MFMR Trains Fisheries Stakeholders On Data Collection

 

By Max A. Konneh, Press Officer, MFMR

Following the successful implementation of a pilot project, aimed at capturing and transmitting Artisanal Fisheries Landing Data to the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, through an innovative Mobile Phone Application, Open Data Kit (ODK), the ministry has thought it prudent to expand  the programme to other major fishing communities, starting with the training of members of Community Management Associations and Enumerators on Artisanal Data Collection through  ODK Application in various fish landing sites  including, those in Goderich, Shenge, Sulima, Konakridi, Bailor, Yeliboya, Portee, Tisana, Bonthe, Tombo, and  Mama Beach.

Giving an Overview of the training programme held at the Goderich Fish Landing Site, the Fisheries Officer in charge of Goderich Fisheries Outstation, Geraldine Spaine who also welcomed guests and trainees to the ceremony, described the Data Collection System as a cost effective means of capturing “real time catch data” in the Artisanal Fisheries Sector, adding that the project which started with support from the Isle of Man, continued during the first year of the Global Environmental Facility- Additional Finance Project (GEF-AF) implementation with a desire to get a clearer and comprehensive sample of Fish Landings in the subsector.  She thanked the donors for their support and participants for their cooperation. Speaking on the significance of the Open Data Kit Application, the Lead Facilitator, Sia Catherine Saffea said, the main objective of the system is to strengthen good governance and sustainable management of the fisheries industry.  She intimated that the concept of Open Data Kit, which is a replacement for paper forms with support from geo-location, images, audio clips, video clips and barcodes as well as numerical and textual answers, will expand data collection exercise to other landing sites. She described Open Data Collect Application as a suite of open source applications that helps organizations engaged in enumerator- mediated data collection, evaluate complex logic to control the display of data and imposes constraints on their responses, supports groups of repetitive questions and data collection in multiple languages, enhance effective storage and management of information necessary for the smooth running of the ministry among others. She urged the participants to be focused and assist the ministry realize its objectives. The Fisheries Officer in charge of Northern Region, Alhaji Dabo who described the system as unique, said it will ensure the ministry is provided with vital information on a daily basis. He pledged his ministry’s determination to monitor the process regularly and entreated the participants to take the training seriously and refrain from sending fake and inaccurate data to the ministry. He said participants in all the designated areas will be provided with mobile phones and other logistics to help them go through the practical sessions, collect and disseminate information to the ministry electronically. He disclosed plans by the ministry to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Community Management Associations in relation to the successful implementation of the programme and appealed for their cooperation.  Making a presentation on the topic, Understanding how to navigate the software, Information, Communication and Technology Officer in the Ministry of Fisheries, Mohamed Sesay, said that given it importance in national development, ICT has become the vogue in society, given its importance in national development. He encouraged the participants to take the training very seriously as it will help in building their capacities not only for the current situation but also prepare them for future opportunities. A participant, Alpha Koroma described the training as “apt” an on behalf of his colleagues promised to use knowledge gained for the intended purpose and  thanked the ministry of fisheries and donors for giving them the opportunity lean more. Distribution of Android Mobile Phones to participants by officials from the ministry, formed part of the programme.