To ensure the benefits of GRID3’s work are sustainable over the long term, the programme places a heavy emphasis on capacity strengthening. This is achieved through close collaboration with in-country partners who work with GRID3 to identify gaps in geospatial knowledge and skills and then tailor training and other activities towards developing those skills. Using learning resources that link foundational knowledge to specific data applications, this approach has already proven successful in Zambia and Nigeria.
“To run successful analyses and shape effective interventions, participants in GRID3 workshops must not only understand the theory around the power of geospatial data, but also be able to apply the techniques to the real world,”
explains Graeme Hornby, GRID3 Capacity Strengthening Lead.
During a GRID3 scoping mission in 2019, the University of Zambia (UNZA) expressed interest in securing GRID3’s help to improve both the quality and reach of geospatial data in the country. In response, GRID3 Zambia held its first TSP course in June 2019 at the university. The course provided students with a thorough grounding in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) principles and core functions, as well as in demographic applications. During this course, GRID3 collaborated with UNZA staff to review and adapt GRID3 materials to the local context and to certify participants as GRID3 trainers. The workshop equipped UNZA participants with materials and approaches that made it possible for them to deliver future GRID3 training themselves; UNZA successfully delivered its first GRID3 GIS workshop to 20 representatives from the Zambian government in September 2019, focusing on using GIS to conduct spatial analyses of demographic and socioeconomic data.
GRID3 is currently in talks with several government ministries to conduct further capacity strengthening around the application of GRID3 Zambia population estimates and its Zambia data hub. To that end, UNZA has proposed giving a group of trainers the designation of “teacher” on GRID3’s Learning Management System (LMS), thereby allowing them to organise and facilitate the requested trainings at the beginning of 2021.
“For sustainable impact, we have to ensure that regular training workshops are run across the country, independently or with GRID3’s direct support or involvement. It is key for participants to continuously use the acquired skills and produced GRID3 datasets to address challenges. Joining the TSP has allowed for GIS skills to be strengthened and sustained at national level, which might not have been possible without GRID3 support in the first place,”
explains Gillie Cheelo, Chief Cartographer, at UNZA.
The TSP approach is likewise making inroads in GRID3’s work in Nigeria. Since November 2018, GRID3 Nigeria has partnered with the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) to improve capacity around geospatial data. This partnership has led to in-depth training workshops that improved the capacity of NASRDA representatives. Thanks to these engagements and workshops, NASRDA representatives have become fluent enough in a method of training others that they will be delivering GRID3 GIS training courses to ministries, departments, and agencies across states, in addition to integrating, harmonising, and merging any government-hosted geospatial data into the GRID3 Nigeria data portal.
The COVID-19 pandemic, however, disrupted plans for deploying the geospatial data capacity strengthening strategy from early 2020, which aimed then to start training GIS staff across various states. NASRDA is now liaising with the GRID3 Nigeria team to refresh their training skills using GRID3’s online learning management system, and plans to deliver GIS courses to the Federal Capital Territory and six other states in early 2021.
“The recent achievements between GRID3 Nigeria and NASRDA represent a key milestone for the development of geospatial data systems across Nigeria. We have the responsibility to support states in joining us on this journey and GRID3’s support in strengthening the skills of our trainers is something our staff is looking forward to,”
comments Dr. Matthew Adepoju, Deputy Director, Strategic Space Applications Department of NASRDA.