In January this year, Sekakoh in partnership with Bristol Zoological Society initiated the Spatial Monitoring And Reporting Tool (SMART) patrols in the Benue National Park (BeNP)SMART has been identified as a more effective tool in protecting biodiversity_supporting anti poaching patrols and ecological monitoring. To deliver a successful training, there were two major phases of action.
1. Pre training visit
After completing the process of recruiting a consultant to lead the SMART training of 30 ecoguards in the Benue National Park, the consultant effected a pre-training visit to evelaute the level of the ecoguards and understand their awareness of SMART and to identify the materials required for a successful training. The evaluation visit was completed in October 2021. During the visit, the consultant organised working sessions with the conservation service and the MINTOUR team managing the hotellery facilities at Buffle Noir. At the end of the visit, it was agreed that a SMART training be delivered to all the 30 ecoguards of the BeNP and a lesser number (10) of ecoguards be trainned on the SMART data base management. The training was hosted by the Buffl Noire Hotel.
2. Training in data collection with SMART application and
For Four days, a SMART data collection training using SMART mobile and Cyber tracker were delivered to the conservation service of the BeNP. The 4 days training went on hitch free and practicals were organised at the end of the data collection session. Collected data was analysed by consultant and presented to the trainees at the end of the training.
3. Training on SMART data base management
In line with our objective of operationalizing SMART patrols in Benue, there was a second part of training that was allocated to a fewer number of ecoguards as this is the more computerised aspect of SMART. Managing the data base of SMART is premodial in redering it functional which permits informed decission making by the conservation service. The conservator was charged to select apt ecoguards who could each afford a laptop. The 5days training was led by same consultant who eloquently articulated the subject, referencing examplse from all around the Benue landscape. Both trainings were succesful.