Developing the global potential of citizen science: assessing opportunities that benefit people, society and the environment in East Africa

Pocock, Michael J.O. ORCID:; Roy, Helen E. ORCID:; August, Tom ORCID:; Kuria, Anthony; Barasa, Fred; Bett, John; Githiru, Mwangi; Kairo, James; Kimani, Julius; Kinuthia, Wanja; Kissui, Bernard; Madindou, Ireene; Mbogo, Kamau; Mirembe, Judith; Mugo, Paul; Muniale, Faith Milkah; Njoroge, Peter; Njuguna, Edwin Gichohi; Olendo, Mike Izava; Opige, Michael; Otieno, Tobias O.; Ng'weno, Caroline Chebet; Pallangyo, Elisha; Thenya, Thuita; Wanjiru, Ann; Trevelyan, Rosie. 2018 Developing the global potential of citizen science: assessing opportunities that benefit people, society and the environment in East Africa. Journal of Applied Ecology.

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1. Citizen science is gaining increasing prominence as a tool for science and engagement. However, despite being a potentially valuable tool for sustainable development, citizen science has little visibility in many developing countries. 2. We undertook a collaborative prioritisation process with experts in conservation and the environment to assess the potential of environmental citizen science in East Africa, including its opportunities, benefits and barriers. This provided principles that are applicable across developing countries, particularly for large‐scale citizen science. 3. We found that there was great potential for citizen science to add to our scientific knowledge of natural resources and biodiversity trends. Many of the important benefits of citizen science were for people, as well as the environment directly. Major barriers to citizen science were mostly social and institutional, although projects should also consider access to suitable technology and language barriers. 4. Policy implications. Citizen science can provide data to support decision‐making and reporting against international targets. Participation can also provide societal benefits, informing and empowering people, thus supporting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. In developing countries, innovation is needed to further develop culturally relevant citizen science that benefits participants and end users. This should be supported through regional networks of stakeholders for sharing best practice.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Biodiversity (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0021-8901
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: conservation, citizen science, Eastern Africa, monitoring, public engagement, science-policy, social capital, sustainable development
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 30 Oct 2018 14:17 +0 (UTC)

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