First Initial BonDiv workshop – Official “kick-off” of the BonDiv Platform 

In collaboration with five local and international organizations working in the region, five sites were selected as the initial sites of the BonDiv platform, and preparations for data collection began in earnest. A protocol was created and translated into both English and French, with input from a suite of experts, and in-person french-language based training was organized to accompany this protocol and train all field staff and collaborators on the systematic methodologies to be applied.

To ensure consistent, uniform application of these methodologies across all sites, as well as to familiarize all partners and key stakeholders in bonobo conservation with the concept and approach of this project, a kick-off workshop was organized and held in July 2023 in Kinshasa.

Ten individuals from different nationalities, seven of them from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, received intensive training during a two-week-long training session on standardized protocols of biodiversity monitoring. These individuals had been previously selected by the BonDiv and each collaborating local partner organization of each selected research site.

In addition to training, the workshop hosted several networking and coordination sessions with representatives of the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature, local partners and NGO representatives and other associated in-country practitioners and funders, bringing together 36 participants in total. These sessions allowed for direct exchange between Congolese authorities, local partners, and the BonDiv team, to align expectations, create a sense of community, and to foster current and future collaboration across bonobo stakeholders. Additionally, these introductory sessions allowed detailed logistical and administrative planning that were only achievable via in-depth, in-person discussions of planned approaches and identifiable needs for each on-the-ground team. 

July 2023. By Erin Wessling and Paula Dieguez