Machakos, Kenya - 27 September, 2022 In the week of 12 September, the SMART Partnership held a five-day intermediate-to-advanced training for over 40 participants in Machakos, Kenya. Participants represented over 30 different public and private organizations from eight African countries, namely: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Liberia, Ghana, Rwanda, Namibia and Madagascar.
The training was organized by WWF-Kenya - a SMART Partner - with trainers from WWF, ZSL, and the SMART Partnership. The event was generously supported by a grant from Augmentum focused on improving SMART Capacity in Africa, and is part of a series of trainings being delivered across the continent throughout 2022 and 2023.
“SMART’s technology tools are a powerful means for amplifying conservation efforts, but implementing those tools effectively, and using the resultant data to improve conservation requires skills, knowledge, and technical expertise. To help users develop these critical abilities, the SMART Partnership has committed to strengthen and expand our capacity building work, and to continue to grow and empower our community of practitioners and trainers. With Augmentum’s generous support, this is the first of a series of training events across Africa delivering on that commitment, and we’re working on a programme of global capacity initiatives for 2023,” said Anthony Dancer, Chief Capacity Officer, SMART Partnership.
Participants during the SMART capacity building training in Machakos, Kenya in September 2022.
The training focused on new developments and enhanced functionalities in the latest version of SMART’s software platform, SMART 7, which will be released in October 2022.
“Providing this group of users with a more powerful version of the tool and the skills to utilise it has great potential to improve conservation efforts in the region. New features such as the ability to upload data and update packages remotely on-the-fly is of huge importance to users who often support large sites with remote field outposts. The training focused on these exciting new developments in SMART as well as building the analytical capacity of users, empowering them on how to not only better collect data, but also analyse and utilise it for improved management at their respective sites.” said Alexander Wyatt, WWF, the lead trainer at the event.
Trainees participate in a SMART Mobile group exercise during SMART training in Machakos, Kenya.
The trainees, who have already been using the earlier SMART versions, lauded the new features in SMART, including a new user interface and over 1,000 icons, as well as new navigation features in SMART Mobile.
Supporting our Community for Conservation Success
“One of the strengths of SMART is the community of practice working on it ranging from the actual partnership itself to the people using it. Building on this partnership is crucial for conservation success. This week over 40 protected areas received training to improve their use of SMART to strengthen protected area management. These participants have been upskilled to improve their use of SMART and have created a local support network to ensure we grow from strength to strength,” said Drew McVey, Regional Wildlife Crime Technical Advisor, WWF Kenya.
Additional trainings are being offered in South Africa and Zambia this year and the SMART Partnership is planning webinars and online training courses as part of the launch SMART 7.
To hear about all future training opportunities, please join the SMART Community Forum.