Every five kilometers ($ 3) that you run and every thirty kilometers ($ 5) that you ride on your bicycle are valuable. Not only for you but also for scientists, farmers, fishermen, malaria fighters, and government agencies in Africa. Because when you download their free app, the Meter Group, a supplier of measurement technology, donates these dollars for your meters to the Trans-African Hydro-Meteorological Observatory Foundation (TAHMO).

That way, both you and the Meter Group support TAHMO in its aim to achieve a network of a total of 20,000 weather stations in Africa. Local farmers and fishermen will benefit most from the local real-time weather information and weather forecasts, that will become available through each weather station. This information is crucial because over 75 percent of the local population is dependent on agriculture and hence the weather. Professors Nick van de Giesen (Civil Engineering and Geosciences at TU Delft) and John Selker (Biological and Ecological Engineering, Oregon State University) designed the TAHMO low-maintenance weather stations with their research teams and partners. The weather stations are mostly located at schools so they can also be used in educational programs. Without these weather stations, there is no accurate weather information available in most places.

Download the free app and bring accurate weather in Africa closer with each step https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/every-meter-counts/id1185112162?mt=8

For more information about TAHMO click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udKAu0Fr9hI


Workshop Participants with the team

Last week, TAHMO launched its pilot project in Accra, Ghana. The two-year pilot will set up a water and weather monitoring system in Ghana’s cocoa region, funded by The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). The Kick-off event was chaired by Mr. Nii Boi Ayibotele, the CEO of NII Consult, Chair of the Global Water Partnership of Ghana, and a consultant to the Water Resources Commission of Ghana.  

Together with Farmerline and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Kumasi, Ghana), TAHMO will establish 40 new automated weather stations in High Schools across Ghana. Within this consortium, Farmerline, a private company based in Ghana, will use the weather data to provide improved information access for small-scale farmers. Farmerline reaches local farmers through their mobile messaging platform, delivering spoken messages in local languages.

The pilot is connected to the program “Climate Change Education in Schools”, organized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in which students are educated on climate change. The program aims to reach the wider community by motivating students to share their climate education with their parents, peers, friends, and other relatives. The weather stations will help in monitoring local weather and thereby provide a better understanding of ongoing changes in the climate.

During the kick-off workshop in Accra, all stakeholders attended various presentations and meetings. With the groundbreaking ceremony, the project was officially kicked off.




Africa gatheringOn the weekend of 12, 13 & 14 September 2014, Africa Gathering will organize several events at Africa Utopia, at the Southbank Centre, London, UK. Africa Utopia can be seen as a celebration of all Africa has to offer the world. There will be events on culture, community, technology, fashion, sustainability, and ethical wealth creation. Also, TAHMO will be present as Nick van de Giesen will present in the session on “Data in Africa: The Fuel of the Future“. As the title of the session clearly suggests, all types of data are needed to ensure social and economic growth throughout the African continent. The main goal of TAHMO is to ensure a continuous flow of reliable water and climate data. How to turn these data into prosperity is a central theme of the gathering and of TAHMO. We expect some forward-looking discussions which will be reported in the next Newsletter.

The event will draw together hundreds of professionals, innovators, tech wizards, social justice groups, and grassroots activists together with members of the public to network and collaborate for pan-African development. Marième Jamme is CEO of Africa Gathering and strategic advisor of TAHMO on tech development in Africa and social media.

Signing MoU between Kenya Meteorological Service and TAHMO by John Selker (left) and Nick van de Giesen (middle).

Welcome to the TAHMO Newsletter!  This is our way of bringing the TAHMO community up-to-date with our progress and letting you know about neat opportunities to get involved with the TAHMO program.

As you will read in this newsletter, TAHMO recently passed a major milestone as we moved from simply being a happy group of committed members to a funded program!  The Securing Water For Food initiative is a joint effort of the aid agencies of the USA, Netherlands, and Sweden to identify high-impact business opportunities to use water more efficiently in the developing world.  There were 520 applicants to this program, and after a rigorous selection process, TAHMO was selected as one of the 17 funded programs.  Beyond the obvious importance of this financial support (paying for much of the salaries of our East African team and investment in 150 stations over 3 years), our selection was a great honor and will add significant credibility to our mission and team.

