Citizen science for conservation in Africa (CISCA)

This project will help translate citizen science species monitoring into conservation action in Africa.

It will do this through building the capacity of national conservation scientists to become effective citizen science managers.  They will learn skills to analyse their own datasets collected by citizen scientists, so their results can inform conservation practice and policy.  

Project Aims

To translate citizen science biodiversity monitoring into more effective decision making for conservation.

  • Capacity for biodiversity monitoring: Build capacity to analyse citizen science monitoring data, and use these results to inform conservation and policy.
  • Manage citizen science projects for conservation outcomes: Build capacity to recruit, maintain, and train non-experts and maximise the validity of data that they collect.
  • Translate citizen science biodiversity data into policy and action: African scientists will gain skills in creating and presenting outputs of citizen science monitoring data, and in communicating these results to decision makers and conservation managers.

Key Activities

Two integrated workshops will train 15 African scientists (attending both). Participants will be involved in co-designing the second workshop, ensuring it meets their needs.

Workshop topics:

  • Methods for analysing atlas data and producing policy relevant outputs
  • How to be citizen science leaders
  • Skills for engaging with policy and communicating to diverse audiences.

Trainees will apply their skills, supported by the project team.  

Building an African citizen science network.

Citizen Science Seminar: to share results and insights with the wider conservation community and charter the way forward.

Conservation Impact

The project will create a network of African scientists with the skills to analyse their biodiversity atlas data and use these results to influence policy and practice.  It will also generate more effective citizen science projects – across a range of taxa – through enhancing the capacity of African project coordinators.   A lasting impact will be that the project will recruit more ambassadors for nature, through their engagement as citizen scientists.

In the long run, the project will ensure conservation and management is effective and evidence-based, because it will be based on continually up-dated, locally derived knowledge.  



  • 15 African scientists engaged in an active network 
  • 5 MSc research projects using citizen science data
  • 1 internship at the National Museums of Kenya or participating universities

Monitoring & research

  • 5+ atlases containing citizen science data 
  • Maps published showing core & periphery distributions of priority species 
  • Papers showing species change related to land-use change
  • 10 datasets published on GBIF

Citizen science

  • 800 African citizen scientists across Africa raised as ‘ambassadors for biodiversity conservation’
  • Knowledge of distribution and status of less-well known taxa increased

CCI partners Involved

Tropical Biology Association is dedicated to building the capacity and expertise of people and institutions to conserve and manage biodiversity in tropical regions. Its network spans 40 countries.
British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is an independent scientific research trust specialising in impartial evidence-based knowledge and advice about populations, movements and ecology of birds and...
The Department of Zoology carries out wide-ranging work in ecology and conservation including conservation science, aquatic ecology, pathogen evolution and evolutionary ecology. Research of the...

Related Resources

Resource Title Description Type
Analysing and Interpreting Citizen Science Data The Collaborative Fund project 'Citizen science for conservation in Africa (CISCA)' will help translate citizen science species monitoring into conservation action in Africa. There is huge potential... Working papers and reports

Project blog posts

10 Apr 2019
The following blog is written by Rosie Trevelyan, Director, Tropical Biology Association (project lead for the CCI Collaborative Fund project ‘Citizen science for conservation in Africa (CISCA)’)....