On March 17 from 1:00 p.m to 4:00 p.m, the Taipei American School Doctors Without Borders club will host their first annual Mapathon in the TAS Legacy Commons. During the Mapathon, which will be held in conjunction with the TAS chapters of Girl Up, Red Cross, and Amnesty International, volunteers from the TAS community will use the OpenStreetMap software to create a shared online map of an unstable region in the West African country of Mali. This map will then be used by humanitarian organizations working in Mali to plan and direct their relief efforts.
According to William Chen (‘18), the president of Doctors Without Borders at TAS, good maps of areas in developing countries are difficult to come by, and can significantly increase the ability of organizations like Doctors Without Borders to deliver healthcare and respond to emergencies. “Joanna Cheng, the manager for the [Doctors Without Borders] Taiwan branch and a former field worker, told me how the maps were crucial in organizing the logistics of the area’s work,” he says. “By participating in the mapathon, the remote volunteers would be directly aiding these humanitarian organizations’ efforts.”
Several field workers from the Doctors Without Borders organization will also be present at the event to share their experiences with TAS volunteers. Alex Huang (‘18), president of Amnesty International at TAS, adds, “This is a great chance for people to see a different side of humanitarian work. [The aid workers] will talk to us about humanitarian work as more than just theory, and teach us how we can help them.”
One registered participant, Jerry Zhang (‘18), says, “A lot of people in the TAS community don’t realize their impact, but at the Mapathon, the activity is so much more interactive and hands-on, and that’s why it’s such a valuable opportunity.” As of 4:00p.m. on Tuesday, March 13, 52 members of the TAS community have signed up to participate in the Mapathon. Registration will close on the evening of Wednesday, March 14.
The registration link for the TAS Mapathon can be found at tinyurl.com/tasmapathon2018.