This was a 3-year collaborative project that strengthened the scientific capacity and outputs of African institutions and research biologists. In 2010 four workshops were held in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda on "Developing successful research proposals". The workshops in 2011 were on "Communicating and disseminating research results". In 2012 workshops addressed "Designing research projects in the field" and "Effective Teaching Strategies for Biological & Environmental Scientists".
For full details and reports of the DRECA workshops, click here.
TBA’s workshop in Rwanda built skills in fundraising and scientific communication among the country’s up and coming research scientists. Sixteen participants from eight institutions took part, representing Government and non-government organisations engaged in the research and management of Rwanda’s natural resources. The workshop was organised by TBA alumni based at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s Karisoke Research Centre and was funded by the Rwanda Environment Management Authority, Global Environmental Facility and United Nations Development Programme.
Training themes included fundraising; scientific publishing; writing skills and communication skills. Participants received advice on their papers and proposals and set personal targets that they will work on for the next six months. Participants also received TBA’s skills series guides Scientific writing and publishing results and Fundraising guidelines that will help them continue to apply the skills they learned and teach others in their institutions.
The workshop received extremely positive comments on the quality of instruction and relevance of the workshop. All the participants said that they would share their new skills with colleagues back at their home institutions which will help multiply the impact of the training. The workshop identified data analysis, statistics and methods for research and monitoring as key priorities for future training.
““Every aspect of the training was
relevant to my work and I will use
all the skills gained to publish my work and do more research” .
The Specialist Training Workshop for 2007 was held from 1st - 4th May in Uganda. This workshop was funded by WCS - Uganda and the Tropical Biology Association. It was designed to enhance the capacity of conservation managers working for the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to raise funds, write scientific papers and communicate their work effectively to the general public, policy makers and the conservation community.
A total of 15 participants were trained during the workshop. Out of the total, 11 were Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Staff, 2 were drawn from Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS - Uganda ), and 1 from Makerere University and the Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation (ITFC - Uganda).
As pictured here, all participants received the TBA skills series Scientific writing & publishing results and Fundraising guidelines
Teachers and resource people for the workshop were drawn from the Tropical Biology Association (TBA), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS - Uganda), Makerere University, Wildlife Clubs of Uganda, and the New Vision Newspaper.
Download the ful TBA-WCS 2007 workshop report here (pdf).
"This is a very good kind of in-service training course needed by staff at various levels including the executive director."
The UWA director of research and monitoring
receiving the TBA skills guide Scientific writing
TBA held a workshop on writing for publication, fundraising and communicating results in collaboration with Makerere University, Uganda. Fifty individuals, from 23 institutions competed for the 19 places available on the workshop. The workshop aimed to enhance the capacity of institutions to fundraise and publish their work, and communicate their results to a diverse audience. It is expected that the participants will disseminate their new skills to staff at their home institutions afterwards.
The workshop aims were achieved through intensive teaching integrated with practical exercises, group discussions, presentations, and feedback sessions. Two visiting speakers complemented the teaching through talks on fundraising and case studies of research and conservation initiatives in Uganda. Eight participants gave talks on their own work as part of the module on communication skills.
The trainer-participant interaction was particularly good and the trainees contributed freely in discussions and remained engaged throughout the workshop. It is hoped that they would carry the same attitude, and go on to share their new skills with colleagues at their home institution or work station.
All participants received the TBA skills series guides Scientific writing & publishing results and Fundraising guidelines together with materials from the workshop teachers.
Several participants on the workshop were alumni from the TBA field courses. Robinah K Nanyunja (pictured) is one such alumnus who now works for Save our Planet Earth-Uganda. Skills learned on the workshop will be useful in her fund-raising activities for her new organisation.
Download the full TBA 2006 workshop report here (pdf).
"Such workshops should continuously be run in Uganda to enlighten more of STP. I am going to start helping friends and my institution to review their reports, proposals and publish my work too." Ugandan workshop participant.
The workshop targeted conservation scientists and park ecologists working for government, NGOs, academic, conservation and research institutions in Tanzania. Over 100 people applied for the 18 places on the workshop, and trainees recommended that the workshop be held more regularly because of the large number of upcoming conservation scientists in need of this kind of training.
One participant wrote "it is the best training I have ever participated [in]."
"My particular interest was in helping with ideas
and techniques to improve writing and organization skills for the preparation
of scientific papers, and in the skills required for oral presentation.
Our four days together was intensive but thoroughly enjoyable, and I believe
that both the attendees and the facilitators benefited from the workshop."
