This project is a collaboration between ZSL and ExCiteS and aims to provide a way for forest peoples – indigenous Baka hunter-gatherers and Bantu farmers in Cameroon – to report illegal wildlife crime.

Who are the users?

Indigenous Baka hunter-gatherer and Bantu farming communities in south-eastern Cameroon. The participating communities are largely non-literate or illiterate, and therefore the Sapelli projects are entirely icon-based. Each individual community has a unique project, adapted from a general common template, to provide locally-relevant icons and exclude those icons which may be confusing for local people.

An example project

As progress is made through the decision tree, items to report become increasingly specific, for example a specific type of gun or ammunition. The possibility then arises of taking photos and/or audio recordings, as well as a GPS point.



A key difficulty in such a project is the interface interaction; these are participants who have never seen or used a touchscreen phone, and don’t necessarily understand functional symbols such as ticks, crosses, and arrows. However, such issues can be overcome with training sessions and a bottom-up approach involving building the Sapelli project with local people and incorporating local ideas and icon designs into the XML coding.

You can download the Wildlife Crime project here: Wildlife Crime v1.0

Data transmission

Records are stored on the phone’s SD card, and automatically transmitted by a data connection to the GeoKey server. Such transmission mechanisms can prove problematic in a rural rainforest environment, but this can be addressed with the addition of an SMS transmission mechanism – sending data to a project receiver phone – as well as setting up a 1-minute transmission interval. Data is sent to officers in Cameroon’s Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, via NGO partners, which is automatically displayed on GeoKey’s GIS interface, Community Maps.

Project XML

Here you can find the code for this project. Comments have been included in italics in order to guide you through the XML file.