CartONG organized last week a 2-days training for the log students of Bioforce Institute in Lyon. A good opportunity to give them basic knowledge in mapping, that will be useful for them as future aid workers, and to inform them on the interest of geographic information!
We have been organizing this cycle of training for a few year now with our partners at Bioforce. This year, 36 students, who have never had any training on the topic, have attended the class. They have discovered the basic notions of mapping, and also how they can use it for their future work. It was also an opportunity to present them the various data sources used in the humanitarian field (including OpenStreetMap).
The training was delivered on QuantumGIS, an open source and free software quite fitting for occasional users, particularly in NGOs. The aim was also to show them the constraints that can arise while in the field when using these tools (in particular the lack of Internet connection!). The students were also trained to import GPS points on QGIS, a really useful feature for a log, and to use the software for thematic analysis.
Finally, they have practiced all they've learned with a mapping exercise on the Minkamman refugee camp in South Sudan, with real data provided by one of our partners.
This kind of formation is important not enough because it allows the students to learn skills that will be useful for them in their future job, but also because it makes them aware of the importance of geographic information and the pooling of data. And even if they don't use it directly on a daily basis, we hope that when they'll need it, they will keep a few good reflexes... or will be understanding when their GIS officer will ask them something!
This training should be renewed next year, we're also considering offering a new one for the WASH students of Bioforce. Besides, we keep enlarging or training offer: capacity building is one of our core missions, will it be by specific trainings for one organization or setting up shared training. In fact, we will offer one on ArcGIS before the summer, more info on it to come soon!
Bioforce headquarters in Lyon