Workshop teacher, Martin Fisher 2005
"The STP workshop assisted me to get a very good
job as through that workshop I gained confidence to high extent particularly
from my presentation. My colleagues did their presentation on natural resources
issues, its problems and conservation of. In questions targeted at my talk,
I was able to give good and sufficient answers. What I can request to you
is that you can conduct more seminars to others for their future."
Jasmin Mushi, 2005 participant
To ensure that the workshop participants continue to apply their new skills and benefit from the training, the TBA has enrolled them in its Follow-up Support Programme. Through this programme, the participants will receive regular information on funding, research and training opportunities that will be matched according to individual professional interest.
This workshop was run in partnership with the National Museums of Kenya in Nairobi in 2004. Twenty participants attended the workshop representing seven Kenyan institutions including government departments, NGOs, and conservation and research institutions. The target group was researchers and conservation practitioners who were in a position to put into practice after the workshop the new skills they had learned . Resource people at the workshop came from institutions in Kenya and UK.
Combining lectures with practicals, the workshop taught skills in writing papers for publication, preparing funding proposals, and communicating results to a wider audience. A year later, a follow-up questionnaire was sent out to the participants who told us that four out of six scientific papers submitted had been accepted, and two trainees had been successful with their grant applications while two others were still waiting to hear results.
One told us:
"The proposals and scientific papers which I have successfully prepared have raised the scientific profile of the institution I have been working for since the training". (Kenyan participant)
Overall, the feedback gives a strong indication that the workshop was extremely useful in equipping the trainees with skills they need to write up scientific papers and competitive funding proposals, as well as building confidence and initiating a useful network of Kenyan biologists who may otherwise not have interacted at this level.
The third and final workshop forming part of the Darwin Initiative project “Combating Invasive Alien Plants threatening the East Usambara Mountains, Tanzania” took place on 31st January and 1st February 2008 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Launched in 2005, the three-year project involved partners from UK, Tanzania and New Zealand. The project combined research and training to build Tanzania's capacity to assess, monitor and manage invasive alien plants threatening the East Usambara forests and other natural environments in Tanzania.
The theme of the two days was management of invasive plants in tropical ecosystems. The first day continued the training component of the project with a focus on the practices and principles of managing tropical alien plants. This included practical exercises in developing management options for selected species in the East Usambaras. There were 11 trainees from 7 Tanzanian institutions taking part. On day two of the workshop 30 delegates (managers and decision makers), representing 18 institutions including 2 national newspapers, attended and participated in discussions on the way forward for monitoring and managing invasive plants in Tanzania by the different conservation sectors.
The workshop was honored to have Mr. Richard Muyungi, the Acting Director of Environment in the Vice President's office, Tanzania (representing his Director, Mr. Eric Mugurusi), close the workshop and present the trainees with certificates in recognition of each individual's contribution and engagements in project activities in the three-year period.
View the Usambara Invasive Plants website for more information.
This was the second workshop of Defra Darwin Initiative Project called Combating Invasive Alien Plants threatening the East Usambara Mountains, a collaborative project investigating the ecology and distribution of alien invasive plants in the Amani Nature Reserve.
The aim of the workshop was to teach Tanzanian conservation biologists up to date techniques in the risk assessment of invasive alien plant species. Specifically, the workshop was to illustrate the concept of risk assessment, provide instruction in the use of software to analyse the different types of risk posed by invasive plants, assist in developing priority lists and management goals boost attendees' understanding of the invasive plant species ecology, build institutional capacity as new skills are transferred after the workshop, catalyse links between ecologists nationally and internationally.
Download the full Darwin workshop report here (pdf).
View the Usambara Invasive Plants website for more information.
The workshop formed part of a Defra Darwin Initiative Project called Combating Invasive Alien Plants threatening the East Usambara Mountains. This is a collaborative project investigating the ecology and distribution of alien invasive plants in the Amani Nature Reserve, Tanzania, June 2006.
The target group for the workshop was plant ecologists and conservation scientists whose work is relevant to the study and management of alien plant species. Participants increased their understanding of the ecology and management of invasive plant species and learnt up to date field methods in surveying and monitoring alien plants. Much of the teaching was field-based, and lectures provided information on current concepts in this field.
Trainers came from established research and academic institutions in Tanzania and the UK.
"The training workshop was so important in building my capacity in research and added significantly to knowledge and skills pertaining to the subject. Moreover, it gave me a valuable opportunity to develop rigorous scientific thinking by exposing me to different personal interactions, sharing experiences, and exchanging scientific ideas with different scientists from various research and academic institutions within and outside Tanzania." Tanzanian workshop participant.
