Learn to defend: capacity building in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for VSG youth

Learn to defend: capacity building in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for VSG youth

Suriname - 13 September, 2023

Training in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) was provided for members of the Tropenbos Suriname team and young people from the VSG

Within the framework of the project in Securing land tenure rights for Saamaka people of Suriname, through the work of Tropenbos Suriname, the Observatory of Ethnic and Peasant Territories (OTEC) of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana de Colombia and the Association of Saamaka Authorities (VSG), the strengthening of social capital is proposed as an exercise to consolidate the bases for the governance structure and community development of the Saamaka territory.

For this reason, during June - August 2023, skills training in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) was carried out for members of the TBS team and young people from the VSG. This training was provided by OTEC researcher and GIS expert Carolina Arévalo and OTEC researcher and governance expert, Daniela Ortegón.


This training sought to provide tools and skills to the young people of the VSG and TBS team which will facilitate future research activities and decision-making processes for the management of the territory involving local participation.

The training was divided in five sessions. Attendees were introduced to the world of GIS and made familiar with the equipment for data collection, applications and software for data management and research purposes. Practical exercises were also carried out in which, through their research questions, objectives were designed and methodologies for obtaining information were put into practice.
One of the most important achievements was the introduction of the Avenza Maps application, an easily accessible tool for obtaining spatial information that each student could have on their smartphone. The use of the Qgis software was also introduced, as a first step to the export, management, and interpretation of geospatial information.


Through this course the participants took a new level of interest in the world of maps and above all, allowed them to reflect on the importance of capacity building with Saamaka community, so they can contribute to their territory.