In one pilot project funded by the Climate & Development Knowledge Network, the Senegal Meteorological Service (ANACIM) working with the Red Cross and community leaders, is relaying weather information to a designated village contact by mobile phone. The news is then posted on a blackboard in the village and picked up by contacts from other villages or spread through local networks. AfClix is supporting an extension to this pilot, which through AfClix connections, is helping extend its reach from local to national and also other targeted countries. This information is helping to improve agricultural management as it helps farmers to better plan planting dates, choose more resilient seed varieties, and decide when to fertilise crops, so that fertiliser is not washed away but has the maximum impact it can have on crop yield. It also has an impact on communities by reducing the loss of life through flash flooding events, and builds confidence in communities to become advocates themselves for more help from civil society and government. This project has strengthened the relationship between ANACIM and communities, universities and government. Further outcomes from this strengthening of relationships have been the generation of new communication pathways for engagement, which has led to increased dialogue between users and providers, the information from which will inform future research.

In November 2012, British Ambassador John Marshall wrote the following in the Senegal daily newspaper Le Soleil: ‘Is Meteorology an area where the UK has a special expertise? Yes, and this is an area in which we want to share our expertise. British institutions, such as the Natural Environment Research Council, the National Centre of Atmospheric Science and the University of Reading, created AfClix (Africa Climate Exchange) whose objective is to provide (weather and) climate information on the timescales that matter, do and can support the local communities. In Senegal, AfClix is working with the Senegalese Red Cross to facilitate sending flood alerts to vulnerable communities.’ [translation from the original French]

This research is part of the Africa Climate Exchange (AfClix) project, a knowledge transfer project to facilitate the exchange of climate science and adaptation knowledge.

Research led by Dr Ros Cornforth

First published: June 2015