Hyland workers join humanitarian effort by mapping remote African community

Employees work with the local Red Cross on the Missing Maps project

By Jim McIntyre, American Red Cross

July 15, 2019 – Many of us take maps for granted. Nearly every corner of the United States can be found on a map.

Not so for many of the world’s most remote communities. And that can be a big problem when disaster strikes, or a large-scale epidemic or pandemic breaks out. Imagine the difficulty of reaching people affected by a natural disaster or illness when the one paved road leading to their village has been destroyed and no alternate, unpaved roads are shown on any maps.

The Missing Maps project is an effort being undertaken by the American Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and many other non-governmental organizations to map the world’s most remote communities. With the help of mapping volunteers, more than 40 million vulnerable people have been put on a map. The hope is to raise that number to 200 million people by the year 2021.

The project got a boost recently from employees at Hyland in Westlake, Ohio. About two dozen workers gathered in a room in the basement of their sprawling campus on a Friday afternoon in July to help map a remote area of Kenya.

Hyland workers mapping a remote area of Kenya

“This activity has real humanitarian value,” said Carolyn Wild, the Red Cross regional philanthropy officer who led the session. “I think the Hyland workers recognize that and totally immersed themselves into the project.”

Other Red Cross staff members assisted in facilitating the project as well, including regional philanthropy officer Jill Patterson, development specialist Staci Thomson, and lead grants specialist Ben Bisbee.

“The Hyland folks are really pumped for the next event,” said Ben. “Some even whispered about wanting to take a team visit to the African community they were mapping for.”

Red Cross workers help facilitate Mapathon at Hyland on July 12, 2019.  From top left:
Staci Thomson, Ben Bisbee, Jill Patterson, Carolyn Wild

“We are excited about helping the people of this remote area in Kenya by mapping their village,” said Tracy Petrakis, community engagement manager at Hyland. “The Mapathon was an important part of Hyland’s Summer of Service, and we’re happy to partner with the Red Cross.”

In all, nearly 3,700 buildings in Bomet County, Kenya, were mapped by the Hyland employees.  See more photos from the Hyland Mapathon here.

If you are interested in hosting a mapping session with your company or group, send the request to contactneo@redcross.org.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross Volunteer

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