Is scientific climate information service adequate and reliable in reducing vulnerability to climate change? This is a question that has been posed by communities in Arid and Semi Arid lands of Kenyan (ASALs), who acknowledged that they still continue using indigenous knowledge to monitor weather patterns. The communities in ASALs have conceded that due to weather changes and change in seasons, the indigenous methods are becoming less reliable and thus the need for alternative methods to disseminate climate information.
In a bid to ensure that “Africa can feed Africa now: translating Climate Knowledge into action”, organizations are devising ways of working with communities in disseminating climate information to end-users. A case scenario in Kenya is the Kenya Meteorological Services (KMS) working together with partners under the Adaptation Consortium in developing user-driven Climate Information Service (CIS) to better support planning across county governments in Kenya as well as those whose lives and livelihoods are directly impacted by weather and climate.
The new service provides information about the weather and climate together with useful advice on actions to take in dealing with possible impacts. During the plenary panel discussion session on “climate data, information and knowledge for agricultural production, water resources management and food security, Fetene Teshome noted the importance of mainstreaming climate information into decision making. The statement was echoed by Anne Kitheka a farmer in Kitui who noted that“getting reliable timely information will be beneficialin planning her farm and what to plant”, she said.
“Climate change is with us and we cannot run away from it. The only way we can survive through it is by adapting and we can only adapt with information about climate,” said Ayub Shaka, Assistant Director Kenya Meteorological Services.
The county climate information will be disseminated through local and regional radio, short messages services and secondary intermediaries who are respected, influential individuals in their counties of implementation. The intermediaries will ensure seasonal, monthly, weekly and daily forecasts and weather warnings support farming and livestock activities is being disseminated.
Drawn from across the County Government Administration and the Ministries of Agriculture, Livestock and Cooperation, as well as religious and community leaders and NGOs, the process aims to establish a network of 1,500 intermediaries in each county and so ensure one intermediary for every 500 people.
By Jane Kiiru