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Marie-Lucie Susini (2013)

Towards a better knowledge and protection of biodiversity in Africa using Web 2.0 technologies

In: eLearning Africa - 8th International Conference on ICT for Development, Education & Training - Book of Abstracts, ed. by ICWE.

For more than 10 years, thanks to funding provided by the Belgian Development Cooperation (DGD), the Belgian Clearing House Mechanism (CHM) team of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), has been helping its partner countries in the South develop their national CHM networks. In 2003, the European Union adopted the PTK (Portal Toolkit): a Content Management System that allows to develop national CHM websites in Europe. The PTK is released under the Mozilla Public License. It is a free and open source software, that allows multi user-generated content. It includes collaborative tools managed through the Web, such as discussion forums, consultations and surveys. With the PTK, users can: • Mobilize networks of experts through a user-friendly content management system • Raise public awareness by uploading short films, photos and presentations • Communicate biodiversity by state-of-the-art mapping services using YAHOO backgrounds and Google Earth exports • Prepare for biodiversity reporting by using public content contribution, user discussion forum, public consultation tools, survey tools and syndication • Collaborate in technical and scientific projects with modern web standards • Connect biodiversity databases. Belgium has been using the PTK for its national CHM website ( for 10 years. More than 30 countries in Africa use the PTK for their national websites (such as Benin, Madagascar, Morocco, etc.), see full list here ( The national website URLs are as follows: country code + For instance, for Niger, the URL is The Belgian CHM hosts the national CHM websites of its partner countries on its server and offers training courses for the development and maintenance of these websites. Distance learning manuals on the use of the PTK have been developed by the Belgian CHM team for the last 4 years. The manuals are developed both in English and French. They are available on a training website: This website is used for distance learning for our partners and for any other interested party but also for blended learning. Two weeks before a face-to-face training in a partner country, all future trainees are invited to: • surf their national CHM website; • read a basic manual that introduces the PTK and the CHM; • create a user account on the training website.
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