It is said that “knowledge is power” and it gives a person confidence to reach the goal and makes them different form others. The Noazesh Knowledge Centre (NKC) is a joint initiative of WildTeam and Zoological Society of London (ZSL) started its journey in 2011 with an aim to conserve the biological diversity of Bangladesh through disseminating conservation knowledge across wider communities. NKC is working to inspire, engage and empower youths and conservation professionals in nature conservation. To take right action for any causes we need background information which we can get through research. So, research is a vital part of any conservation initiative and it gives a base and also helps with continuous monitoring of that initiative. In Bangladesh, we are in need of knowledge on our biodiversity and its status. We are also lacking sufficient research skills. One of NKC’s visions is to develop the skilled human resources for the conservation of nature by minimising the knowledge gap.
To achieve this vision, NKC with the support from USAID’s Bagh Activity launched a programme named “Conservation Research Boot Camp” in March 2018 for skill development and guided conservation research. This programme, with a goal to support early career researchers gaining skills to conduct quality research and get some tangible results, included a series of three training workshops on different research tools. Students from University of Dhaka, Jagannath University, Jahangirnagar University and independent researcher with Biology background participated in this programme. The participants were selected through a rigorous recruitment process. Upon fulfilling the application criteria nine candidates (out of 70 applications) were shortlisted and invited to attend a two-day long residential training for developing full research proposal following standard proposal template with a special focus on setting research objectives & justification; data collection methods; use of GPS; and budget preparation. The training titled “Writing Research Proposal in Conservation Biology” was conducted from 30 to 31 March in BRAC CDM, Savar. Dr Md. Abdul Aziz, Professor, Department of Zoology, Jahangirnagar University and a Board Member, WildTeam was the trainer of this training.
After this training an additional week was given to the participants for improving and finishing their research proposals with feedback from the trainers. After that, the participants submitted their revised proposals and budget. Out of the nine submissions the best eight proposals were selected for fieldwork support. After the selection of final eight candidates they started their field work and data collection is still continuing. NKC took further steps to develop the technical skills for research work and that’s why two more training programmes were arranged for the participants.
The second training was about “Spatial Data Management and M&E” and it happened from 1 to 3 June at NKC. Md Abdus Salam, Monitoring Evaluation and Learning Manager, USAID’s Bagh Activity/WildTeam; Mohammad Shamsuddoha, Wildlife Technical Specialist, USAID’s Bagh Activity/WildTeam; and Adnan Hossain, Monitoring & Evaluation Officer, USAID’s Bagh Activity/WildTeam were the trainers at this training programme. The participants were trained on ArcGIS and importance of project monitoring and how to do it.
The last and third training was about data analysis and report writing. The training titled “Training Workshop on Writing Scientific Report and Analyzing Data using R” was held from 22 to 24 June 2018 at NKC. Dr Md. Abdul Aziz, Professor, Department of Zoology, Jahangirnagar University and a Board Member, WildTeam conducted the training. Through this program the participants got hands-on training on the techniques of writing scientific reports and had the chance to learn R. They were also introduced with some world class journals and publications as a part of their learning process. The participants worked on their own research topics which helped them to get prepared for their own thesis writing.
The Conservation Research Boot Camp was the first comprehensive capacity development programme of NKC for the early career researchers of Bangladesh. This helped the researchers to increase their research skills. It created a base for them for future studies and research. The Boot Camp was a success and much appreciated by the students and based on this learning NKC would like to continue this journey in future too with a hope to develop a skilled conservation society.