Data collection using racing yachts for onboard sampling and deployment of drifter buoys

Beyond facilitating access to hard-to-reach locations, sailboats also provide useful modes of transport for deploying scientific instrumentation. The boats can carry scientific equipment, both for deployment in the ocean, but also for continual measurement by sensors that are permanently onboard. The race boats’ speed means that data from different locations can be captured across short timespans, something which is not achievable by most research vessels. Yachts can also be used to pilot and test new research technology and techniques, such as technology that allows results to be shared in real-time, and the OceanPack – a device which records essential ocean data from aboard the yachts. 

 

In a racing context, carrying devices that take meteorological measurements is not only beneficial for science partners, but also for the race participants themselves, as it helps to inform and improve weather forecasts that will impact their own decision-making and performances throughout the race. 

 

Using racing yachts for data collection paves the way for the installation and deployment of measuring devices on other vessels such as fishing or commercial boats, as well as other sailing boats. 

 

 

  • Sensors and scientific instrumentation can be installed on sailing boats.
  • The high speeds that are achievable by sailing yachts enable the collection of data across short time spans.
  • Boats can reach specific locations to deploy drifter buoys or Argo floats.

Scientific devices were originally designed for use on large research or commercial vessels. This presented some technical challenges regarding their use and installation aboard racing yachts which falls beyond the scope of their intended applications. As the boats are racing yachts the devices needed to be resilient and also light.

Challenges included operating sampling devices in an environment where there is fluctuating power supply, constant exposure to corrosive humidity, and where operators (i.e. teams and athletes) face immense physical (and psychological) stresses. This meant the devices needed to be user-friendly and simple to operate so that individuals with little specialised training could use them effectively and efficiently under stressful and pressurised conditions. The Ocean Race is collaborating with manufacturers to advance the technology and enhance its reliability for future uses.

One Health Task Force (OHTF)

The One Health Task Force (OHTF) is a collaborative platform for the local government. It usually mirrors the structure of the One Health platform at the national level. The OHFT generally consists of 5-7 people representing the local administration and the core line ministries (Health, Agriculture and Livestock, Environment and Natural Resource or equivalent). Other members may include representatives from the Women and Social Affairs, Education, and Disaster Risk Prevention and Management. The OHTF oversees the organization and delivery of the integrated health services via the OHU and guarantees the monitoring of its performance. OHTF members are trained on the concept of One Health and the Standard Operating Procedures for the establishment of the OHU. Selected OHTF members are trained as trainers to support cascading the training to service providers and other government staff. By taking increasing ownership and responsibility, the OHTF ensures the sustainability of the OHU and its gradual recognition and funding as effective service delivery model for pastoralist communities. 

  • National One Health structure in place to ease operationalisation at the community level

The OHTF can facilitate the communication with One Health institutions at the sub-national and national level, promoting the recognition of the OHU in national development and strategic plans.

Multi-Stakeholders Innovation Platform (MSIP)

The Multi-Stakeholders Innovation Platform (MSIP) is a collaborative platform for community members. It includes about 15-20 women and men selected by the community and representing different community groups (e.g., traditional and religious leaders, community-based service providers, traditional healers, teachers, businessmen/women, representatives from the local rangeland institution). Where possible, MSIPs build on already established and functional groups that work at the community level on a voluntary basis. MSIP members are trained on the concept of One Health, leadership and management. Other training activities can be organised to enhance their skills and competencies and ensure their active engagement in specific community-based interventions. The MSIPs meet on monthly basis to discuss local issues and jointly identify suitable solutions to, for example, disease outbreaks and other health threats, livestock densities and movements, pasture availability, and water access.

  • Initial engagement of traditional and local leaders to increase community ownership  
  • Balanced representation of all groups to ensure participation of the entire local community

Non-financial incentives (e.g., training, clean-up kits, visibility items) motivate the voluntary-basis group and can support its active engagement in the long-run. 

One Health Unit (OHU)

The One Health Unit (OHU) is a collaborative platform for service providers and community-based actors. It serves as primary means for the planning and delivery of integrated human, animal, environmental and rangeland health services at the community level. The OHU can be mobile, static or a mix of the two delivery modes. Mobile OHUs follow the routes of pastoralists and their livestock, providing services according to a monthly schedule and addressing the needs of different herding communities. Static OHUs provide services from a shared facility (e.g., human/animal health post, water point or other village gathering site) where service providers work side by side. The OHU is staffed by service providers coming from different government departments, including health workers from the local Health Office or referral Health Facility, animal health technicians from the local Livestock Office or any public or private veterinary facility, and National Resource Management officers or Environmental Health officers from the local Office. The OHU also includes community-based actors (such as Community Health Volunteers and Community Animal Health Workers) which facilitate the mobilisation of people and guide the discussion around health threats and other events affecting local communities.

  • Joint training of service providers to create trust and support collaborative approaches
  • Joint supportive supervision to further the collaboration across sectors during service delivery

Gender-balanced OHU team can improve the quality and acceptability of health services and ultimately increase their utilisation by all community members.

Collaboration and partnerships with the science community and scientific institutions

The Ocean Race Science Programme is run in collaboration with various science partners, bringing together organisations and teams to pioneer new approaches to data collection, advance technology to contribute to global standardised data mapping, and increase our knowledge of oceans and their relationships with climate change. It provides a unique, and promising, expansion to observational networks, and enables the development of new sampling technologies (e.g. OceanPack-RACE – developed according to sailors’ and scientists’ specifications).

 

Partnerships with the scientific community allow the data collected by the racing boats to be processed and quality checked by science partners, and then made available through global open-source databases. Databases include, amongst others, the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) and the Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas (SOCAT) – which informs the Global Carbon Budget, itself informing environmental projections and targets. The deployment of drifter buoys, operated by Météo France, contributes to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) drifter programme. 

