Strengthening the capacity of surveillance officers to collect data with the SMART Mobile tool
In April 2023, surveillance officers in Taï National Park (PNT) took part in a capacity building workshop on using the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART), which is used to plan, collect and analyse data.
The activity was part of the PNT 2023 Operation Plan under the "Surveillance and Protection" management programme, and aimed to make the park’s surveillance units operational through the use of the mobile version of SMART. The training was set up by GIZ through its Governance and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources Program (Pro2GRN) in synergy with its project to strengthen ecological connectivity in the Taï-Grebo-Krahn-Sapo (TGKS) forest complex, as part of the technical support provided to the South-West Zone Directorate (DZSO) of the Ivorian Office of Parks and Reserves (OIPR) for the effective management of the Taï National Park.
As well as agents from the PNT, officials and agents of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) in charge of the Grebo-Krahn and Sapo National Parks in Liberia also took part in the training workshop, as part of a transboundary collaboration measure.
The Taï – Grebo-Krahn – Sapo Forest Landscape (TGKS) represents the largest area of well-preserved tropical rainforest in West Africa, but faces multiple threats, including continuous forest clearing for agriculture, fragmentation of wildlife habitats, poaching and gold panning, etc. These pressures, which are particularly intense in the rural area between the Taï National Park and the Cavally River, on the border between Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia, require cross-border management, particularly in terms of surveillance. It is in this context that that the training was organised for TGKS landscape protected areas monitoring officers to collect data with the SMART Mobile tool, in two sessions from 12 to 16 April 2023 in Côte d’Ivoire.
The first session took place in Buyo, north-east of the PNT, on 12 and 13 April 2023 and brought together 27 surveillance officers (from the sectors of ADK/V6, Soubré, Djapadji and Soubré Mobile Brigade). The second session was held from 15 to 16 April at the Tropical Ecology Research Station (SRET), inside the Park, on the west side. This was attended by 16 agents of the Ivorian Office of Parks and Reserves – South-West Zone Management (OIPR-DZSO) (from the sectors of Djouroutou, Taï and the mobile brigade of Zagné). The highlight of this second session was the presence of a Liberian delegation composed of 8 officials and agents of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), the body in charge of forest conservation and sustainable management of natural resources in Liberia. They included the head of Sapo National Park, the head of Grebo-Krahn National Park, and six officers from both parks.
The training sessions provided by Colonel Roland TIEDOUE were accompanied by practical data collection exercises using SMART Mobile in the vicinity of the PNT with the aim of acquainting surveillance actors with the SMART Mobile tool. The workshop was timely as new features have been integrated into the latest version of SMART.
Indeed, the latest version (V.7.5.6) improves the collection, transfer and processing of field data. The training also ensured capacity building of Ivorian and Liberian actors in the sustainable management of natural resources, ecological corridors and effective transboundary management of protected areas of the landscape.
In total, the training allowed 49 agents and 2 managers of the structures in charge of the Protected Areas of the TGKS landscape, in this case, the OIPR and the FDA, to (i) Strengthen their knowledge on the handling of SMART (Mobile) on the Ivorian side; (ii) Be introduced to the use of the SMART (Mobile) tool on the FDA side; (iii) Strengthen their knowledge of patrol data collection.