GPS training with the agricultural agents

On Friday, we had a great GPS training session with the agricultural agents. We created a manual that outlines how to mark where families live by collecting a waypoint using the GPS. The manual includes pictures of each step, and highlights important points (always have extra batteries! never stand inside!) to ensure that the process is clear and well documented. [caption id="attachment_250" align="aligncenter" width="573"] training manual snapshot[/caption]

We began the training by having a discussion about the project - why are maps useful and important? What are the problems the agents currently run into, when they visit the families? We then spent some time drawing mental maps of the areas where the agents work, we'll post some of these later -- they are awesome!

[caption id="attachment_245" align="aligncenter" width="580"] the agricultural agents drawing mental maps[/caption]

We then went through the manual in great detail, explaining every point and showing the agents how to use the GPS. The agents all asked a lot of great questions, and we tried to be very clear. Sometimes we'd explain something in one way, and could tell that they didn't understand, so we'd have to try again, and think of a different example. It took a little while to explain why it's important for each household to have a unique identifier,and for the unique identifier to be the label of the points collected using the GPS, but it was great that the process was very thorough. By the end of it we felt like a lot of things had been clarified, and that the agents had a solid understanding of what the GPS can do, and how they can use it.

[caption id="attachment_246" align="aligncenter" width="580"] learning how to use the GPS[/caption]

We then went outside, where we'd tacked up 5 different signs around the garden, representing different households. On the signs, we put the mama's name, as well as the unique identifier for that household. We gave each agent an example spreadsheet with these practice households.

[caption id="attachment_247" align="aligncenter" width="580"] setting up the training[/caption]

We walked around to all of the points with each agent individually, and had them practice collecting points. At first, it was a little difficult for them to figure out how to use the joystick that's in the middle of our GPS, but once they got the hang of pushing it around to select different things and re-label the points with the unique identifiers, it was great! It took all of the agents a while to record the first point or two, but by the fifth one they were so speedy.

[caption id="attachment_249" align="aligncenter" width="580"] practicing collecting waypoints[/caption]

At the end of the training, all of the agents were so excited. They wanted to keep practicing with the GPS, and were really enthusiastic about continuing to collect data in the field and get more comfortable with the GPS. It was an amazing day!

[caption id="attachment_248" align="aligncenter" width="580"] the ag agents at the end of the training![/caption]