Initiative aiming to introduce children to maps in Kenya
The age at which one is introduced to cartography and map making skills has been identified as a major factor in creating interest and awareness in mapping, more so when incorporated in the education system. Additionally, participation of children in various cartographic arts and maps competitions develops their cognitive knowledge and skills. Despite this information, Kenya continues to lag behind in the incorporation of qualified cartographic products into the education curriculum. The objective of this project therefore was to sensitize the various education stakeholders in the country on the need to develop childrens’ cognitive skills and abilities at an early stage in their life. The project, which is at its initial stage, formulated under a book club called “ThinkWords” mainly targets primary school children (4–10 years) and is currently working with one of the schools based in Nyeri County, Kenya as a pilot project. The children are engaged in various activities which include maps and their uses. Currently the “ThinkWords” club has a membership of 50, which is inclusive of children and their teachers. The ultimate goal of the project is to convince the relevant education stakeholders in the country on the importance of introducing cartography in schools, by sharing the children’s work with the relevant government authorities and stakeholders on need of children themed maps in terms of symbology. The project is then envisioned to be rolled out to other parts of the country and eventually lead to the inclusion of cartographic training skills into the education system.