Wetlands International Africa (WIA) organised a 10-day West and Central Africa Training of Trainers (ToT) course, which started on 2 November 2009 to improve wetland and waterbird management capacity. Furthermore, awareness was built amongst the representatives from the Francophone African countries on flyway conservation in Western and Central Africa.
High level of motivation
“It was exciting to see the WOW Flyway Training Kit being put into practice and to see the participants actively using and adapting the presentations, flyway games and other materials from the kit. I am especially encouraged that participants have decided to set up their own network following the workshop, demonstrating their high level of motivation” said Tim Dodman, who is also one of the main authors behind the WOW Flyway Training Kit.
Evelyn Moloko, Coordinator for the African Initiative at the AEWA Secretariat: “The workshop conveyed a lot of relevant information related to flyway conservation and was a good opportunity for participants to exchange their experiences and to begin thinking in a flyway context”.
Training Kit modules
All three modules of the WOW Flyway Training Kit were covered, which emphasized the role and importance of African sites for migratory waterbirds and their links with other sites along the flyways, the different elements that come into play during the migration cycles and the need for communication and cooperation amongst the different actors involved along the entire flyways.
Presentations on different topics from the WOW Flyway Training Kit were prepared and delivered by the participants themselves, encouraging a participatory approach; these were interspersed with a number of group exercises and games illustrating flyway conservation concepts. For example, one of the exercises highlighted the importance of a network of critical sites for waterbirds and the factors which play a role in the different stages of migration such as habitat destruction, availability of food and other human activities.
Start of a process
“The Cameroon training course was a good start in the process of building capacity for flyway scale conservation of waterbirds and their habitats within the West and Central African region”, said Abdoulaye Ndiaye from the Wetlands International office in Dakar. “I hope that the knowledge gained in the context of this workshop will be transferred by the participants through a number of national workshops foreseen in each country”.
The Cameroon workshop was second in a series of regional Training of Trainers (ToT) workshops planned in the framework of the WOW, aiming to enhance flyway conservation of waterbirds in the Africa and Eurasia Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) region. It follows the first WOW ToT for the Middle East region which took place in Amman, Jordan in August 2009 and precedes future ToTs planned for Anglophone countries from the Eastern and Southern African region and for Central Asia in 2010; furthermore in the framework of the WOW’s sister project “WetCap” a similar training aims to involve the North African countries in mid-2010.
The workshop in Limbe, Cameroon was organised by WIA, Senegal in collaboration with the Garoua Wildlife School in Cameroon within the framework of the WOW Project with additional financial support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Present at the workshop were 20 participants from the Francophone African countries of Benin, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo. The participants included representatives from government institutions as well as national and international NGOs.
In addition, representatives from three North African countries (Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco) took part; their participation was supported by the WetCap project, a 3-year project developed under the umbrella of the AEWA, which builds on the WOW Project and specifically aims to strengthen waterbird and wetland conservation capacities in North Africa.
The training course, was jointly facilitated by Tim Dodman (UK), Abdoulaye Ndiaye (Wetlands International, Senegal) and Aliou Daouda (Benin).
Challenges to flyway conservation
The training course was officially opened by Mr. Koulagna Koutou Denis, Secretary General of the Cameroon Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF) on behalf of the Minister, who said “The timing of this course is opportune as we are facing various challenges in the sub-region related to flyway conservation concepts that include environmental degradation and loss of habitats and lack of awareness in different parts of the region.”