This paper describes a project initiated by non-literate Mbendjele hunter gatherers in the rainforests of Congo. The project equipped “citizen scientists” with smartphones, running software adapted for non-literate users, to enable them to monitor and improve the sustainable management of their forest and its resources. This included monitoring the harassment they experienced at the hands of “eco-guards” who enforce hunting regulations, with a view to diminishing this. The paper describes the challenges posed by developing and deploying a system for non-literate users, and the solutions to these developed by the ExCiteS Research Group at University College London. It provides information on the Anti-Poaching data collection platform that runs on Android smartphones and is based on a decision tree of pictorial icons, with various smartphone sensors used to augment observations.
This paper was presented at the third annual Symposium on Computing for Development (DEV 2013), held in Bangalore, India in January 2013.