 

  • The unique benefits provided by the race: the racecourse’s route through remote corners of the world, as well as the race yachts as vehicles for employing scientific sampling and measuring technology.
  • Organisers and stakeholders’ (teams, athletes, etc.) interest and desire to contribute to scientific research.
  • The science community’s appreciation of the opportunities that The Ocean Race provides for scientific research.
  • Diversity of sailing and scientific stakeholders involved. 

Discussions with partners and start-ups are ongoing following feedback regarding the use of plastic to construct drifter buoys, and the difficulty to recover these at their end of life. The aim would be to deploy either instruments that are water degradable or that can be recovered.

 

Community Resource Person Model

The Community Resource Person (CRP) model in India is a community-driven bottom-up approach to development and empowerment, particularly in rural areas. It involves identifying and training individuals from local communities to act as facilitators, educators, and mobilizers to address various socio-economic challenges and promote sustainable development. 

Under the SAFAL project more than 143 CRP trainers and 500 CRPs and have been trained between 2021 and 2023 in Assam and Odisha. CRPs themselves are aquaculture farmer belonging to the local farmer institutions who are supporting up to 25 farmers by providing extension services advisory services to more than 6.000 farmers in rural areas on sustainable aquaculture practices to their communities. 

The selection process of CRPs involves conducting a Participatory Research Appraisal within farmer institutions followed by an intensive capacity building course. The training, likewise, for CRPs and CRP-to-farmers, are conducted in tailored sessions conducted with the help of Knowledge Products (KPs) and Information, Education & Communication (IEC) material, such as the Farmer’s Handbook, the Farm Record Book and various training material. Those were co-created among scientists, government officials, experts in sustainable aquaculture practices, aquaculture operators and SAFAL technical to fit the exact needs of the local farmers. 

The training cascade contains basic and advanced modules using the didactic methodology for easy adoption of adult learning. The program consists of 30 per cent classroom and 70 per cent hands-on training. Making it accessible to farmers all over the regions, it is designed in a way that it can be held in remote and rural areas using flipbooks, posters, and pamphlets to teach without access to electronics. 

CRPs are based within their farmer institutions and are motivated by social, environmental, and financial incentives, including selling goods and services, and facilitating access to finance.

Through this self-financed CRP model, thousands of small-scale farmers are empowered with knowledge and resources. CRPs act as local knowledge centres, disseminating trainings. This ground-level approach boosts yields within planetary boundaries while ensuring nutrition and food security.

You can find more information about the training materials (knowledge products and Information, Education & Communication material) and download them in the building block: Knowledge Products and Information, Education & Communication Material. 

  1. Tailored Training: Offering training sessions tailored to the needs and capacities of small-scale farmers, with a focus on practical knowledge and skills relevant to their specific contexts.
  2. Participatory Approach: Involving farmers directly in the learning process, allowing for a bottom-up approach that considers their perspectives, challenges, and needs.
  3. Effective Extension Services: Utilizing a network of Community Resource Persons (CRPs) who act as extension workers, delivering training, knowledge, and support directly to farmers in their local areas.
  4. Quality Course Materials: Providing high-quality course materials co-created among local stakeholder and experts, ensuring the content is accurate, relevant, and accessible to farmers.
  5. Financial Incentives: Motivating CRPs through a combination of financial incentives, such as sales opportunities, as well as non-financial incentives like recognition and social impact.
  6. Access to Finance: Supporting farmers in accessing finance through guidance, facilitation, and connections to relevant financial institutions and government schemes.
  7. Local Context Sensitivity: Designing training models and materials that are sensitive to the local context, including cultural, social, economic, and environmental factors.
  8. Multiplier Effect: Employing a Training of Trainers (ToT) approach to multiply the impact of training efforts, enabling CRPs to train and support a larger number of farmers.
  9. Government Support and Alignment: Aligning with government priorities and policies, and demonstrating the effectiveness of these models to policymakers, which can lead to increased support, funding, and scalability.
  • Customization is Key: Tailoring training sessions and materials to the specific needs, challenges, and contexts of small-scale farmers enhances relevance and effectiveness.
  • Empowerment through Education: Providing farmers with practical knowledge and skills empowers them to make informed decisions, improve their practices, and enhance their livelihoods.
  • Local Ownership and Engagement: Involving farmers directly in the learning process fosters ownership, buy-in, and sustainability of interventions.
  • Importance of Extension Services: Utilizing a network of Community Resource Persons (CRPs) as extension workers effectively delivers training and support at the grassroots level.
  • Financial Incentives Drive Engagement: Offering financial incentives, such as salaries and profit-sharing opportunities, motivates CRPs and encourages their active participation and commitment.
  • Collaboration Amplifies Impact: Collaborating with Farmer Institutions, SHGs, and other stakeholders enables aggregation of resources, knowledge-sharing, and amplification of impact.
  • Access to Finance is Critical: Facilitating access to finance empowers farmers to invest in their businesses, adopt new practices, and improve productivity and profitability.
  • Local Context Matters: Sensitivity to the local context, including cultural, social, economic, and environmental factors, is essential for the relevance and success of interventions.
  • Training of Trainers Multiplies Impact: Leveraging a Training of Trainers (ToT) approach enables the multiplication of training efforts, reaching a larger number of farmers and communities.
  • Alignment with Government Priorities: Aligning with government priorities and policies can facilitate support, funding, and scalability of interventions, making them more sustainable and impactful in the long run.
Cluster Information Centre / Sattelite Centre

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Knowledge Products and Information, Education & Communication Material

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Participatory Guarantee System

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Aqua Entrepreneurship Initiative

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