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News — 16 June, 2010

Haiti mission 3 - Training Day with field workers of the Shelter Cluster organizations

Today was the first of the large scale trainings (25 individuals) of this mission delivered to field workers from the Shelter Cluster in LogBase. Thanks to Sandra Sudhoff the Information Management - GIS Officer of the cluster for gathering a large crew and providing the "essential" training goods (meals and drinks).  Also thanks Matt Hewet from OCHA who allowed the team to use a meeting tent large enough to accommodate large audiences.

The team of OSM trainers was composed of Kate and myself from HOT joined by Guensmork and Senatus from The Forum Communautaire of Cite Soleil (FOCS), Emmanuel and Maxau from the CNIGS  all under contract with IOM. All had been engaged since late May in conducting intense surveying work in metropolitain areas of Port Au Prince (PAP) important for the IOM. This formation to some of the actors of the Shelter T Cluster was the first step to facilitate the convergence of other actors from the UN cluster system to the enhancement of humanitarian and non humanitarian baselines.

The day started off with setting up the meeting tents as a functional training lab furnished with adequate equipments and materials and as a living place for the next 8 hours fanned and water friendly.

The day went well lively participated and painted with constant attention  and enthusiasm despite the heath. Three main sessions compozed the course. A first session furnished the participants with background elements on the OSM project, the WikiProject Haiti, the outcomes from the HOT missions and a status on the Haitian OSM community meant to help out participation. In the second session, small groups gathered by organizations and linguistics preference were trained on surveying techniques with GPS, walking papers and questionnaires and went out twice in the LogBase to collect data. The third and last training block was about editing on JOSM (the java-based client editor of the OSM project). We managed to bring up to speed this crowd of 25 with individuals on the basics. All registered to an OSM Haiti Point Of Contacts List and went back home with the OSM software stack (JOSM & GPS Babel) and the HOT Kit of OSM resources up and running on their laptops.

A few lessons were learned by the team throughout this long day under the tent, in the heat amongst this joyful crowd.First, the OSM training course built by HOT throughout its past mission stabilized into a robust and functional package. Second, we verified that the training the trainer scheme implemented in the past mission worked amongst large audiences and the that skills acquired in training by the Haitian experienced users were there. Third, we witnessed the need to further investigate and document in the HOT surveying guide the use of Garmin Oregon and Trimble GPS units used by many actors in Haiti. As already experienced in past training sessions, this day was effective in terms of networking: individuals and groups got to know each other better and in ways that the coordination fora & operational activities did not enable so far. Professional, social and individual ties grew and with it the awareness of the power of cooperative  and open organizational working schemes, as well as the will to make the nascent OSM Haitian community stronger.

The next steps for this were two fold. First, participants agreed to convey at LogBase the following Sunday for a follow-up session in spite of the big soccer game (Brazil playing Cote d'Ivoire). Second, all participants expressed the interest to using OSM in a professional manner within their respective organizations to collective elaborate the common operational base line data. The baseline surveying work initiated by IOM was seen by all as the initiative to rally and Frederic Moine (IOM GIS coordinator) and Sandra her alter ego together with the HOT team started planning for this process to start Monday 28-June in Carrefour one of the worst quake hit area of PAP.

Kate and Nicolas for HOT