BIOPAMA conducts a Pilot Visit in Madagascar

BIOPAMA pilot visit

BIOPAMA team together with the Director General in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (DGEF) Dr, Herizo Rakotovololonalimanana, on the far left.

RCMRD together the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC) are visiting Antananarivo, Madagascar this week for a data gathering and networking exercise to us understand the priorities of Madagascar in terms of Protected Areas management, governance and equity under the BIOPAMA project. Key goals for BIOPAMA include getting high-quality conservation-relevant information to policy and decision makers in forms they can use, and supporting communities of best practice.


Purpose of the Pilot Visit

Madagascar in one of the three pilot countries that will be visited these year. The other two being Botswana and Tanzania. The aims of these visits are listed below:

1)    Identifying needs and get country inputs on the Regional Resources Hub (RRH) and Regional Reference Information System (RRIS)
2)    Demonstrating the functionalities of the RIS and establish a workflow of feeding data into the RRIS
3)    Provide guidance to software/GIS/ Tool development in line with the country needs and priorities
4)    Conducting a data audit to identifying key information and data available around the area of management effectiveness and governance and equity that could be linked into the RRH and the State of Protected Area (SoPA) report.
5)    Collecting data and information for the SoPA and the RRH
6)    Expand the RRH network in the region and build a useful resource for policy development and decision-making.

More information about BIOPAMA programme can be accessed here


About Madagascar

madagascar location map in africa

 Fact Sheet

•    Capital: Antananarivo
•    Population: 25 million
•    Area: 587,041 sq km (226,658 sq miles)
•    Major languages: Malagasy (official), French
•    Major religions: Indigenous beliefs, Christianity
•    Life expectancy: 64 years (men), 67 years (women)

Source UN, World Bank


Country Profile 

Madagascar is the world’s fourth largest island. It’s situated off the southeast coast of Africa, Having developed in isolation, the island nation is famed for its unique wildlife. It is home to unique flora and fauna and has good soil and abundant natural resources.


Madagascar is among the countries hardest hit by global climate change. It is particularly affected by frequent cyclones and periodic drought, which damage infrastructure and, increasingly, destroy harvests. Uncontrolled expansion of agriculture and forestry poses a growing threat to woodlands, soils and biodiversity. Madagascar is one of the non-contracting member states at RCMRD.

GMES and Africa partners convene to create solutions to Africa’s development challenges

African development experts and institutions will today end a five-day meeting in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, that weaved together strategies and mechanisms of delivering on the services they are mandated to provide under the banner of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security and Africa and Africa). A joint initiative of the African Union Commission and the European Commission, GMES and Africa aims to address the growing needs of African countries to access and use Earth Observation (EO) data for the implementation of sustainable development policies, management of the environment and natural resources, as well as monitoring of humanitarian operations in Africa.

The GMES and Africa Coordinator, who is also the African Union Commission’s Space Science Expert, Dr. Tidiane Ouattara, describes the meeting as an opportunity for the participants from different thematic backgrounds to share experience and forge ideas on the design and development of Water and Natural Resources services. “It enables them to plan together training and capacity development activities, and drive the operationalization of ICT tools and digital platforms created to facilitate seamless communication among stakeholders”, he observes. Some of the institutions and experts under the GMES and Africa banner have extensive and cross-cutting experience in service delivery on the programme’s four thematic pillars and will use the Dakar convergence to impart best practice ideas and models to their peers.


GMES and Africa is built on aspirations of the African Agenda 2063, which craves for a prosperous, peaceful and integrated Africa, and for a robust and responsive African outer space programme. It focuses on thematic areas reflecting Africa’s developmental priorities, including Water and Natural Resources, and is implemented through consortia of regional and national institutions across the continent. The Dakar meeting, which will also be attended by officials from the AU’s Regional Economic Communities and organizations, and from European technical institutions, is a platform to discuss and provide solutions to the implementation of the four pillars of GMES and Africa, including Infrastructure and Data, Products and Services, Training and Capacity Development, as well as Outreach, Awareness and Engagement.

Part of the RCMRD-GMES team attended the five-day meeting in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, to weave together strategies and mechanisms of delivering on the services they are mandated to provide under the banner of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security and Africa (GMES and Africa). The Centre is implementing three applications i.e. Land Degradation Monitoring & Assessment, Wetlands Monitoring & Assessment and Open Geographical Regional Reference Vector Database for water and & agro-ecological zoning. As a RIC, three main partners will help with the implementation of the RCMRD project . They are Rwanda Water and Forestry Authority (RWFA), Ethiopian Geo-Spatial Information Agency (EGIA) and Makerere University. 

RCTI Lecturers Undergo Competency-Based Curriculum Training

Lecturers at the Regional Training Centre Institute (RCTI) recently undertook a Competency Based Education and Training Courses – CBET course. The training was administered by the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Curriculum Development Assessment and Certification Council (TVET CDACC). The workshop aimed to provide support for the ongoing competency-based curriculum reform on teacher education of the Kenyan government. It focused on deepening the understanding of teacher educators on competency-based curriculum, pedagogy, instructional strategies and assessment, high quality rubric design, the teacher professional development policy framework and the Kenya Professional Teaching Standards.

The four-day workshop used the cooperative learning base group approach, where participants worked in small groups to encourage group activities and discussions, reflection, feedback, peer review activities and presentations. The workshop covered learner-centered instructional strategies and assessment practices, such as multiple intelligences, a method that teachers can use to evaluate their own as well as learner’s learning styles to understand how to approach learners in a learner-centered manner.

