A Water Technician, Base Logistician, Field Monitoring Officer, Logistics Assistant and Security Officer – what do they have in common? Navigation skills are necessary in their daily work as humanitarian responders.

On 26 October, the Logistics Sector Nigeria organised a GPS training in Maiduguri: 16 participants from 13 organisations were trained in using handheld GPS units. Technical navigation skills are essential in humanitarian operations as they ensure the provision of accurate information on locations (e.g. road constraints), and therefore help to make logistics planning more efficient.

The half-day training was facilitated by a GIS Officer, Temisaren John Odeka, who recently joined the Logistics Sector team, seconded by iMMAP. ‘’Working for the Logistics Sector gives you a sense of serving a wider humanitarian community’’, explains John. ‘’It was a great pleasure to deliver the training to staff from 13 organisations, which also gave me a great sense of satisfaction’’.

The participants learnt how GPS devices work and how they can be best used in their daily activities. Moreover, they learnt about the common mistakes made when acquiring GPS coordinates and how to avoid them. After the theoretical part, the participants were split in smaller teams and asked to navigate to known GPS coordinates using a handheld GPS. Finally, they were given an address within Maiduguri area and asked to acquire its coordinates. The participants were also introduced to an A-GPS technology, which allows to determine location information using a mobile or a tablet.

“This training has extended my navigation skills and I feel comfortable with using a handheld GPS when I set to the field next time’’, says Lumba Jk Auwal from INTERSOS. ‘’Being able to create waypoints and make a route will support preparing reports in my current work as a Monitoring and Evaluation Field Officer’’.

Due to high interest, the Logistics Sector will consider organising more GPS trainings in the future in order to serve the need for enhancing the logistics expertise among humanitarian workers operating in the northeast. To date, the Logistics Sector organised seven trainings on setting up Mobile Storage Units (MSU), warehouse management, customs and GPS for 146 participants in total.