ODK Swahili Translation

Hi all,
Humanitarian Openstreetmap Team (HOT - Tanzania team ) has been using ODK to collect data in different projects like Ramani Huria, Data Zetu, Rural Electrification, and more others. In all these Projects we are working with local community using their Smartphone. Our motto is “Local people, local Devices, Open Knowledge”, we are working with local people from the community, using their own smartphone and give them knowledge on different tools like opendatakit for data collection.

The core objective is to insure the sense of ownership of the projects to the community (make them part of the project), so by involving them from the scratch, using their devices in data collection and last see the output which are maps of different case from their community it make them feel part of process.

Capability of ODK from flexibility in survey designing, ability to work offline, low consumption of memory in installing and other many led us to achieve a lot in our projects implementation where we have been able to work with thousand of local community and University students, Local governments and municipal officials and collect a lot of data point, line, polygons as well as pictures .

Apart from all those success, the main challenge we were facing is Language barrier as most of local people are using Swahili which is Native language for Tanzanian. During the FOSS4G 2018, We got chance to meet again @zestyping who is working with NAFUNDI Company and he coordinate ODK Sprint at Dlab where we contribute in documenting, codding also started translating ODK to Swahili language and in that day we worked with volunteers (High school Students, Interns from HOT-Tanzania and people from different entities). On the same day we manage to translate more than 200 string out of 600, It was good start then with Ramani huria intern from University of Dar es salaam we managed to accomplish remaining string and I with @gkassano review all the string.
From now, it will be much easier working with the community with Swahili version of ODK and we are expecting to do more Community mapping :blush:
thanks to @gkassano @Ivangayton @zestyping

Group photo after foss4g2018 Sprint at Dlab. Photo by @gkassano


Hi.! I've been offline for some days but unfortunately am back and found the new version of ODK has been released that is v1.17.2.

For sure I can't explain how happy I'm after realizing that we can now use ODK in our local language (Swahili) in which I was among the contributors in ODK translation as well as the reviewer of the translations during ODK Sprint in FOSS4G 2018 which took place in Dar es salaam Tanzania :tanzania: at DLABs.

On the same day we manage to translate more than 200 string out of 600 with diffrent contributors from different organizations, students and other members who attended the sprint. It was agood start since with Ramani huria (Flood resilience project by HOT-Tanzania Funded by World Bank ) with intern from University of Dar es salaam we managed to accomplish all remaining string.We had another day for reviewing the string.

One of the contributor doing translation. _Photo by @gkassano HOT_Tanzania _

@Iddy_Chazua was among the trainee to the new users of ODK. _Photo by @gkassano HOT_Tanzania _

Group photo during ODK Spring. _Photo by @gkassano HOT_Tanzania _

For sure this will add more users since there those who could not use it due to the language barrier but since it is also in Swahili then people will be able to use it easily As well as saving time..

Few months ago we had a project known as Min Grid Rural Electrification project under Humanitarian Openstreetmap Team (HOT) in which we went around all regions in Tanzania in the rural areas to collect data. The activity was bit complicated since we use to recruit local people and train them so that they can collect data in their communities. The motto of organization is “Local people, local Devices Open Knowledge”, we are working with local people from the community, using their own smartphones and give them knowledge on different tools like OpenDataKit for data collection.

Since ODK was in English it was difficult for the users and the only thing that we were doing is to make them memorize what we told them. It consumed much time for them to be familiar with the survey.

But with new version of ODK everything is resolved.

Much thanks to @Iddy_Chazua, @zestyping and @Ivangayton


This is such a great example of how anyone can participate in making ODK better! I love that you were able to even include high school students.

It's also a great example of how live events can build up great energy and lead to action. Thank you @zestyping for organizing.

Thank you @Iddy_Chazua and @gkassano for facilitating and reviewing all of those translations to make sure they are high quality. I'm sure organizations throughout East Africa will benefit.

I hope others will use this case study as an example of how they can get high-quality translations in their languages!

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Thanks too Hellen. For the case of anything we'll let you know.


Hello, Am Developer from Tanzania looking on it and very excited to see it in Swahili. We are now developing alternative aggregate for ODK Collect.

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Be sure to take a look at ODK Central!

Thanks for advice,
I had a look to the ODK Central but requirements drive us to have independent aggregate.

I thought you and @Iddy_Chazua might like to know that since January of this year, there have been 84,500 users of ODK Collect in Tanzania and Kenya. On behalf of all those people who can now happily use ODK Collect in their local language, asante sana!


Waaaooooh........! Am more than happy to hear that. Thanks too for the appreciations.

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@gkassano i personally am grateful for this has really helped in Tz


Asante sana for the feedback.

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