Location: Zambia
Occupation: Founder of OpenStreetMap Zambia
Associated with: GIZ

Meet Gertrude Namitala, she is also known as Trudy Hope. Trudy is the founder of OpenStreetMap Zambia who is organizing a pilot project in an informal settlement of Mufulira, Zambia.

Through her work with OpenStreetMap, Trudy aims to improve government services to the settlement by clarifying and documenting the residents’ land and resource rights. To do so, Trudy worked with the Cadasta Foundation to organize and train 30 community members to collect information on the settlement’s land rights. 13 of the 30 trainees were women.


“Why is it important to include women in the process of data collection? One, it’s that women have a way of dealing, they are a bit more soft when dealing with the people so when they are interviewing you find that people end up answering all the questions we need them to answer.”


To date, Trudy and her volunteer team have collected data from over five thousand households and properties. “Land rights matter to women because many women in the informal settlements are single parents and if their land is documented and they get their property rights they can get a loan and start up a business, and not only starting up a business, you will find that they are able to take their kids back to school.”

Not only does Trudy hope to improve the land rights of the informal settlement in Mufulira, but she hopes to expand her work throughout Zambia and even across Africa.

“When women have property rights, they can empower themselves and improve their lives not just for themselves but for their children and communities.”