by Marc Stalmans, Ph.d, Science Director, Gorgongosa National Park
Gorongosa National Park recently celebrated the return of Margarida Victor after she successfully completed her Master’s studies in Ireland.
Margarida Victor was born in Nampula Province in the north of Mozambique. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Biological Science at Lúrio University in Pemba in the province of Cabo Delgado. During her bachelor’s studies she came into contact with Gorongosa National Park in 2017. She formed part of a group of students and young professionals that were taught the techniques of biodiversity assessments through a Teaching Biodiversity Survey. This is one of the Advanced Science Workshops that are being held annually as part of Gorongosa’s bio-education program.
After graduating, Margarida started working in 2018 in the Gorongosa Science Department. She has been using GPS and drones to produce maps for the different Departments in the Gorongosa Project. She has also been training technicians in the other Departments in the use of a GPS to improve the quality of spatial information collected in the field. All of the spatial information was consolidated in an Environmental Atlas with over 60 maps that depict geology, soils, climate, vegetation, wildlife distribution, people density, cultivated areas and infrastructure throughout the National Park and its Sustainable Development Zone.
At the Irish Embassy in Maputo with Mr. Adrian Fitzgerald, the Deputy-Head of Mission.
Margarida trained young people in Vila Gorongosa, the capital of the Gorongosa district, to undertake a large-scale survey to better understand socio-economic conditions, source of employment and available services as part of the Gorongosa Project Model Cities program.
In 2022, Margarida was awarded a fully-funded fellowship through the Irish Fellowship Programme for Africa, which allowed her to study at National University of Ireland, Maynooth. In August this year, she completed her Master’s degree in GIS and Remote Sensing with a 1st Class Honours Award. She is now back full-time in the Park where her academic achievements and practical experience have prepared her to excel in the field and to make significant contributions to the world of GIS and conservation.
Margarida in her own words
“My dream is to see Mozambique using GIS tools and technology to solve daily issues and also to create a National Database where we will have GIS data for the Country. I believe that one day, Mozambique will be a leader in this field.
What I most enjoyed working in Gorongosa has been mentoring young Mozambican scientists who are contributing in Conservation by supporting the Restoration Project with joy and happiness. I am happy and proud to be part of this amazing team and excited to apply all the knowledge I have learned during my studies in Ireland.
During my stay in Ireland, I was involved in volunteering activities as part of Irish Fellow Volunteers initiative. I have volunteered at Age Action by supporting senior citizens on technology literacy and at Maynooth Tidy Towns Association by participating on “Maynooth clean up” every Saturday. Through these activities, I have learned about the Irish culture and history and it improved my wellbeing and gained new skills.
I found Ireland as a peaceful and safe place to live. The Irish people are the most welcome and lovely people I have met. I couldn’t ask more from what I experienced during my stay in Ireland. I am extremely happy I was there to see and experience all these things.”
‘We Act Ireland’ wrote a story about my volunteering experience.” – https://www.instagram.com/p/CsV-7ObKmim/?img_index=1