Mapping A Better Future

How a group of 12-year-olds in a Calcutta slum improved their community:

Like so many slum neighbourhoods, the notorious Nehru Colony doesn’t officially exist, meaning it has no access to government services such as sanitation and electricity. The youngsters set out to literally put themselves on the map. They went door to door, taking photos with their mobile phones, registering residents and detailing each child born in the colony. Information is then sent by SMS text to a database that links the data to a map hand-drawn by the kids, which is overlaid to GPS coordinates. By registering their existence on Google Maps the group has doubled the rate of polio vaccination from 40% to 80%, decreased diarrhoea and malaria rates in the slum, and is lobbying for electricity.