The end of March brings this phase of the Darwin-funded element of the project to a close. However, the McKnight activities will continue, the PhD students have around a year of their scholarships remaining, and two new MSc students, Aurea and Juliana, will be starting new projects shortly.
In order to evaluate the success of the project and share lessons for future improvement, a project closing meeting was held 12th-14th March in Arusha. Most project partners attended, including Prof Phil Stevenson, Prof Geoff Gurr, Dr Ernest Mbega, Dr Sarah Arnold, Yolice Tembo, Julie Tumbo, and students Prisila Mkenda, Silvanus Mringi, Ancila Karani, Martin Mkindi, Angela Mkindi and new students Aurea and Juliana. Elisante Philemon was sharing his work at a difference conference in Uganda, so joined via Skype.
Some of the highlights of the meeting were the volume of biodiversity data available to continue to analyse, and the measurable changes in farmers' awareness of beneficial insects and sustainable pest management that has occurred during the project timeline.
Prisila Mkenda speaks to the group about data on farmer behaviour, collected using a novel ICT tool.