At home with data in Ghana

Etse Lossou, our GIS (Geographic Information Systems) analyst and native Ghanaian, visited his home country in January to train data collectors. After all, good data is crucial for our mission: it enables us to validate our models and ensures the generated carbon credits are reliable and of high quality. And good data starts with good data collection. In this blog post, Etse shares his experiences.

From the ground up

As part of our partnership with Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), we conducted a week-long training program for ground truth enumerators in Kintampo. Rather than working with a contracted third-party data collector, MOFA covered data collection themselves, requesting training from Acorn to do so effectively and efficiently.

Introduction to Acorn and ground truth

The first day, we introduced the Acorn project to the training participants and MOFA district directors, as most of them were new to the project. The afternoon session focused specifically on ground truth data collection for the training participants and

Surveys made simple

The second day saw us actually practicing with the use of the SurveyCTO app. This tutorial was intended for participants to familiarize themselves with the app before we’d head out to the field for the real test of their skills.

Unexpected questions

Surprisingly, the newly minted data collectors asked quite a few technical questions and wanted to really delve into the technology. On the other hand, some background information (such as what a coordinate is) was missing, so some extra training was required.

While most of the training was done in English, being able to communicate with the enumerators in their own language was definitely a benefit: it allowed for a more open conversation, made it easier for participants to ask questions, and even correct one another.

Finally, the fields

On the third day and fourth day, we finally headed into the field for a practical application of the knowledge participants had gathered so far. The participants improved quickly, and by the end of day four, they produced already satisfactory results without supervision. This is important, because the data collected needs to be good: that’s how we validate our models and issue high-quality carbon credits.

A refreshing conclusion

As a reward for our hard work, we paid a refreshing visit to Fuller Falls. Ground truthing can be tedious work, so this was definitely a well-earned excursion. As for me, I then spent another three weeks in Ghana visiting and staying with family — after a long time away, it was good to be home.

About Acorn

We help support smallholder farmers in developing countries transition to agroforestry. Together with local partners, we facilitate the funding and training needed by farmers to start their agroforestry transition. Transforming the sequestered CO2 through agroforestry into Carbon Removal Units (CRUs), we offer carbon credits to responsible corporates to help them reach their climate goals. The growth of the trees is measured with satellite imagery, AI and LiDAR, and certified by ICROA-accredited Plan Vivo.

With 80% of the sales revenue going directly to the farmers, it creates an additional income stream and helps them adopt a more climate-resilient way of farming that improves food security, biodiversity, and financial independence.

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Etse LossouGIS AnalystLinkedIn
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