on past Kenyan-based digital mapping efforts and open source transit software, the group will produce a comprehensive framework for collecting, opening and mapping Matatu transportation data toward a mobile and equitable Nairobi.
Currently underway, a primary round of data collection and local student design workshops are growing the understanding of this otherwise misunderstood and complex system. The first series of tools will be entering development this spring to improve on data collection and transport information management in the decentralized Matatu system. This project uses Nairobi’s active mobile phone community to develop a standardized Matatu bus route for Nairobi informal buses. By developing crowd-sourcing applications we hope people in Nairobi can develop, contribute, maintain and own their own transit information.
The Associated Press has reported that Scarlett Johansson is “ending her relationship with a humanitarian group after being criticised over her support for an Israeli company [SodaStream] that operates in the West Bank.”
A statement released by Johansson’s spokesman Wednesday said the 29-year-old actress has “a fundamental difference of opinion” with Oxfam International because the humanitarian group opposes all trade from Israeli settlements, saying they are illegal and deny Palestinian rights.
“Scarlett Johansson has respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years,” the statement said. “She and Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. She is very proud of her accomplishments and fundraising efforts during her tenure with Oxfam.”
Oxfam has not yet commented on the news. Oxfam has not endorsed boycott, divestment and sanctions, although it opposes trade with Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Johansson’s move follows weeks of protest from Palestinians and solidarity groups, and near silence from Oxfam’s bitterly divided management.
The Electronic Intifada’s extensive reporting on this story can be found here.
Calling the experience “completely transformative,” local 22-year-old Angela Fisher told reporters Tuesday that her six-day visit to the rural Malawian village of Neno has completely changed her profile picture on Facebook. “As soon as I walked into that dusty, remote town and the smiling children started coming up to me, I just knew my Facebook profile photo would change forever,” said Fisher, noting that she realized early in her nearly weeklong visit just how narrow and unworldly her previous Facebook profile photos had been. “I don’t think my profile photo will ever be the same, not after the experience of taking such incredible pictures with my arms around those small African children’s shoulders. Honestly, I can’t even imagine going back to my old Facebook photo of my roommate and I at an outdoor concert.” Since returning, Fisher said she has been encouraging every one of her friends to visit Africa, promising that it would change their Facebook profile photos as well.