AU-IBAR has empowered Member States by strengthening Information Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure for data capture and analysis to promote evidence based decision making. A donation of US$ 36,000.00 worth of computer equipment, each set comprising an HP laptop, monitor, docking station, wireless keyboard, mouse, and bag has been made to 31 African Union Member States. The ICT equipment was handed over to Directors of Animal Production who were in Kenya attending a meeting. The equipment is for use by officers in the Departments responsible for animal resources. The donation is part of activities of an AU-IBAR project “Strengthening the Capacity of African Countries to Conservation and Sustainable Utilisation of African Animal Genetic Resources” (2013-2019) popularly known as the Genetics Project that recently ended and was funded by the European Union.
The main objective of the project was to facilitate and fast track the implementation of the Global Plan of Action (GPA) for sustainable use of AnGR in Africa for which the continent is lagging behind. The project also focused on building capacity of Member States and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) for effective formulation and implementation of policies and strategies for the management of AnGR and created awareness for its inclusion into national and regional agricultural investment priorities. One of the key Result Areas of the Genetics Project focussed on generating and disseminating information on issues affecting AnGR. Hence, in efforts to improve information and data availability at national level, the project procured ICT equipment for all Member States.
The first handover event was undertaken in Naivasha during the “Support to Networking and Harmonisation of Animal Resources Strategies and Legislations Workshop” held from 2-6 September 2016. The ICT donations were handed over to the Directors of Animal Production by Dr Edward Nengomasha, the Project Officer and Dr Mary Mbole-Kariuki, the Data Management Expert of Genetics Project. The second handover event took place in Nairobi, with the Director of AU-IBAR Professor Ahmed El-Sawalhy officiating the event.
Speaking on behalf of Professor El-Sawalhy the Director of AU-IBAR, at the handover ceremony, Dr Nengomasha noted that the use of the ICT equipment goes beyond the AnGR Project. He emphasised that equipment is part of the support to ensure that Member States build their capacity in data collection, analyses, networking and information sharing on animal genetic resources through the utilization of tools developed by AU-IBAR, namely the African Animal Genetic Resources Information System (AAGRIS) and the Animal Genetic Resources – Characterization, Inventory and Monitoring (AnGR-CIM) tool hosted in ARIS3. This will provide robust evidence for the formulation and development of strategies and policies for animal resources as well as rational decision-making processes at national and continental level.
Furthermore, Dr Mary Mbole-Kariuki, noted that the equipment will upgrade current technology facilities in the National data centres “The donated ICT equipment will facilitate data capture in countries and make data available to enable decision-makers to formulate good policies and promote efficient and equitable public and private sector investments in AnGR in Member State. The data will facilitate monitoring of national breed populations and enhance informed decision-making on the management of animal genetic resources in Africa.”