Download the full Darwin workshop report here (pdf).
View the Usambara Invasive Plants website for more information.
TBA's first training workshop on ecosystem services in Malaysia received extremely positive feedback. Held at the Sabah Forestry Department, Sandakan, in April, it was attended by 16 Malaysian and Indonesian forest managers, ecologists and conservation biologists from six organisations.
The workshop built an understanding of the concept of ecosystem services in the context of tropical forests and freshwater systems. Specifically, it:
The workshop and materials it provided is contributing to institutional capacity in ecosystem services since participants can apply new ideas and train others back at their own workplaces.
The Hotspots training workshop took place at the Amani Nature Reserve (ANR), from 13th to 23rd September 2008. The workshop was part of HOTSPOTS; an EU funded consortium that is working towards increasing the knowledge and understanding of biodiversity hotspots. The main aim of the training workshop was to link research and conservation in biodiversity hotspots.
17 participants including 9 European PhD research students from the HOTSPOTS programme and 8 African researchers and students working in biodiversity hotspots attended. The participants comprised 11 males and 6 females from 16 institutions in 3 African and 6 European countries.
Workshop trainers and resource persons came from the Tropical Biology Association and University of Dar es Salaam, Sokoine University of Agriculture, WWF Tanzania Programme Office, Tanzania Forest Conservation Group, Tanzania Nature Reserves and the Amani Nature Reserve.
With reference to the Eastern Afromontane and the Coastal Forests of Eastern Africa Hotspots, the workshop examined how natural resources that exist in hotspots can be effectively managed and what further information or resources are needed in order to do so. Specifically, the training workshop focused on:
The relationship between biodiversity hotspots and conservation at the international, national and local levels; this included field visits to see community-based projects and discussions with nature reserve managers.
Linking research and management; this involved a field survey and field trip plus practical exercises on priority setting and on creating a management plan for part of a biodiversity hotspot in an area of growing human pressure.
Writing proposals and career planning with a practical on proposal writing for conservation projects and a discussion on barriers to publishing.
Discussion on the way forward for the conservation and management of hotspots.
The combination of classroom teaching with hands-on field visits, and practical exercises and discussions exposed the participants to a variety of techniques for research, conservation and management of biodiversity.
The workshop was well received. The participants rated the workshop, the teaching, and the practical and discussion highly (mean scores of 4.65, 4.59 and 4.71 out of 5), respectively. All participants said that they learnt new ideas and that aspects they learnt during the training workshop will be useful in their careers.
The complete workshop report is available from the TBA office.
“The workshop idea was well thought. It has broadened my thinking on issues concerning conservation particularly on applying research results for conservation. If possible, the follow-up programme could be initiated so that it helps people to put things (teaching) into practice.” workshop participant
In February 2006 and 2007, TBA's director was invited by Aaranyak, a society for biodiversity conservation in Northeastern India, to help carry out workshops. These week long training programmes entitled Conservation Beyond Boundaries for young conservation workers took place at Manas and Orang National Parks. TBA are proud of this collaboration and hopes to be in invited to more workshops of this kind throughout Asia and Africa. See the report on the Aaranyak website for more details.
"I have been able to learn a lot within the short
time - it has changed my ways of looking and being analytical about write
ups, especially publications."
Unknown, STP Uganda 2007
"The training helped to improved my report writing
and be confident in presenting results. Since then I was successful in obtaining
Hildelitha B. Msita, STP 2005
"My participation in the STP prepared me for greater responsibilities in NCRC, which included proposal writing. I must say NCRC has been very successful in getting 4 proposals through in 2006 and have already received positive responses to 4 other concept papers."
Victor Mwiningbang Mombu, STP 2005
"The STP training helped me to build my capacity of writing good proposals. I was able to write my MSc. proposal which was accepted by the University and I was allowed to continue with my second year of research."
Ezekiel Edward, STP 2005
"The training added to my skill in writing my scholarship application to under take an M.Sc. in Applied Ecology and Conservation."
Mike Anthony Kiragu Mwangi, STP 2004
"The training on proposal writing and scientific communication by the TBA improved my proposal writing skills and scientific communication. Through this, I managed to get a PhD graduate research assistantship at the University of New Brunswick , Canada."
Thomas O. Ochuodho, STP 2004
"The short training in proposal development and communicating scientific results helped me to sharpen my skills in proposal writing and presentation of my findings especially in workshops and conferences. Some proposals I have developed have been funded."
Cornelius Matingi, STP 2004