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American institution donates teleconferencing equipment to KWS
Date Published: 01 Jul, 2013
The Barcode of Life of the Smithsonian Institution has donated teleconference equipment as part of the Barcode of Wildlife Project to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS)
This is part of support to KWS for participation at the 2014 Smithsonian Folk Life Festival.
The donation was made during a meeting held with the Executive Secretary of the Consortium of Barcode of Life Dr. David Schindel in Washington DC. The KWS delegation was by Assistant Director and Head of Community Enterprise Munira Bashir. Dr Schindel said he appreciated the work KWS undertakes in conserving wildlife, which is a world heritage.
He said that the Barcode of Wildlife Project (BWP) was in the process of hiring a half-time journalist to be based in Kenya who will help raise public awareness of BWP through its website and the Smithsonian Institute magazine. On its part, KWS would use its publications to highlight the cooperation. between the institutions.
He noted that as a close partner, they would be happy to showcase at the 2014 Folk life Festival alongside KWS. The project which shall be at the stage of actively building the barcode reference library and testing it with criminal evidence shall complement the work of the state-of-the-art forensic lab being built by Kenya Wildlife Service.
The teleconference equipment, which was handed to the KWS delegation, would enhance communication and improve the usage of technology by KWS. The equipment will initially support the connections between the Smithsonian, the molecular labs at KWS and National Museums of Kenya for exchange of ideas and capacity building. They shall also enable live demonstrations in Kenya that could be watched by visitors on the Washington Mall during the 2014 event. The videos recorded by the BWP in Kenya would also be made part of the exhibits at the Mall.
Dr. Schindel also confirmed the willingness of Barcode of Life to facilitate capacity building exchange programmes between KWS staff and the Smithsonian Institution staff.
Other KWS members present during the presentation were Assistant Director Special Projects Ibrahim Ogle, Head of Resource Mobilisation Edwin Wanyonyi, Licensing Officer Lucy Muita and United States Liaison officer Bill Clark. BWP is a project supported by Google Global Impact Award to the Smithsonian and is managed by Consortium of Barcode of Life. The goals of the BWP are to create a public, free-for-use DNA barcode reference library of approximately 50,000 data records representing 10,000 species. It is expected to demonstrate the effectiveness of DNA bar-coding in the investigation and prosecution of wildlife crimes. It is anticipated that at the end of the pilot project, DNA bar-coding formally approved and implemented tool for fighting wildlife crime.