From May 15 to 20, 22 professional women from South America took part in an intense face-to-face workshop, organized by the Knowledge Exchange for Resilience at Arizona State University (ASU) and the SERVIR-Amazonia Program, called “Advancing Women’s Prosperity in the Workplace”. The objective of the event was to help a group of early-career women in geospatial sciences and services to strengthen their abilities and become multiplier agents that apply what they have learned in their own projects. The workshop was carried out using the Train the Trainers methodology.
It is well known that in Latin America, as in other regions, gender gap persists in terms of women’s access to technology, and it is more pronounced in the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Their participation in leadership positions in public and private bodies is also limited. For this reason, the SERVIR-Amazonia Program promotes the strengthening of women’s technical and social skills in environmental sciences and geospatial technologies, generating processes aimed at sharing experiences and practical ideas, and the creation of professional networks.
With these objectives in mind, this workshop was organized with ASU and the Knowledge Exchange for Resilience Program, together with SERVIR Global. SERVIR-Amazonia selected 22 participants from five countries, who are connected to public and private institutions that are SERVIR-Amazonia partners. These institutions were:
- Brasil: CEMADEN, EMBRAPA, IMAFLORA, SEMAPI-ACRE, SEMAS-Para
- Colombia: Alliance of Biodiversity International and CIAT, IDEAM
- Ecuador: EcoCiencia, GAD Imbabura, INAMHI, CIIFEN
- Peru: ACCA, IAAP, MINAM – DGOT, MIDAGRI – SERFOR, SENAMHI, Universidad Científica del Sur
- Guyana: NAREI
During the event led by Patricia Solis, Executive Director of The Knowledge Exchange for Resilience Program, a powerful team of co-organizers from ASU, NASA, USAID and SERVIR-Amazonia was brought together to drive the process and support the entire workshop, as well as distinguished guests from other organizations.
The training was organized into six sections:
- Mentoring and networking.
- General knowledge on gender and environment
- Promotion of Empowerment Skills (Power Skills)}
- Technological Skills
- One-on-one mentoring
- Preparation and final presentation of participants’ proposals.
The workshop promoted new technical knowledge and introduced skills and abilities. The technical training included reviewing and implementing geospatial programs and services such as Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI), which uses LiDAR to map forests, Google Earth Engine, and Climate. Participants also analyzed and discussed the interrelationships between gender issues and geospatial services, how to design and work around personal vision, how to strengthen negotiation skills, interdisciplinary collaboration, networking, mentorship and cultural intelligence, as well as the importance of considering the application of geospatial services (GIS) in communities.
Marina Irigoyen, Gender Advisor at SERVIR-Amazonia, together with Emily Adams (NASA SERVIR Eastern and Southern Africa Science Coordinator), presented the methodological proposal for Gender Analysis around GIS, as well as the experience of gender analysis around RAMI, a geospatial service that detects illegal mining, in Madre de Dios, Peru.
The professionalism of the ASU team, the impressive facilities at the university’s headquarters, and the excellent infrastructure that emphasizes the use of renewable energies, all combined to create an inspirational workshop. A series of extra-curricular activities completed the program, which promoted exchange and networking among the participants.
Participants also designed proposals for continuity, in order to replicate what they had learned with other women in their workplaces or communities. There are 16 proposals (several of them joint initiatives, made with other participants) that combine face-to-face and virtual activities.
The proposals included training for the introduction and use of various geospatial tools such as Google Earth Engine or Tethys Platform, the dissemination of applications for monitoring forests or land use involving women, collaborative mapping to detect disaster areas, the development of networks and contacts, negotiation skills, and mentoring. Workshop facilitators and participants all agreed that designing proposals collaboratively is a very challenging process.
From SERVIR-Amazonia we reaffirm our commitment to follow up participants’ initiatives and to support them with methodologies, tools and the expertise of our team and partners.
 In addition to Patricia Solis, the organizing committee included: Emily Adams (NASA SERVIR East and Southern Africa Science Coordinator); Natalia da Silveira Arruda (PhD student at ASU); Erin Carr-Jordan (Managing Director of ASU’s Digital Equity Institute); Amy Frazier (Associate Professor at ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning); Georgia Hartman (Gender and Environment
Advisor in the Gender Equality and Women´s Empowerment Hub at USAID); Marina Irigoyen (SERVIR- Amazonia Gender Advisor); Vanesa Martin (Regional Science Associate SERVIR-Amazonia Hub); Helen Parache (Regional Science Coordinator Lead SERVIR-Amazonia).