From 15 to 19 August in Bahir Dar, the Nile BDC project on ‘targeting and scaling out’ joined with partner organization Amhara Regional Agricultural Research Institute (ARARI)  to deliver a Geographical Information System (GIS) training.

Targeted to the needs of agricultural research collaborators in the project, the training covered next to basic GIS knowledge, training on field data collection, use of GPS, data transfer, and creating maps based on hard copy topographic maps (geo-referencing).

The aim of the training was to increase GIS literacy among our partner research centers, so they will be able to use – and contribute to – the GIS tools that the project is developing.

Sixteen participants attended from ARARI, the Oromia Agricultural Research Institute (OARI), and the Ethiopian Water Harvesting Association (EWHA).

The training was based on a ‘learning by doing’ approach in which participants received a short theoretical introduction then explored and learned GIS manipulation using ArcGIS software. They were supported by a team of trainers: Dejene (ARARI), Menenlik  (ARARI), Yeneneneh (IWMI) and Catherine (ILRI/IWMI).

Feedback from the participants was very positive and the organizers are considering how to scale out further such training to meet the growing demand. One element is to develop a pool of trainers – this is likely to be taken up by the Blue Nile Authority.

Story contributed by Catherine Pfeifer