REPORT OF ACTIVITIES SCGIS-MADAGASCAR 2006 - 2007
1 - GENERALITIES
Located in the Indian Ocean, Madagascar is a big island and rich in biodiversity. However, it faces a big problem of deforestation and in the follow-up of fauna and flora. Due to the lack of education, aid, information especially for the population living close by the national park or the natural reserves, few of the conservation projects failed relatively.
Only international NGOs and few local organizations currently use GIS for the management of their activities. However, almost NGOs or associations or the students with a conservation objective cannot afford to use of GIS due to the cost of the equipment and training. Also, the possibilities that GIS can offer are still under dark for them. Therefore, this information is fundamental to encourage all these NGOs and associations, working in the domain of conservation and development to use GIS. The non-deep knowledge of GIS in the Universities of Madagascar leads the ignorance about the GIS. Also, any information related to GIS appears in the media or documents.
We have "Foiben'ny Taosarintanin'i Madagasikara" or the Geographical and Geodesic National Institute of Madagascar (governmental organization) which is the unique institution that produces maps in Madagascar for many years. This institution provides high costly GIS training , that many cannot afford. There is also two establishments representing the ESRI-France for the sale of the ArcView and ArcGIS softwares and only offer GIS training for their customers. These commercial establishments are the "Maki Engineering" and "Mada Geomatics."
Briefly, in Madagascar the projects of conservation and development are necessary for a reliable development . After few audits, many projects failed for several reasons. One of the reasons is that they do not use GIS as tool for monitoring and activities tracking because of the lack of budget. Some of them never heard about GIS.
Our action is to inform them about the utilization and the possibilities of GIS and we provide free training for the members of SCGIS-Madagascar.
2 - OBJECTIVES OF THE SCGIS-MADAGASCAR
The objectives of the SCGIS-Madagascar are the next one:
- To provide the permanent technical support to the members evolving in the world of the conservation and the development
- To create a SIG network with the recipients of purses offered by the SCGIS International aiming to improve and to strengthen the relations between them and has create a group of experts in SIG
- To reinforce the SCGIS-Madagascar by the growth of the adherence of the members
3 - THE ACTIVITIES OF THE SCGIS-MADAGASCAR
3.1 Membership and advantages with SCGIS-Madagascar
A member of the SCGIS-Madagascar pay an annual fee about 30 US dollars, and will get a member card, acting as badge for other opportunities. The member can get three , and free GIS classes followed by permanent technical support. At the end of each class, the SCGIS Madagascar conducts a follow up with each member, their activities and even visit their intervention area. Almost all these members don't have computers and GIS softwares and they have the possibility to come to the SCGIS office to review or to make some exercises.
The members are: engineers, students, individual consultants, teachers, "conservationnists ",... from different non governmental organizations and public services. Some members plan to use the GIS in future and others already use GIS in their activities and want to get more knowledge for application of new GIS software.
The SCGIS-Madagascar also organizes meetings for the members for an exchange of information and sharing experiences.
Many NGOs, associations and students really need the SCGIS to help them .The reason why SCGIS Madagascar spreads its activities currently in other regions.
3.2 Strategy of SCGIS Madagascar
Our main strategy is to inform the public about the existence of the SCGIS Madagascar and its activities including GIS training formation in SIG to demonstrate it that GIS is a tool of excellence for the project of conservation and development in Madagascar by broadcast broadcasts and radiophoniques, and to reinforce the knowledge of the former members continually in SIG while informing them on the evolution of this tool. Also, we try to decentralize the SCGIS-Madagascar in order to increase the number of adherence of the members currently, descended of the provinces others that Antananarivo and that, for a regional aim or even national.
3.3 The partners of SCGIS-Madagascar
The SCGIS-Madagascar office is currently at the "National Institute of Tourism and Inn” in Antananarivo, the capital city. In partnership with this establishment, we organize GIS training for the students in tourism and in ecotourism and in "tourist entreprenariat» : ArcView and ArcGIS, creation of tourist and ecotourist circuits, and building of database, cartography, GPS... This establishment is planning to integrate the GIS like a fully-fledged discipline but they do not have any adequate materials: computers, video projectors, training room for 35 to 40 students.
One of our partners is the REPC_WCS or the Network of the Educators and Professionals for the Conservation" finds a strategy to teach GIS at the university with the department of Geography, Agronomic Sciences, the Natural Sciences . This network regroups WCS, WWF, University of Antananarivo, National office of the environment, Department of Waters and Forests.
3.4 The activities of SCGIS-Madagascar
3.4.1 GIS training
For the years 2006-2007, the registered members are to the number of 60, that means, an increase of 10% in relation to the previous years. It supposes that the student and professional population begins has be interested of the SIG that becomes, for them, an inescapable tool for their studies and their work. The activities of formation are centered currently on the ArcGIS that, compared with ArcView, is more convenient in use and more satisfing in the results. Unfortunately, very few organizations use ArcGIS softwares because these one are very expensive.
However, several members have found of work around the GIS and made proof of their expertises in GIS to their respective employers. What is very positive for us.
3.4.2 Installation of GIS units
In collaboration with other regional organizations , we have installed some GIS units in place in the other regions: Itasy and Amoron'i Mania. After having trained the persons responsible with GIS, we both conceived the installation of GIS units, composed of 4 to 5 technicians. They will assure the follow-up and the assessment of the activities of their projects by using GIS.
The results were positive since the GIS helped them a lot to value their activities and to control the management of their project better.
Next year, other regions will have the intention to follow this way for having better results in their action.
3.4.3 Visits in the fields of the future" Ecological Village"
This project will be able to be implanted in the midwest of Madagascar. In collaboration with an association named "Amades", we had some meetings there with the authorities. We showed them the example of the "ecological village" of Auroville in India. They are really interested by this project that is a big first step in Madagascar if it achieves itself. Also, it coincides with the politics of "Green Revolution", initiated currently by the Malagasy state. We have contacted Mr Prashant Hedao who is the expert in this domain and that will be able to help us in the design and in the realization of this project. We are discussing on the place of efficient implantation of this project because there is a proposition of 3 sites that present all some assets.
4. THE CONSTRAINTS OF SCSGIS-MADAGASCAR
Many opportunities exist: invitations from different organizations that work in the conservation, in natural reserves or in national parks, or during the environment day that takes place in other provinces, but it's impossible for us to go outside Antananarivo because we do not have budget allocated for that. The annual fee that we get from each member only assure the maintenance of computers and to purchase of their accessories (ink for printer, papers,...).
Also, we don't have the possibility to do the follow-up of GIS units implanted in other regions. Even for preparation of the installation of the future "ecological village", my displacements are very limited.
About the materials such as the computers that were used during more of 6 years are insufficient when it is about training several people. They need to be renewed. Our main problem is that we don't have GPS and when we are in the fields, we have to borrow other organizations' Gps.
Fortunately, we know how to use this tool: collection of geographical data and conversion into Laborde ( specific projection for Madagascar only) projection for cartography .
The SCGIS-Madagascar has an important place in GIS domain in Madagascar. However, it has to be equipped with more modern and more appropriate materials for GIS courses (computers, GPS, software,...) even if the materials in our possession work again perfectly. Also, we would like to get help financially to be able to participate in different events related to the conservation of environment and to give a good image to the SCGIS that is an international organization that can take an efficient part to development and to conservation of the biodiversity of Madagascar.
Patrick Alan RAKOTOZANANY