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About the Project

Of all climate-related disasters, droughts contribute over 90% of environmental, health and social negative impacts on people living in the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).  These recurring, and now more frequent, and severe droughts have continuously and systematically weakened the livelihoods of the people living in this Region. The frequency, magnitude and duration of droughts are on the rise globally, thanks to events such as climate change, global warming and population growth.  The uniqueness of the problem in SSA however is to be found in the inadequacy and ineffectiveness of the Region’s preparedness to these disasters. 

Accurate, timely and relevant weather forecast information is one way of enabling a community to anticipate and prepare for droughts and hence minimize the negative impacts. Though it may be argued that the science of weather forecasting has come of age especially in the West, the results of such forecasts are still alien to farmers in SSA most of whom live in the rural areas where they are still struggling with illiteracy and poor communication infrastructures.

A ‘homegrown’ weather monitoring/forecasting solution build around: (1) the versatile wireless sensor networks (WSNs); (2) mobile phones; and (3) African Indigenous Knowledge (IK) on weather; offers one way of tackling this menace facing SSA. WSNs are made up of hundreds/thousands of sensors that are set up to monitor weather conditions in a particular area. Integrating these WSNs with the now commonly used mobile phones and the more familiar (to African farmers) IK, makes it possible to monitor weather and disseminate relevant alerts at very local (say a village as opposed to the current larger areas served by professional weather stations) levels. A framework and system prototype for achieving this homegrown solution is the focus of this presentation.

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