Capacity development has been the core objective of all the phases of ODINAFRICA, focussing on targeted training workshops, provision of equipment and software, seed funds for operational expenses, and support for participation in relevant conferences and symposia.
Developing capacity in coastal and marine issues of Africa is a very important activity, given the present growing and projected pressures on the coastal and marine resources. The region's experience in both knowledge-based, technical and equipment capacity building has been progressively growing. Many large milestones have been reached in this current effort to assess the capacity of the African region both in the form of increasing the knowledge base on core competencies of a good coastal manager as well as identifying the capacity-building efforts going on in the region.
Management of coastal and marine issues is critical to ensure a sustainable future in a region where tens of millions of people depend on coastal and marine resources for their livelihoods. Thus, there is an important need of increasing not only the number of competent and well-trained coastal management practitioners, especially with respect to project and program management and its various aspects, but to also facilitate the creation of enabling environments in which these managers can work.
In particular the following activities were implemented:
- National Oceanographic Data and Information Centres (NODCs) were established or reactivated in at least 25 member states in Africa. The NODCs were provided with equipment and software as well as seed funds to support their operations, and enable them setup infrastructure for management and exchange of ocean data and information.
- ODINAFRICA has worked on the development and testing of open source software for (a) the development of electronic repositories and library catalogues – AgriOcean/Dspace (with the University of Hasselt, Belgium) and (b) Coastal and Marine Atlases – SmartAtlas (with the Centre for Coastal resources at the University of Cork, Ireland).
- Training courses have been organized covering diverse topics (data and information management, development of e-repositories, websites development, application of remote sensing and GIS to coastal management, marine biodiversity data management, modelling; end to end data management; and Sea level data analysis and interpretation). These provided the staff of the data and information centres with the skills to develop and maintain a wide range of databases as well as to prepare data and information products.
- ODINAFRICA has organized symposia where experts from the region made presentations on their work. Joint workshops were also organized with partners such as IAMSLIC, WIOMSA and ICPAC. Support was also provided to data and information managers, as well as scientists to attend relevant workshops/conferences organised by other organizations. All these provided opportunities for networking, exchange of ideas, and improvement of expertise and skills.