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TAHMO Attended GSMA MWC Meeting

In October, representatives from TAHMO in Rwanda and Tanzania embarked on a transformative journey to the GSMA MWC Kigali Series. The GSMA, a global organization dedicated to unifying the mobile ecosystem and driving innovation for positive change in both business and society, set the stage for an inspiring gathering.

As a climate and weather observatory institution, TAHMO found itself uniquely positioned to leverage the opportunities presented at this event. The theme of a “new chapter for climate action” resonated deeply with the organization’s mission. However, the real game-changer was TAHMO’s selection by the GSMA Mobile for Development Foundation, Inc. for an Innovation Fund Grant Agreement. This recognition was more than just an accolade; it was a chance to further their noble cause.

The vibrant setting of the KIGALI M Hotel hosted a startup boot camp on the 15th and 16th of October, attended by Lisa from Tanzania. The connections made during this event would prove to be pivotal in the days to come.

On the first day of the meeting, attendees were treated to insights from notable speakers, including the esteemed President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame. His emphasis on “making digital life cheap and inclusive” set the tone for a gathering aimed at breaking barriers and driving positive change.

The second day of the meeting maintained the momentum, focusing on “unleashing tomorrow’s technology today.” Sessions were dedicated to building a connected Africa, with distinguished speakers like Lacine Kone sharing their perspectives and expertise.

The overarching theme of the GSMA MWC Kigali Series was crystal clear: the mobile industry had the potential to be a force for good in the realm of climate action. Climate change is an existential threat that humanity must address, and the mobile industry is poised to play a significant role in this global battle.

The mobile sector has made significant strides by collectively developing an industry-wide climate action roadmap with the ambitious goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, aligning with the Paris Agreement. The commitment of around 80% of the global mobile industry by revenue to disclose their climate impacts, energy consumption, and GHG emissions through the CDP global disclosure system was a testament to their dedication. Moreover, over 60% of the industry had committed to science-based targets, a pledge to rapidly reduce carbon emissions over the next decade.

The mobile industry’s proactive approach to addressing climate change didn’t go unnoticed. It was recognized as one of the first breakthrough industries, with the GSMA serving as an accelerator for the UN Race to Zero initiative. The Mobile for Development’s ClimateTech program was furthering these efforts, aiming to foster greater integration between digital technology and climate mitigation, adaptation, and resilience strategies, particularly in low and middle-income countries.

TAHMO’s mission aligned seamlessly with these global efforts. The Trans-African Hydro-Meteorological Observatory (TAHMO) was on a mission to develop an extensive network of weather stations across Africa. These stations would provide critical current and historical weather data essential for various applications, including agriculture, climate monitoring, and hydro-meteorology. TAHMO’s presence at the GSMA MWC Kigali Series was a testament to their commitment to harnessing the power of mobile technology for the betterment of Africa and the planet.

In Kigali, a shared vision for climate action, innovation, and a more connected world brought people and organizations together. It was a glimpse into a brighter, more sustainable future where mobile technology played a pivotal role in the fight against climate change. As the event concluded, attendees departed with renewed determination and a sense of purpose, ready to continue their collective journey towards a more sustainable and climate-resilient world.

Author: Cyuzuzo Honore

Every year on the 3rd March the world commemorates World Wildlife Day. We celebrate the wide diversity of animals and plants across the globe while raising awareness about threats facing them.

This year’s theme, “Life below water: for people and plants” is inspired by goal 14 of UN sustainable goals which aims to conserve the oceans while also sustainably extracting resources from within them. TAHMO is one of many initiatives contributing to the wildlife and water agenda.

TAHMO has installed 10 stations within 22 km of the Kenyan coastline, and distributed along the entire coastline. In all national parks, you will find a TAHMO weather station with close range.  Shimba Hills National Park hosts one of many TAHMO stations in Kenya. There are 9 stations close to Maasai Mara national park, 11 stations circling Mount Kenya national park, 5 stations near Aberdare national park, 2 stations near Chyulu national park and the list continues. Initiatives like the Maasai Mara citizen observatory and TWIGA, which TAHMO is part of, will contribute to the sustainability of wildlife.

