Schmidt Organizes Data Collection Training Workshop in Tanzania
In July, CRP's Associate Professor Stephan Schmidt, along with the Honeyguide Foundation and ESRI Eastern Africa, organized a two-week data collection training workshop at Kilimanjaro Medical Christian College in Moshi, Tanzania. The workshop aimed to improve the capability of partner institutions to gather data, conduct spatial analysis, monitor and evaluate programs and projects, and ultimately improve decision making in three fields: public health, wildlife conservation, and land tenure.
The village of Mweka, located on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania, was selected for the field training exercise. Students participated in an information gathering session with Mweka community leaders, and then divided into four teams. The teams utilized mobile data collection tools, such as Open Data Kit, on their smart phones to gather and aggregate geo-referenced information. One team collected information on biodiversity by mapping the occurrence of both native and exotic tree species. A second group collected spatial data on agricultural practices and the occurrence of cavity breeding bird nest sites. Another group gathered household level demographic information and health practices for the village of Mweka. The fourth team worked with community leaders and village elders in Mweka to map the boundaries between existing subvillages. This data was analyzed and interpreted by the students, and each group presented their findings at the end of the workshop.
"We were very pleased with the outcome of the workshop: we were able to develop new partnerships, strengthen existing ones, and meet a growing demand for quality data collection training," says Schmidt.
Schmidt received a grant from the Cornell Institute for African Development to sponsor the workshop. In addition, ESRI Eastern Africa supplied technical assistance and a trainer, and both Mweka College and the Honeyguide Foundation helped to organize and provide expert assistance for the field excursions.
For the next phase of the project, Schmidt plans on organizing a "training of trainers" workshop and developing curriculum for the participating universities and organizations.
By Rebecca Bowes