NEWS: Connecting scientists and journalists to create engaging vital weather information
Two new videos from the Weather Wise project show how climate scientists are working with journalists in Uganda to provide farmers and fishermen with appropriate information in an accessible format to help them adapt to changing weather patterns.
With vulnerabilities to weather extremes rising across East Africa, access to practical and timely climate and weather information is critical when it comes to making important decisions about agriculture and livelihoods – such as when to plant crops, where to take cattle for water, and whether or not it’s a safe day to go fishing. In Uganda, rainfall patterns are changing, and farmers are experiencing longer dry spells and later rains. As Rose Lusweti, a farmer in Masaka, explains, “We don’t know what is coming ahead.”
However, climate scientists tend to produce research findings and projections aimed at a technical community, whereas farmers and agriculturalists need information in simple, accessible language that they can apply to everyday challenges. Through the Weather Wise project, BBC Media Action is connecting scientists and journalists to ensure that people get the information that they need to make decisions to improve their lives.
As Paul Lubwama, Radio Producer for Bukkede FM, explains, “At first I was getting challenges with the weather scientists. Usually the scientists cannot explain to the audience but working with the BBC, now I can interact with scientists, they can break for me some scientific terms [and] I also break them down for my audience.” Paul now gets updates directly from the National Meteorological Authority, which he disseminates via daily forecasts and a longer farming programme on Sundays.
Farmers agree that the information that they receive via these programmes informs how they plan their day and lowers the risks that they would normally face in the event of bad weather. Rose Lusweti has formed a listening group with other farmers, who implement ideas they have picked up from radio interviews with other farmers, such as installing a water harvesting system rather than relying on rainfall only.
About Weather Wise
The purpose of the Weather Wise project is to strengthen the capacity of media professionals and technical experts to respond to the climate and weather information needs of audiences. The project is focused on people living in Northern Kenya, around the Lake Victoria shores of Kenya and Uganda, and the coastal strip of Kenya and Tanzania.
Weather Wise is a project under Weather and Climate Information Services for Africa (WISER), funded by UKaid and delivered in partnership by BBC Media Action and the Network of Climate Journalists in the Greater Horn of Africa (NECJOGHA).
Photo: Producers from Bukedde and Star FM in Uganda prepare to interview fishermen during a fishing expedition on Lake Victoria. Courtesy of BBC Media Action.