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myAnga app, a game changer for pastoralist climate resilience

Blog

For pastoralist communities to flourish, they need to establish businesses which continue to trade during hard times

© CGIAR

by Thomas Were

Blog

The extreme weather events that result from climate change can be devastating and often exacerbate the already severe climate in arid and semi-arid parts of the world. Climate change is stretching the livelihoods of households in such areas to the limit, particularly those who wholly depend on livestock and livestock products.

In this context, the government and development partners are regularly required to deliver relief food, but this is not a sustainable solution, especially with Africa’s increasing population. In response to the unrelenting challenge presented by climate change, the Kenyan government has therefore developed the Ending Drought Emergencies (EDE) strategy.

The EDE strategy builds on the national policy for the Sustainable Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands. It commits the government to end the worst of the suffering that results from drought by 2022, through the use of two main strategies. The first is to strengthen the foundations for growth and development, and the second is to strengthen the institutional and financing framework for drought risk management (DRM). The DRM framework embraces a paradigm shift to incorporate mechanisms that ensure earlier response to climate risks; improve the scalability of existing services; use market-based approaches; and promote stronger complementarity of interventions across separate disciplines (such as drought risk reduction, climate change adaptation and social protection).

On the same basis as the DRM framework, CTA conceptualised and aligned the Enhancing Market Response to Resilience in Livestock Value Chain in Eastern Africa (CLI-MARK) project, which embraces market systems to enhance resilience amongst pastoralist communities. The project recognises the importance of accessing weather information in good time to enable farmers to make informed decisions based on predicted weather patterns and embraces digital technology in order to drive the outreach and scalability of solutions. One of the agri-weather information service platforms developed under the CLI-MARK project, the myAnga app, “my weather” in Kiswahili, incorporates a web dashboard and weekly SMS subscription to provide timely advice on weather and forage conditions.

The myAnga app has been developed by Amfratech, an ICT-telecommunications firm, and uses weather data from aWhere, a US-based near real-time agri-weather information service provider, which is funded by CTA for this project. The app is beginning to draw interest from pastoralists in Isiolo and Marsabit counties of Kenya and other stakeholders in drought management, including the Kenyan government and development partners.

The myAnga mobile app is available in the Google Play store free of charge, and offers users both English and Swahili language options. The app provides daily weather observations from the past seven days, daily weather forecasts for the next seven days, the rainfall distribution over the past 30 days, expected moisture conditions and expected drought conditions. The mobile app is currently being piloted in Kenya and the actionable weather information provided focuses on the Marsabit and Isiolo counties. myAnga has a simplified front end design, with easy navigation between the different screens to give a friendly user experience. This is the first mobile app in the country that enables users to access county ward-based weather information and advice crafted by seasoned agri-meteorologists, which makes it a game-changer in offering simple, yet impactful weather information for the pastoralist population in Kenya. Through myAnga, pastoralists have access to accurate weather data that allows them to enhance their response to harsh weather conditions and climate variability.

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Making climate-smart agriculture work for women farmers and entrepreneurs

Agricultural production will need to increase by at least 50% over the next 30 years to meet the needs of rising populations and changing dietary preferences. This increase is caused by population growth, rising incomes and urbanisation. The latter two factors will lead to greater demand for protein rich foods, fruits and vegetables. This is already an enormous challenge, but is further complicated by anticipated climatic uncertainties, as farmers face increasing risks of drought, flood, and other stresses.

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