Missing Maps is currently engaged in motorcycle mapping of the entire border regions between Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea.
Here is an excerpt from my trip report from the first recruiting and training mission to Sierra Leone.
Trip Report - Phase One
MISSING MAPS – FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE, 29th APRIL – 8th MAY 2016
FIELD MAPPING COORDINATION by Rupert Allan
Training of Field Team Leaders in preparation for recruiting Volunnteer enumerators and performing Sierra Leone Mapping Project
Aims and Objectives:
As MSF consultant, deployed for the training of pre-recruited Field Team Leaders for the Missing Maps Border Project this training was designed to prepare FTLs for Volunteer Recruitment, to initiate the survey project, and to establish possible links and contacts by which to implement the phase two return visit.
Prior to the trip, an important part of the project became the establishment of definitions of admin levels which could bring data-sets usefully in-line with those gathered in the Liberia and Guinea. Using FTL feedback,necessary adjustments were made in the field in order to leave a workable community survey prototype survey form as a guide for recruiting and training.
Day 1 (Wednesday, 4th May)
Red Cross Introductions (Abridged due to time constraints)
Hand-over to Rupert
Presentation: Missing Maps Introduction (the global picture)
Descriptions and locations using and evaluating map-reading skills (‘Where am I from?’)
Introductions to Smart Phones, Presentation two and Introduction to ODK
Introduction to OSMAND and tracking
Study Of Maps, Home Address and Admin Levels, and FTL Introduction to their ‘Territory’
Subsequent Discussion of Area Coverage for each FTL, and Personal Field Survey Boundaries to be completed as homework
Discussion of Missing Sections in Survey and Listings, to be completed as homework
Day 2 (Thursday, 5th May)
Group Presentation of Survey areas, and work plan concept.
ODK forms, and initial data-collection of Red Cross Moto, Locations and Guesthouse forms
Demonstration of form after modification, and tweaking
Recruiting Volunteers, Refresher on ODK – Group Work, evaluation, and commentary
Connectivity, Uploading and Servers Demonstration with Edison ODK Aggregate
Local Community visits – into ‘Slum’ Area (counter-productive to some extent because of orchestration of community meeting, but valuable nevertheless)
Ad-hoc surveys taken on return from ‘Slum’ Surveys – much more useful as an exercise.
Round-up and Close
Day 3 (Friday, 6th May)
Review forms and techniques
Head out to rural area (This was too far away, and took up valuable classroom time. We finally did our first survey at 1230hrs, having called candidates for 0730hrs!)
Demo Interview with Community Head
Split off into groups around community
Re-convene, evaluation, good feedback on ‘close-down/termination of interview’ work-arounds.
Road/Travel barrier survey on return (Photo Option Used)
Travel Back, and Debrief
More Practise Sessions and Q&A about field Prep
Red Cross Briefing on Branch Officer/Local Protocols
Random Tutorials (e.g. Phone Tethering, Wireless Hotspots, Tech Hardware Interface)
Course feedback was very good, which was satisfying. The prep-time allowed me by the delays proved to have been well-used, and I was extremely encouraged by the week’s progress. I have high hopes for the FTLs, who are already demonstrating initiative, creativity, dedication and commitment. The WhatsApp group I have set up is well-used, and serves as a Log of Activity, as well as a meeting point across cultures and job-roles.
Overall, it was soon realised that ability and capacity amongst FTLs was probably better that those recruited in both Guinea and Liberia. FTL selection was probably easy, as it was clearly done on the basis of Red Cross members who had been in Community Outreach (Mobilisation) and Logging (Data-Collection) during the Ebola Outbreak period.
FTLs had used Android-based apps before for the implementation of the ‘Safe and Dignified Burial’ Program, and were familiar with ODK-style interface, due to some familiarity with ‘Magpie’.
Motivation and project ownership were seen as important for the development of good practice, and I attempted to engage the candidates in some advanced activities such as Data Submission, Device Optimisation, and Form-Building Admin/Div discussion.
As a result of this, I am confident that the current prototype form deals with admin levels effectively, as I was able to adjust and trial the questions with the FTLs during field trainings, adjusting in the evenings. I saw this as a great achievement of our training week, a week which was punctuated with stark reminders of what the FTLs and their communities had been through in their battle against the terrifying Ebola disaster.
The Public holiday issue was worked-around.
Generator: Sometimes and issue, as always, in class.
MSF overnight charging and internet was an issue. (Generator in MSF House off between 0000hrs and 0600hrs.)
Projectors were used in tandem – one for presentation, the other for phone demonstration. The method of linking it with my Sony Experia Z1 was very very useful for teaching. I benefitted from my own personal investment of two Experias. (we couldn’t figure out the Blu Phone interface, but only because we were rushing)
I bought some cheap USB 12v - 5v chargers from the ‘Pound Shop’ in London, which I gave to the FTLs in their packs to trial on the motorbike batteries. I am awaiting feedback.
Each FTL was given a pack of stationery, a set of maps (waterproof ink on plain paper, for annotation-capacity), and a waterproof Map-Tube. I also gave them each a backup USB with all classroom and form versions on, after careful consideration of their technical abilities. I will use their responsible use of these to evaluate further delegations of equipment, tools and skills during phase two.
In conjunction with agreed initial Red Cross terms of reference, I am recommending that we maintain our initial plan to reconvene with our Field Team Leaders on 30th May for a de-briefing day or two.
Subject to adjustments from the Hub and/or American Red Cross, we then meet with all of the volunteers gathered, and enter the selection process of shortlisting and Field Training during the week leading up to Friday June 3rd.
It was agreed that volunteers recruited by the FTLs would number approximately twice the number needed (i.e. sixty). These volunteers will need to be brought to the capital, housed, and those not selected compensated and returned. The remaining selected will then need to be housed and provided-for for the rest of the week.
On Saturday 4th June, all those participating will need to be transported back to trainings in regional areas, in which MSF trainers Pete Masters, Nick Allen, and Rupert Allan will provide field-support across the districts, individually based in Kenema and Kambia MSF facilities.
It should be noted that extra support will almost certainly need to be given to the Bombali District, where it feels as if we are short-staffed. FTLs Mohamed and Sulaiman are attempting to combine coverage of this area between themselves. It may be that requests are made for extra volunteers.
Here is some video footage of Red Cross reportage on Sierra Leone’s Northern Border in Kambia District:
[Kambia Border Challenges][https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BAdHR37bHI&feature=youtu.be]