Kenya has developed seven basic education core competencies that all students are required to have. These competencies include: (1) communication and collaboration, (2) critical thinking and problem solving, (3) imagination and creativity, (4) citizenship, (5) digital literacy, (6) learning to learn and (7) self-efficacy. The competencies progress as students move up through grade levels. Therefore, the participants developed competency descriptors and indicators across several grade levels for specific learning outcomes.

At the end of the training, all teachers are expected to acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for effective implementation of CBC, apply innovative pedagogical approaches and models, demonstrate competencies in assessment and be self- reflective, self-improving and supportive learners themselves. The Competency-Based Curriculum for early years education was rolled out in pre-primary 1 and 2, and grades 1,2 and 3 across Kenya early in January 2019.

SAR Handbook Released at GFOI Plenary 2019

The Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Handbook , a Comprehensive Methodologies for Forest Monitoring and Biomass Estimation was released during the GFOI Plenary 2019 will be held in Maputo, Mozambique between April 8 and 11 April 2019. This Handbook contains a collection of state-of-the-art methods and theoretical background to facilitate the use of SAR data for forest monitoring and biomass estimation. The SAR Handbook was edited by Africa I. Flores-Anderson, Kelsey E. Herndon, Rajesh B. Thapa, and Emil Cherrington.

Chapters were authored by SAR experts Franz Meyer, Josef Kellndorfer, Paul Siqueira, Sassan Saatchi, Marc Simard, and Hans Andersen. SERVIR hub point-of-contacts contributed greatly to the international trainings and material development, especially Phoebe Oduor (RCMRD/SERVIR-Eastern & Southern Africa), Bako Mamane (AGRHYMET/SERVIR-West Africa), Rajesh Thapa (ICIMOD/SERVIR-Hindu Kush-Himalaya) and Nguyen Hanh Quyen (ADPC/SERVIR-Mekong). The objective of the Global Forest Observations Initiative (GFOI) is an informal partnership to coordinate international support to developing countries on forest monitoring and Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) of greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation procedures for REDD+ and related activities. Through collaborative action, GFOI aims to provide a larger and more targeted package of support than any one partner can provide alone. 

The Plenary included an open forum, component meetings, exhibitions and much more. RCMRD/SERVIR-Eastern & Southern Africa's Phoebe Oduor and Lawrence Okello participated in the the GFOI Plenary 2019. SERVIR works in partnership with leading regional organizations around the globe to provide satellite-based earth observation data and science applications to improve environmental management and resilience to the impacts of climate change by developing the capacity of government agencies, institutions, and other key stakeholders to use and integrate geospatial information and technology into their decision-making processes. SERVIR has been partnering with SilvaCarbon initiatives and the Global Forest Observations Initiative (GFOI) to leverage its capacity building efforts.

GFOI has been established as an international partnership on forest monitoring, and measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) issues for REDD+. GFOI brings together a community of international experts, donors, and specialist organizations, and provides a forum for them to consolidate their considerable resources into a more holistic and specialized package of support for REDD+ countries. GFOI is currently conducting a series of train the trainer workshops with a range of REDD+ related guidance and training material with the aim of enabling participants to further disseminate the knowledge and insights gained to and train other relevant people who are involved in REDD+ monitoring and reporting in their country, in order to further build their capacities.

SERVIR E&SA Convenes Grant Kick-off Meeting

RCMRD in partnership with the the SERVIR Support Team convened a grant kick-off meeting on Wednesday, 24th April 2019 to Friday 26th April at RCMRD premises in Nairobi. SERVIR-E&SA one of five international hubs under a joint NASA/USAID project called SERVIR awarded grants to nine organizations in the East African region. These grants, administered under SERVIR-Eastern and Southern Africa's small grants program, promote use of information provided by Earth observing satellites and geospatial technologies to support informed environmental decision making in the Eastern and Southern Africa region.

The meeting which brought together partners who will benefit from the grant funding and take lead in implementation of the key components of the SERVIR funding, sought to sensitize the members and harness input from them on how best to implement the programme.

During the three day workshop, SERVIR-E&SA personnel led by Prof. John Kiema the Director of Technical Services the kick-off workshop for nine grantee organizations selected under the SERVIR-E&SA Grants Program at the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD), Kenya. The purpose of the event was to define roles and responsibilities, outline grant activities, and provide opportunities for the grantees to interact in person with SERVIR-E&SA staff. Another aim was to enhance networking among organizations, universities, and institutions in these regional endeavors.

The grantees were selected through a rigorous two-stage application process under two solicitations: one focused on research activities within the four SERVIR service areas (land cover/land use & ecosystems, water resources & disasters, food security, and weather & climate), and the other focused on exploring the intersection of gender and geospatial technology in relation to improving environmental management and resilience to climate change in the Eastern and Southern Africa Region. Applications were solicited from organizations in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda.

The grantees are: 1. E-Link Consult Ltd; 2. Kenya Meteorological Society; 3. CORDIO East Africa; 4. Laikipia Wildlife Forum; 5. Rwanda Water and Forest Authority; 6. Wetlands International Kenya; 7. Ardhi University and 8. National Fisheries Resources Research Institute (NaFIRRI). Each presentation was followed by a short Q&A session. The meeting also created an opportunity for grantees to build a collective vision and network. This grants program is managed as a partnership between the SERVIR-E&SA Hub based in Nairobi, Kenya, and the SERVIR Support Team based in Washington, DC, USA.

The grants are awarded through a Grants Under Contract (GUC) component under the SERVIR Support contract, and payments are administered by the SERVIR Support team. The SERVIR-E&SA team plays a critical role in each stage of the grants program, including providing technical feedback during the selection process, providing technical support to the grantees (both on science, and cross-cutting issues such as user engagement, monitoring & evaluation, communication, logistics, and gender mainstreaming), and providing technical approval for deliverables.