The Walking Detective™ is a toolkit featuring Ghedi, a fictional ten year old Somali refugee who makes his home in Kansas City. His name means “a traveller” or “born during travel” in Somali and that’s what he does best. He thinks about walking and he talks about walking. He walks and rides his bike to school everyday.
With The Walking Detective™, real kids can conduct walking audits to find clues and collect evidence to show how walkable their communities are. They can build a case report to show city officials what things are working well and what things need to be improved.
A scoring guide helps them evaluate sidewalks, crosswalks, traffic, safety and amenities like parks and benches. They take photos, draw pictures and make notes as evidence. Ghedi’s character was created by Andrea Clark to empower kids to speak out for safe places to walk, bike and play.
She met kids like Ghedi through her work in Refugee and Immigration Services, like New Roots for Refugees, at Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas.
“When I spent time with families, I saw the difficulties they faced with transportation on a daily basis,” Andrea said. “First they have to learn English to get a driver’s license. Then they have to make enough money to afford a car. And their neighborhood is probably not very walkable, which is especially important for kids trying to get to school.”