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Role of NGOs in data collection and management

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Many Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are actively gathering biological, environmental, and social data in the Mekong Basin, but do not always have the capacity or resources to effectively manage, analyze, and share these data. NGOs often gather data in the form of rapid surveys and interviews, or through participatory methods. This information can address topics such as food security, livelihoods, biodiversity assessments, and environmental monitoring. For example, FISHBIO, a private fisheries company in Lao PDR, has conducted a number of studies with other NGOs. These projects include assessments of fisheries, household food consumption, and market sales in the Nam Kading Basin; movements of tagged fish from Fish Conservation Zones in the Nam Kading River; and surveys of fishing practices and local knowledge in Xayabouri and Luang Prabang provinces. Collaborations with NGOs can strengthen government and academic research, and fill in data gaps. However, many regional organizations and institutions often face a number of challenges, such as the lack of personnel and staff time to analyze collected data; loss of data or institutional knowledge with staff turnover; and a lack of outlets for disseminating the results of their data collection. FISHBIO is currently working to build the Mekong Fish Network, a resource that strives to address some of these challenges by building the capacity of all types Mekong Basin institutions to conduct research, and by providing an online platform to share research findings and communicate with other researchers.

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Role of NGOs in data collection and management

  1. 1. Sinsamout Ounboundisane, Erin Loury, Shaara Ainsley, and Harmony Patricio Mekong River System Science Data Workshop Ho Chi Minh City, September 2014 The Role of NGOs in Data Collection and Management in the Mekong Basin
  2. 2. NGOS = Non-Governmental Organizations Examples: Non-Profit Organizations Private Companies Citizen Groups Many NGOs are actively collecting data in the Mekong Basin What are NGOs?
  3. 3. NGOs Can Help Fill Data Gaps on Various Themes Biodiversity assessments Environmental monitoring Food consumption and food security Ecosystem stewardship and resource use Livelihoods and economics Governance
  4. 4. How do NGOs Collect Data? Community interviews Collect environmental data Design research studies Train citizens to collect data through a participatory approach
  5. 5. Nam Kading Aquatic Resources Survey Conducted by FISHBIO with support from WCS Location: Nam Kading River, Bolikamxay Province, Lao PDR Trained villagers to collect data through participatory approach: Data collected Fishing catches Household food consumption Market surveys
  6. 6. Standardized Fishery Survey Pilot Study Conducted by FISHBIO Location: Mekong River, Sangthong District, Vientiane Capital, Lao PDR Trained fishers to collect data through participatory approach: Data collected Fish species and abundance Fish lengths and weight Fishing effort Uploaded project data to Mekong Fish Network Databank
  7. 7. Evaluating Spillover of Fish Conservation Zones to Village Fishing Catches Conducted by FISHBIO in collaboration with WWF Location: Nam Kading River, Bolikamxay Province Trained villagers to tag fishes inside Fish Conservation Zone Instructed fishers to report recaptures of tagged fish to Lao Women’s Union Data collected Fish recapture rate Fish movements outside of FCZ
  8. 8. Water Quality Monitoring Conducted by Asia Foundation Locations: 10 villages, 10 small rivers of two provinces in central Laos Methods: Collect invertebrates with kick nets, 2 times per year (wet and dry seasons) Data collected Presence/absence of 38 representative benthic macro- invertebrates that have sensitivity to the status of water quality.
  9. 9. Scientific Data Gaps and Needs in the Mekong Basin Population status of aquatic organisms (past and current trends) Ecosystem impacts of climate change Ecosystem impacts of human development Capacity building and education Best practices for environmental conservation
  10. 10. How can NGO data benefit government and academic research? NGOs often have developed relationships with local communities Sharing data and resources can increase geographic and temporal scope of research, while reducing budgets Can help fulfill agency reporting requirements without using agency money and resources Including NGOs as collaborators can increase project credibility
  11. 11. Institutional Challenges and Needs Lack of standardized format for collecting information Different organizations will have different goals and objectives Data collected without time or resources to conduct analysis Challenges of data quality control and analysis Technical challenges: data lost or corrupted Lack of continuation with staff turnover Difficulty communicating the importance of why the data matter Need for a network to share findings or achievements Need for peer review and reliable references
  12. 12. Addressing Challenges: The Mekong Fish Network Goals: Build the technical capacity of local people and institutions Facilitate dialogue and collaboration across borders to Create connections and provide tools to share knowledge The Mekong Fish Network provides a platform for groups of all kinds to share their work
  13. 13. Tools for Communication: www.mekongfishnetwork.org Click to join or contact Sign up for email newsletters Access MFN Databank
  14. 14. Thank You. Sinsamout Ounboundisane sinsamout@fishbio.com

Many Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are actively gathering biological, environmental, and social data in the Mekong Basin, but do not always have the capacity or resources to effectively manage, analyze, and share these data. NGOs often gather data in the form of rapid surveys and interviews, or through participatory methods. This information can address topics such as food security, livelihoods, biodiversity assessments, and environmental monitoring. For example, FISHBIO, a private fisheries company in Lao PDR, has conducted a number of studies with other NGOs. These projects include assessments of fisheries, household food consumption, and market sales in the Nam Kading Basin; movements of tagged fish from Fish Conservation Zones in the Nam Kading River; and surveys of fishing practices and local knowledge in Xayabouri and Luang Prabang provinces. Collaborations with NGOs can strengthen government and academic research, and fill in data gaps. However, many regional organizations and institutions often face a number of challenges, such as the lack of personnel and staff time to analyze collected data; loss of data or institutional knowledge with staff turnover; and a lack of outlets for disseminating the results of their data collection. FISHBIO is currently working to build the Mekong Fish Network, a resource that strives to address some of these challenges by building the capacity of all types Mekong Basin institutions to conduct research, and by providing an online platform to share research findings and communicate with other researchers.

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