Malumbo Chipofya

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Experiencing a different culture of land: lessons of a technologist

Malumbo Chipofya is a geo-scientist from Malawi and is currently member of a research team at Münster University. He dedicates his work to land mapping in Eastern Africa, where land registration is still a rare exception. But land mapping can lead to actual land loss, is one of his observations, if the land holders’ culture and way of life are not being taken into account. Malumbo and his team went to Kenya to observe and learn. They fused the Massaai’s traditional knowledge and their own digital tools to create more useful geographic data. In many regions of Africa, land, property lines, and tenure are still unsettled which puts especially nomadic people at risk of losing their way of life. Researching at the University of Münster, Malawian computer scientist Malumbo Chipofya has collaborated on building software that can resolve these issues. However, when he and his colleagues traveled to Kenya to demonstrate their software, they received a surprise: people laughed. And Malumbo Chipofya learned a lot about cultural differences.

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