ODK use in African primate conservation

May 17th, 2016 by Yaw Anokwa

Kourtney Stumpe is a volunteer with Children of Conservation and an environment science major at Georgia State University. She learned ODK so that she could develop forms that would be beneficial to the Pan-African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA). In this guest post, Kourtney describes her work deploying ODK at six PASA affiliated organizations in Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi, and South Africa.

Kenya_Colobus_Conservation

In 2014, the Pan-African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA) began exploring whether using Open Data Kit to compile and analyze information regarding animals being cared for in its member sanctuaries would be beneficial in identifying trends in illegal trade as well as law enforcement and confiscation.

PASA surveyed its members and found that there was an overwhelming interest in utilizing ODK. Not only would ODK provide each sanctuary with an avenue for more reliable, readily available and easily searchable records, but having the data in this format would allow the sanctuaries to more easily generate reports that are often required for funding and sustainability.

In addition, PASA's ability to compile the data from multiple sanctuaries would allow PASA to more readily identify larger trends and issues in conservation. Unfortunately, there was also a hesitation by the member sanctuaries to commit because of an inability to train staff and the inability to provide the time or manpower necessary to upload their current data into the database.

​In collaboration with the Jane Goodall Institute, the PASA​ ​set out to introduce ODK project at the PASA Strategic Development Conference in Nairobi in November of 2015.​ ​

In preparation for the Strategic Development Conference, I established a PASA ODK Aggregate server on Google App Engine that would house its member sanctuaries' data. I designed a universal form for the member wildlife centers to record essential details in reference to animal intakes and constructed a presentation that would not only showcase the application but begin to train individuals on how to use it effectively. PASA provided the administrative support to coordinate with those sanctuaries that would be participating in the first phase of the ODK deployment.

Following the Strategic Development Conference, I visited six PASA affiliated organizations in Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi, and South Africa. My Phase 1 report, Introducing Advanced Application Technology to African Wildlife Conservation is now online. Read it to find out what we learned when we deployed ODK.

Interested in supporting the work Kourtney is doing? Please donate to her GoFundMe project. Every little bit counts.