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Four talented GISCorps volunteers recently completed two weeks of virtual training for faculty and staff at the Southern African Wildlife College, which was also be attended by staff from Peace Parks Foundation. The training focused on ArcGIS Online administration, data management, field data collection, mapping, and application development with specific attention paid to deploying and configuring the components of Esri’s Conservation Solutions. This mission was the first in a series of projects supported by National Geographic Society and Esri with the shared objective of contributing to the conservation of protected areas throughout Africa.

Southern African Wildlife College faculty and staff, in collaboration with Peace Parks Foundation, will weave the knowledge gained through this training into the curriculum at the College, which focuses on managing complex ecosystems, conserving wildlife, and empowering local communities. 

Through a long-term partnership between National Geographic Society and Esri, any protected areas in Africa can apply to receive ArcGIS Online and the Conservation Solutions for free. Graduates of the Southern African Wildlife College’s diploma program will be equipped to help conservation agencies and organizations successfully deploy the Conservation Solutions at parks and protected areas throughout Africa. 

The international team of volunteers selected for this mission were Shawn Morgan of Canada, Paul Hoeffler of the United States, Suchern Ong of Singapore, and Olinda Mombeyarara of South Africa. Shawn filled the role of mission lead, and he and Paul prepared and delivered the curriculum during seven training and workshop sessions in January and February. Suchern and Olinda provided additional support and expertise to training participants both in the virtual classroom and between classes in a dedicated Slack channel. Each of these volunteers has extensive ArcGIS Online and training experience and brought a unique set of skills and subject matter expertise to enrich the learning experience of training participants.

“The training offered to us by GISCorps has been exceptional. The level of expertise of our two trainers and two support mentors was amazing and made us feel in really safe hands. The care taken to structure the course to our specific needs made it far more useful than any standard training could hope to be. We really look forward to working more with GISCorps in the future.” – Dr. Cleo Graf, Manager of the Southern African Wildlife College’s Research & Development Department

Mission Complete.

Logos of Protected Area Management partners: the Southern African Wildlife College, Peace Parks Foundation, National Geographic Society, and Esri

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