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Regional GIS Workshop to build human capacity and to strengthen the common knowledge base in the Nile Basin

A regional GIS training workshop was organized by the project, which ran from 3 to 11 October 2005. It was attended by two participants each from all Nile riparians, as well as by two GIS specialists from the Northern Uganda Data Centre (NUDC) project.

The aim of the 9-day workshop was to illustrate general trends concerned with the availability and allocation of the scarce Nile resource in cartographic products by using a GIS. The training approach was hands on and the participants received practical knowledge in developing information products. Major focus areas were:

• Use of the AFRICOVER land cover layer to assess current agricultural water use in the Nile Basin.

• Use of ArcView for visual explanation to support communication with stakeholders.

• Use of IDRISI, an alternative GIS toolkit to ArcView, for geo-referencing of scanned spatial data sources.

• Satellite imagery processing for Agro-Meteorological assessments.

• MODIS vegetation time series analysis for the Nile Basin.

Ms. Jacqueline Nnam, a computer expert at NUDC, commented: “I was able to appreciate the use of GIS products as an information and communication tool. As we combined multiple data sources to produce meaningful information in the form of maps, charts, images and even videos, the saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words” was manifested. Through graphical representation of data, concepts like changes in agricultural land use over the year in relation to rainfall patterns were easy to understand. The training also enhanced my basic knowledge of GIS and, with a fair amount of practice, I should be able to make considerable use of computerized GIS, use satellite imageries and international data sets combined with climatological time series. With the acquired knowledge and skills I will complement the GIS technical team at NUDC. I look forward to participating in the follow-up training workshop to further ameliorate my skills and expand my knowledge in GIS.”

The trainees, going back to their respective countries, are strengthening the national capacity to take informed decisions. The joint workshop also contributed to the project objective to strengthen the common Nile knowledge base.

Capacity building program

A key objective of project “Information Products for Nile Basin Water Resources Management” is to build the technical and human capacity for informed decision making in the Nile basin. The training program includes national and regional workshops. The project increasingly uses the services of qualified local training institutes, in particular to build basic and intermediary computer skills. National training centres also provide courses on negotiation skills, English writing skills, and remote sensing.

The program has a particular focus on training in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Accurate and accessible information is essential for informed decision making. The nature of the water resources issues requires combining information from multiple sectors of society. GIS has proven a powerful tool to integrate technical water resources data and socio-economic and environmental information. Cartographic products and geo-reference illustrations are an intuitive means for information dissemination to a broad spectrum of society.

Being a shared resource, it is of paramount importance that the Nile riparians develop a common understanding of the Nile water resources issues and the trade-offs and consequences of basin wide development options. This is an essential prerequisite for the co-basin states to achieve their shared goals. Regional workshops bring Nile experts together and cement the emerging Nile community.

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in the training room at the project premises
 
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certificates after successful completion of the course work