Community involvement in data collection

Published: 12 May 2016
Last edited: 23 February 2017
The Reptile and Amphibian Program – Sierra Leone (RAP-SL) identifies and trains locals in data collection. Once trained, they are provided with waterproof files, pencils, data sheets, measuring tapes, tags and applicators (a sort of plier used to apply tags onto turtle flippers) to conduct nesting beach monitoring for six months (November to April). The hired monitors monitor the nests until hatching takes place. The day the hatchlings emerge, the monitors count those they find on the beach and watch them go into the water. Another group of trained locals conduct bycatch monitoring for 12 months in fishing communities. They measure the captured turtles (length and width), tag and release them again if they are alive. If the captured turtle is dead, the turtle will be buried. At the end of the year, data collected from the field is fed into RAP-SL’s database. The main purpose of this building block is to collect data on nesting turtles in order to identify the turtle species that nest on beaches, and also to collect data on turtle captured in fishing nets in Sierra Leone.


Collection of baseline and monitoring data and knowledge
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution

Enabling factors

The success of this building block hinges on the quality of training given to locals about the data collection exercise, the regular payment of stipend to monitors and the level of assistance given to communities through community development programs.

Lessons learned

• Regular training of monitors: it has been observed that regular training of monitors helps in quality data collection and raising the awareness of monitors in addressing questions raised by locals during their tasks. • Payment of stipend: the payment of stipend to monitors helps in motivation the youths in performing the required task • Community development: experience shows that undertaking community development programs within coastal communities will establish goodwill upon which to build interest in conservation programs. It is preferable to demonstrate benefits broadly to the community rather than payment schemes to individual fishermen for services such as collecting data on released turtles. For community development, the aspect that has not work is microcredits and financing community businesses. In most cases some locals deliberately fail to payback moneys to the community support or finances. In many cases, this idea leads to disputes that may negatively impact projects.

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