TAHMO recently had several other major advancements.  The Netherlands Science Foundation (NWO/WOTRO) has chosen to fund the installation of 30 TAHMO stations in Ghana, forming the basis of TAHMO West Africa.  NASA has funded the installation of a network of TAHMO stations around Lake Chad (to be installed in February by Dr. Selker), Earth Networks is funding installations around Lake Victoria, and many more installations across Africa are currently in discussion.  A very successful TAHMO workshop took place in Akure, Nigeria, organized by the TAHMO team at the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA). At the same time, the TAHMO School-2-School program is gaining momentum, with the first pair of schools now collecting data in Kenya and Idaho, USA.

As always, we are absolutely committed to the success of TAHMO’s mission to develop a sustainable network of climatic observation stations across Africa.  We are pleased with our progress but have a long road ahead.  We deeply appreciate your interest and assistance!

KeniaTAHMO has won an award in the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) ‘Securing Water for Food: A Grand Challenge for Development program. This was announced on September 1st, during the World Water Week in Stockholm. From a group of 520 applicants representing over 90 countries, TAHMO was nominated, together with 16 other nominees, for its ‘exceptional initiative with high potential for transformative impact’.

Prof. John Selker attended the World Water Week in Stockholm last week to receive the award and to present the TAHMO project.

DSC04071The Kenya Meteorological Service (KMS) and the TU Delft/Oregon State University TAHMO (Trans-African Hydro-Meteorological Observatory) project have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to serve as a framework for long-term collaboration. The purpose of this collaboration is the development of a robust network of automatic weather stations (AWS) in Kenya. Two activities will take place in the first year of this understanding: installing co-located KMS/TAHMO stations to validate TAHMO equipment and the installation/operation of independent TAHMO stations.

It is the mission of KMS to provide accessible meteorological information and services and infuse scientific knowledge to spur socio-economic growth and development. TAHMO’s mission is to improve sub-Saharan Africa’s capacity for hydro-meteorological monitoring.

Important next step
For TAHMO, the MoU with KMS represents a significant next step in the process of developing and implementing a sub-Saharan African-wide weather sensing network. According to Prof. Nick van de Giesen, “This MoU is very important to TAHMO because it means that we are now allowed to install and operate weather stations in Kenya. Partnership with the KMS provides us with the opportunity to co-develop a public-private partnership that will turn around the decline in water and climate-related measurement networks.”

indexTAHMO has received funding for a two-year project to set up a water and weather monitoring system in Ghana’s cocoa region. The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) awarded a TAHMO consortium of three partners a grant under its Food & Business Applied Research Fund. The consortium consists of Farmerline, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Kumasi, Ghana), and Delft University of Technology (Delft, Netherlands).

Farmerline, a private company based in Ghana, provides improved information access and better communication channels for small-scale farmers through a mobile messaging platform. Together with the two academic consortium partners, they will develop both a dense network of TAHMO weather stations and the technical infrastructure to enable farmers’ access to the TAHMO weather data via mobile phones.

Weather-related information is the single most valuable type of information that farmers do not have ready access to. This project aims to leverage TAHMO’s self-supporting climate observation system, based on low-cost, high-precision weather sensors, sending information to a web-based data server using cellphone technology. These innovative weather stations will measure meteorological and water resource variables, which will subsequently be communicated to farmers via Farmerline’s mobile information services.

The consortium plans to develop a business model to rapidly make the project self-sustainable, transforming the initiative into a means to reduce poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. The belief that agriculture offers Ghana the best opportunity to turn a vicious cycle of poverty into a virtuous cycle of development will be the basis for this project and future collaborations.

2_IMGA0126_redAfter the success of last year’s Sensor Design Competition in Nairobi, Kenya, TAHMO organized another edition of the event this year for the ECOWAS region.

The 2014 design competition culminated in a workshop week hosted by the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) in Nigeria. Scholars, students, and engineers were asked to send in an innovative design idea for an inexpensive and robust sensor that measures a weather or hydrological variable. The teams with the best designs were subsequently invited to attend the workshop week in Akure from August 4-8.

Ten teams with participants from four different universities were invited to attend the workshop week in Akure, Nigeria, where they further developed and improved their designs. Among the designs were sensors for measuring rainfall, humidity, sunlight, wind direction and speed, and temperature. The ultimate goal was to publish measurements online at the end of the workshop week via an Arduino micro-computer on the @TAHMO_Arduino Twitter feed. At the end of the week, all sensors were connected so that the first tests and measurements could be done.

In addition to the preliminary tests with the newly-built sensors, the TAHMO team also installed a regular weather station at FUTA, the first TAHMO station in Nigeria! Together with FUTA’s Dr. Ahmed Balogun – our gracious host -, TAHMO is now looking into opportunities for funding and collaboration to expand the TAHMO network in Nigeria.