Enhancing Climate Advisories for Resilience in East Africa

Since its inception in 2018, the ACREI project has worked to link the meteorological services with intermediaries, local level and community users by supporting downscaling of forecasts, translation into local languages, capacity building of intermediaries and media practitioners, and dissemination of information to farmers

19 Jun, 2020 Project Update 12

Furthering adaptation actions on the ground in East Africa 

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In 2020, the ACREI project will, through activities conducted by Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), focus on linking the climate information generated, to participatory planning processes, Farmer Field Schools (FFS) and community adaptation investments. Sixty FFS in the project region will be supplied with rain gauges to encourage local monitoring of weather and climate information, while an FFS manual on climate change adaptation practice is currently being developed. The Participatory Integrated Climate Services for Agriculture (PICSA) approach will be integrated into programming, beginning with an ICPAC-led training of focal points from the meteorological services and local government staff.

Adaptation actions sometimes do not adequately consider locally specific adaptation needs in relation to actual weather and climate information, whose custodians are the national meteorological and hydrological services (NMHSs) of each country. Effective climate services can enable climate-smart decisions in various sectors such as food security, agriculture or water resource management.

Since its inception in 2018, the ACREI project has worked to link the meteorological services with intermediaries, local level and community users by supporting downscaling of forecasts, translation into local languages, capacity building of intermediaries and media practitioners, and dissemination of information to farmers. “The premise behind ACREIs resilience action is that climate information, including downscaled localized forecasts and historical climate analysis are essential for well planned, locally appropriate and sustainable climate change adaptation actions,” says Robert Stefanski, WMOs Head of Applied Climate Services Division, Applications for Agriculture, Energy and Health.

Engaging end-users through Participatory Advisory Planning (PSP)

ACREI is improving climate advisories that allow farmers in target communities in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda to make informed decisions about the management and preservation of their crops as the season progresses. This is done by co-producing seasonal weather and climate advisories through a process called Participatory Scenario Planning (PSP). PSP takes the co-production process down to the sub-national level by bringing the producers and users of weather and climate information in each target location together for two-day workshops.

As a result of the PSP workshop, a collaborative advisory is issued for the coming season that is scientifically sound, and locally relevant, and most importantly, useful. The advisory is subsequently translated into local languages such as Swahili for Kenya, and Ifran Oromifa for Ethiopia. 

"I am very satisfied with this two-day Participatory Scenario Planning event here in Isingiro District, it has been highly informative. The information I and my fellow farmers have received will go a long way in planning for this March, April, May rainfall season." - Tom Byakatonda, Farmer, Isingiro District, Uganda.

Through its executing entity, the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC), ACREI is improving climate advisories that allow farmers in target communities in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda to make informed decisions about the management and preservation of their crops as the season progresses. This is done by co-producing seasonal weather and climate advisories through a process called Participatory Scenario Planning (PSP). PSP takes the co-production process down to the sub-national level by bringing the producers and users of weather and climate information in each target location together for two-day workshops. These entities include the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD), Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) and the Ethiopian National Meteorological Agency (NMA), local government departments, agricultural extension agents and disaster risk reduction practitioners, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs), indigenous knowledge experts, and local farmers.

As a result of the PSP workshop, a collaborative advisory is issued for the coming season that is scientifically sound, and locally relevant, and most importantly, useful. The advisory is subsequently translated into local languages such as Swahili for Kenya, and Ifran Oromifa for Ethiopia.

Engaging media as a stakeholder in delivering climate information

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Assessments on climate information communication and feedback mechanisms indicated that local radio is the medium through which smallholder farmers prefer to receive climate information. This finding was further confirmed by a socio-economic baseline survey conducted among over 2,800 households in the project region. Subsequently, ICPAC and the NMHSs engaged local media partners, mostly radio stations, in the dissemination of timely and accurate climate information, and as a channel for receiving feedback on the forecasts provided.

Through partnerships with local radio stations, climate information is also shared during regular programming as part of a Seasonal Media Action Plan (S-MAP), an ICPAC created methodology, developed to strengthen partnerships between the NMHSs and the local media. The S-MAP brings together stakeholders each season and outlines the weather and climate information to be shared, the updates that will be made to the public, and the type of weather- and climate-focused programmes to be broadcast by each participating station. This model ensures sustainability in dissemination of climate information. Selected journalists in Kenya have also been trained on how to communicate climate information and how to undertake their own climate information user needs surveys, using applications such as KoboToolBox. All these actions aid in reaching “the last mile.”

In February 2020, KMD, with the support of ICPAC, recognized local media partners for their efforts in climate information dissemination. Linda Akoth, a journalist at Sifa FM, a local radio station in Voi Town, Taita Taveta County, Kenya, was recently recognized with an award for her efforts in climate information dissemination. Linda has been involved in ACREIs co-production workshops and has received training on climate reporting which has helped her to translate and disseminate accurate information provided to her by KMD.  

The Agricultural Climate Resilience Enhancement Initiative (ACREI)

The ACREI project is a partnership program between the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Center (ICPAC) funded by the Adaptation Fund. The program targets Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda and supports community adaptation practice, climate proofing of extension systems and climate informed decision-making. The goal of this initiative is to develop and implement adaptation strategies and measures that will strengthen the resilience of vulnerable smallholder farmers, agro-pastoralists and pastoralists in the Horn of Africa to climate variability and change.

Tags: Agriculture , Climate Information