African leaders in weather and climate services highlight DARAJA achievements at key workshop
Thursday 24th September 2020 was a momentous day for a wide range of DARAJA* stakeholders in Nairobi , Dar es Salaam and London. Over two and a half years worth of intensive collaboration was presented and discussed in a unique hybrid interactive forum – part virtual, part physical – that connected the three cities and interested observers from 7 other countries.
Since early 2010 a unique coalition of stakeholders have been striving through DARAJA to improve the climate resilience of vulnerable populations living in informal settlements in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya by building bridges between communities, weather and climate information providers.
The DARAJA Learnings & Outcomes Workshop in September brought together participants from 32 organisations in a collective assessment of the project’s achievements.
The first keynote speaker in the interactive opening plenary of the workshop was Stella Aura, MBS, Director of Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD).
Director, Stella Aura
The KMD Director explained that Kenya was experiencing increased high impact weather conditions; extreme heat, larger rainfall seasons and rising water levels after floods. KMD, therefore, was under pressure to deliver timely and accurate weather forecasts to the public that were essential for the sustained protection of lives.
In partnership with Nairobi community development partner, KDI , she said KMD has decided to focus on four settlements in Kenya. Enhanced dissemination of the weather forecasts from KMD had increased the number of people utilising the weather information as a result. DARAJA had also convened training workshops to make meteorological terms more accessible. KMD had provided accurate and timely forecasts for the city to help individuals take preventative action.
She looked forward to the next stage of the two-day workshop, to continue this project’s learnings into the future, “All projects have to end eventually but the project impact should continue. Partners, donors and collaborators will want to see how the project and its impact will outlive their direct involvement…”.
Director Stella Aura summarised that overall the programme had helped to save lives, protect property and conserve the environment in their city.
The second keynote speaker was Dr Ladislaus Chang’a, Principal Meteorologist and Director of Research and Applied Meteorology, Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA).
Director, Dr Ladislaus Chang’a
DARAJA was the best example Dr Chang’a said of an effective private – public partnership in the weather and climate services sector. Not only had the National Meteorological and Hydromet Services (NHMS) come together to work with non-governmental organisations in the East Africa region through DARAJA, they had enhanced climate services as a result.
Dr Chang’a, who acts as the focal point for Tanzania on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), observed that since the start of the DARAJA programme, there had been a widespread emergence of high impact weather events. The increasing escalation of severe climate change impacts – in their variability, frequency and intensity – meant that TMA needed to address these climate challenges effectively. DARAJA had been helping TMA to meet this challenge.
INCLUSIVE & SCALABLE
The TMA Principal Meteorologist noted that the added benefit of the climate and weather services developed under DARAJA was that the information was inclusive and shared across all levels of society. Previously, groups or areas in Tanzania had not enjoyed the benefits of informed and inclusive climate services. This had been overcome, he said, by DARAJA.
Through user-centric service development, co -design and downscaling, the large gap in capacity and observations between climate service experts and their users had been reduced. The collaboration in DARAJA had resulted in an enhanced climate service at a local scale for the city residents.
Dr Chang’a was keen to make sure the DARAJA learnings on user engagement of the city dwellers in Dar es Salaam of the improved weather services, could continue, “DARAJA has been a very good example of public – private partnership in terms of climate services in this part of the world, and it needs to be upscaled and sustained.”
For more information on DARAJA and Resurgence; consultancy, advisory work and speaker engagements from our team of climate experts, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
*DARAJA is a UK FCDO (UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office) funded project of the **Met Office-led Weather and Climate Information Services for Africa (WISER) Programme. DARAJA means ‘bridge’ in Swahili. DARAJA aims to improve the climate resilience of vulnerable populations living in informal settlements in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya by building bridges between communities and weather and climate information providers.
DARAJA is being delivered by a consortium comprised of Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI) in Nairobi, the Centre for Community Initiatives (CCI) in Dar es Salaam, and led by Resurgence. Within two years of launching, DARAJA has received Grade A reviews from the Met Office, and won a prestigious innovation award from the Global Resilience Partnership (GRP), placing it in the top 6% of innovative resilience projects worldwide. DARAJA has also been shortlisted in the British Expertise International Awards for in the category of International Collaborative Project.
DARAJA is receiving additional support to scale out of Nairobi and Dar es Salaam into other global cities, from the EIT Climate-KIC, the EU ‘s leading public private climate innovation partnership.
**The Met Office, the UK’s national meteorological service.