Biodiversity monitoring allows for proper management of natural resources by detecting any changes to ecosystems and guiding proper and timely responses to such changes by natural resources managers. One of the most effective approaches to monitoring biodiversity is the involvement of the people on the ground, that is, the people residing in and around natural habitats that supports the diverse flora and fauna. In this regard, BirdLife Botswana facilitated biodiversity monitoring training workshops with special focus on avifauna from the 13th to the 18th of March 2021, covering three villages in the Makgadikgadi wetlands area namely Nata, Mmatshumo and Phuduhudu and a further two villages in the Okavango Delta namely Etsha 13 and Shakawe. The main aim of the trainings was to strengthen, improve and increase community participation and involvement in the following Bird monitoring programs coordinated by BirdLife Botswana involving volunteer participants: Water bird monitoring, Vulture monitoring and terrestrial/common bird monitoring. These trainings were set out to empower and further enhance the monitoring skills of those community members already involved in bird monitoring through provision of resources that aids in monitoring such as Binoculars, bird books and more educational materials such as brochures, posters and stickers covering the importance and need for monitoring and conservation of natural resources in their surrounding and birds in particular. These trainings’ overall goal was to ‘train trainers’, that is, empower already skilled active monitors in the community who will in turn involve and mentor more members of their communities to take part and make a meaningful contribution to bird and biodiversity monitoring.
This exercise was supported by: SGP/GEF, African Bird Club, US Embassy-Botswana, Department of Wildlife and National Parks
Picture 1: Bird walk covering bird identification with an experienced birder Mr. Chris Brewster at Nata Bird sanctuary
BPM participants attending training at Gaing-O Trust conference room in Mmatshumo
Mr. Onkamile Thogo, a BPM participant, received a bird book and a pair of binoculars bought through funding from African Bird Club on behalf of the other 6 loyal BPM participants from Phuduhudu for use in bird identification during bird counts