As the world continues to embrace new ways and new ideas of doing things, the need to adapt and explore new approaches to lasting development solutions, is therefore inevitable.
It was with this in mind, that a team of six people from the Department of Agricultural Extension, National Smallholders Farmers’ Association of Malawi, the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services and UNDP Malawi went to Kenya, to understand how climate information is packaged and disseminated to help inform farming decisions.
They learnt best practices, experiences and challenges from a diverse group of experts and partners in climate services projects, such as how to bring together different tools and systems in disseminating weather and climate information, aimed at helping farmers manage weather risks to maximize productivity.
Speaking during the trip, the Communications Officer from the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAES), Geoffrey Cholombo, explained the practical approaches to help develop effective platforms for disseminating weather and climate related information, that they plan to adopt to help inform their activities under the M-Climes Project.
“We need to ensure that we create strong participatory platforms that bring together all key stakeholders at the district level to co-develop agricultural and disaster risk management advisories based on the climate information and seasonal forecasts. This inclusive approach increases the ownership of the dissemination process since the relevant stakeholders are on board from an early stage. We also plan to engage IT experts to develop mobile platforms to disseminate agro-advisories,” he said.
The team also had the opportunity to learn how Kenya uses different complementary dissemination tools like strategic partnerships with community radio stations, artificial intelligence, mobile and social media platforms, all aimed at establishing diverse communication platforms where weather forecasts and climate information reaches people at all levels.
The trip also included engagement with the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology; Kenya’s Meteorological Department; Kangema RANET Community Radio station and several other projects working within the country’s climate services.
The M-Climes project, funded by the Green Climate, is a project that UNDP is implementing in partnership with the Malawi Government and alongside national and local structures to build the capacity of key actors for improved weather and climate observation, analysis, forecasting and dissemination of information and warnings. Key implementing partners working alongside UNDP include the Department of Disaster Management Affairs; the Department of Agricultural Extension Services, National Smallholders Farmers’ Association of Malawi and the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services.