BCOMING field trips in Guinea and Cambodia (part 1)
After months of preparation with the partners of the BCOMING project, the first field activities are finally starting.
As coordinator of the project, it is exciting to see the final details of the methods discussed between partners, the material ordered and shipped, the dates of the field activities scheduled and the field teams on their way to the study sites.
The beginning of 2023 has been dedicated to finalizing the protocols and obtaining the legal and ethical approvals and authorizations. Now that everything is on track, the activities are starting in the different sites of the project. I was in Guinea in March to meet with the partners of the project and the national authorities in Conakry where we discussed the implementation of the project and its impacts for the country. I then joined the Ebo-Sursy team on its last field mission to capture and sample bats in Forecariah and Madina-Oula. BCOMING will build on the Ebo-Sursy project and continue the work initiated by CERFIG, IRD and CIRAD, three partners of the BCOMING project. During this trip we had the opportunity to introduce the project to the local partners and citizens and explain how it will extend the ongoing work and beneficiate to the community. This trip gave us the opportunity to finalize the details of the protocols in Guinea and introduce the new members of the team recruited for BCOMING.
Next week I will join the IPC team on their field trip to Stung Treng province in Cambodia to set up the BCOMING protocols in this key study site of the project. I am particularly looking forward to this trip since I lived in Cambodia for 4 years, studying bat human interfaces at IPC, and have not returned in 5 years because of the pandemic. I am curious to see how Cambodia has changed and excited to be back on the field with my former colleagues! I will also have the opportunity to discuss the first participatory workshops organized by MERFI in Stung Treng and Battambang province with all partners of the project.
The participatory framework piloted by MERFI is the key process for the integration of all data and knowledge produced by the project to support the co-construction of the biodiversity conservation and disease prevention strategies. I am really interested to see how the outputs of these workshops will be translated in actions in the future. The first participatory workshops for Guinea and Guadeloupe are being planned with the partners and all activities of the project should start as planned by the end of this year.
I am looking forward to the first results of the project and already enjoying the start of BCOMING activities!