Small scale cattle farmers in an 84,000 square kilometer area on southwest Uganda are the target of a new ICT development project this year called Climate Change Adaption and ICT or CHAI for short. An article in at scidev.net gives the details of this exciting new project, funded by Canada’s International Development Research Center will use data collected with ICT tools by users to provide information on water and climate related risks to help combat the effects of climate change. Living in an urban environment with little connection to the environment the average person is not conscious of climate change but these farmers, who control 6o percent of Uganda’s seven million head of cattle, are very much aware of the effects of climate change.
(map of Uganda’s Cattle Corridor)
This $600,000 project will work to build more weather stations, establish and strengthen data collection for local weather and water as well as provide users with seasonal forecasting and early warning for severe weather. This information will be collected by members of the project’s team as well as farmers who been trained. This information will be relayed through text messaging, voice messaging and radio, all in the different local languages of the users. This project will greatly stabilize the lives of those farmers who live in one of the areas of Africa most affected by climate change. According to Berhane Gebru, director of programs at US-based FHO360-Satelife, one of the implementing organizations, currently “When there is a crisis like a prolonged drought, herdsmen sell their animals as a coping strategy. We will provide them with information to cope and make choices.” This two year project hopes to counter act the economic fluctuations brought on my climate change through the introduction of data collection ICTs and broaden the use of mobile phones and radios to help relay the information.
The information gathered in this project and the technological infrastructure that will be created through this project are goals that the Ugandan Government is aiming to provide for its people. These aspects include the development of the ICT infrastructures, increasing indigenous and traditional communication and ICT training in Uganda.