“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” Michael Jordan.
When the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a global pandemic, most organizations were affected. TAHMO was no exception – we had to adhere to strict regulations while ensuring our data quality was not compromised.
Our duty is to provide accurate weather data to our clients, policymakers, and national governments among others. Even when there is a pandemic, we have to keep our stations working. Regional and country directors monitored the evolving situation of the pandemic. We regularly shared notes on the status of our countries and brainstormed the best working practices.
Victor, Kenya’s field engineer, implemented a bulk SMS platform with TAHMO ID. We use the platform to send messages for general announcements and also to remind our hosts to clean the weather stations at least once a month. The platform makes it easier to reach all weather stations hosted in Kenya with just one tap.
We also involve Volunteer students from Kenyan universities to clean and maintain our stations. Some attend stations within their universities, while others attend to stations close to their universities. When they visit TAHMO station hosts and students in schools, they do some training to keep them engaged. This has particularly worked very well with students of Embu University who also help in maintaining stations around central Kenya. Victor organizes a weekly call for volunteer students and discusses the status of the weather stations in their regions. This has reduced the need to travel around the country, hence reducing exposure to COVID-19.
Another support we get is from our former interns. Some of them take up several stations close to where they live. They regularly contact the hosts, ensuring that their stations are working well. They act as a link and reinforcement support team, building our capacity and strengthening our interactions with the hosts around the country.