Citizen Science in Tanzania … the new magic bullet?

On the 9th of February, IOB (UAntwerp), Mzumbe University and the Embassy of Belgium in Tanzania jointly organised a seminar exploring  “CITIZEN SCIENCE IN TANZANIA …THE NEW MAGIC BULLET?”.

Some eighty participants from 10 different countries from (inter) national civil society, academia, government and citizen monitors participated in the seminar.

First, two interactive panel sessions were organized in which different statements related to the citizen science and community based monitoring were discussed.
In the first panel the audience and a panel of (inter)national experts and a women community monitor discussed the usefulness of citizen science and community based monitoring for policy making, the potential of CS/CBM to deliver better and cheaper data and to save lives. Whether CS/CBM is gender inclusive, could trigger empowerment and allows to collect data on and put gender-sensitive topics on the agenda of policy makers and society at large were issues on which participants exchanged in group discussions in the second panel round.

Next, a citizen science fair was organized featuring 17 projects which visually displayed their main activities, stakeholders involved, impact and challenges. Projects were selected from different countries and different sectors as to allow exchange of experiences and sharing lessons learned across sectors and countries. Projects from Asia included e.g. the BRAC Community Score Cards initiative that enabled citizens in Bangladesh to measure service delivery performance and helped improve accountability mechanisms and the Transboundary Resilience Project in Nepal that installed people-to-people communication among flood affected communities in India and Nepal to build early warning systems and strengthen climate smart and flood resilient livelihoods.

The ATRAP project in Uganda showcased its novel snail monitoring approach, while the Jane Goodall Institute presented its Landscape Conservation project in Western Tanzania. Also a delegation of women monitors and local government officials involved in our own our Women Water Watch project took advantage of the forum to lively explain WwW to the enthusiastic audience.

On behalf of the colleagues of the wWw team, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for inviting us to the meeting and seeing that it is valuable (…) I am very happy and feel that I contribute ideas.” a Women Water Watch monitor

At the end of the fair, two 2023 COMMUNITOR awards were granted. The award of the Jury, including a representative from academia, government and the Embassador of Belgium in Tanzania, went to the LEAD project on Landscape restoration. In the project community collaboration has facilitated restoration of the barren grazing rangelands of Pembamoto village in Tanzania’s Dodoma region. So far about 80 hectares of land have regenerated vegetation while income derived from harvested grass is invested back to village development projects and regreening of other drylands in the village.

The audience elected the Fuatilia Maji project in which students and staff from Mzumbe University, IOB and 30 community monitors have monitored public water sources in 20 rural villages and household drinking water in 2 villages of Tanzania’s Mvomero district. The project has amongst others increased technical skills, awareness about water quality and data availability for evidence-based policy making.

Remembering that I have also contributed to this project, makes me feel proud” a former Mzumbe student monitor

Thanks to all poster presenters and congrats to the winners!

In the end all participants left with the gift of new insights, inspiration and networks … seeds for new citizen science collaborations.
And COMMUNITOR will surely welcome many new members…

This blog has been jointly created by Nathalie Holvoet, Sara Dewachter, Juel Asm, Narayan Gyawali, Rajab Mgonja, Sharifa Mrisho, Solomon Mwije, Doreen Kyando, Alellie Sobrevinas.



Citer ce billet
Sara Dewachter (2023, 11 février). Citizen Science in Tanzania … the new magic bullet? Women Water Watch. Consulté le 14 juin 2024, à l’adresse https://doi.org/10.58079/vtcr

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