TAHMO stations on Kenya’s Coastline. Source

We understand the world today is seeking better ways to conserve and sustainably use the forests, oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development and weather data is a critical component of it. Are you working in the wildlife conservation sector and in need of weather data? Reach us at: info@tahmo.org.

Written by Gilbert. Twitter: @mwangilbert

The idea of TAHMO started back in 2010/2011 and was formalized through a foundation in 2014. Since 2014 the organization managed to install over 400+ weather stations across 20 African countries. An amazing achievement. However, this did not go as simple as an ABC. Through this blog, we would like to lift the curtain on some of the challenges that we faced throughout the years. Perhaps you – our reader – are able to come up with suggestions or ideas to smoothen the challenges that we face up ahead.

So here come the six challenges that TAHMO faces.

Administrative challenges

Have a partnership agreement with national metrological agencies. Every country has a different administrative structure. Countries differ in the way they do business and set up collaboration programs. How do you share data? Who gets it first? How do you share costs and revenues? Who does the maintenance? All these questions need to be answered before you can operate in the area of a governmental agency.

Find an experienced local host who is available in the case of station maintenance. The training that one has to give a local host depends on various factors. Like is the host staying in the area for the long term? We create a shared responsibility by providing the local host with access to the weather data. This is how the school2school platform was set up. This resulted that most of the local hosts being teachers. Consequently, with 400+ weather stations, this means that a lot of hosts are needed which puts the strain on good & quality relationship management with each host.

Economic challenges

Weather stations are not free. Funding is needed to buy the stations and put them in the right location. We have to pay for the installation and maintenance of each station. Now, here is a little eye-opener: the larger your infrastructure, the more money you have to pay for your maintenance. And maintenance is not always easy. Some weather stations might be right around the corner. But sometimes you must drive up a full day for a quick fix. And although our weather station is the most robust weather stations out there, that does not guarantee a maintenance-free infrastructure. Leaves can get into the funnel, sensors might stop working, or perhaps a tree has overgrown near our weather station, influencing the data.

Equipment challenges

Everywhere we go, we find a different setting with different conditions. The access to the site might be bad, there are safety concerns of theft of our weather stations and more. Sensors might stop working, a hardware update might deplete the batteries and if the station is not regularly cleaned, it will influence the data and even might stop working. For this reason, we promote the cleaning of our stations through our social media. To create awareness that infrastructure should be regularly maintained.

Data Sharing Challenges

The TAHMO weather stations collect data. But with big data, comes great responsibility. With whom do we share this data? What do our partners want to do with it? Should we give it to other governmental institutions like housing or the military? Could our data be used to harm people or minorities? These questions are of major importance which have – most of the time – no clear answers. 

Setting up the infrastructure has not been easy. But with the help of our partners, researchers, enthusiast, volunteers, and our great team, we’ve managed to install 400+ weather stations in 20 countries. A great success.

Do you have ideas on how to help TAHMO? Please share them by sending an email to info@tahmo.org

**Written by Theophile Mande & Friso Vos de Wael

TAHMO places its weather stations at schools so the instruments and data can be used in the classroom. The goal for this is to enhance the climate change curricula. Our TAHMO Field Engineer Kwame Duah went to the Accra Girls Senior High School in Accra to train them in using the weather station. These sessions are great fun. Students are eager to learn about ” what that weather station in their school playground does” and how it can be used in climate change. Here we show 4 different steps on how students learn about climate change through TAHMO. 

TAHMO explained in the classroom

First is a session on how the teachers and students perceive climate change and how it affects their lives. Students explain how irregularity in rainfall makes it difficult for the farm management on their family farm. Teachers tell how it was 20, 30 or even 40 years ago which is a great example of how our climate has evolved in such a short time period. This session creates a direct involvement of everyone in the class. It excites both students, teachers, as well as the TAHMO representative.  

Second, we go outside, and stretch our legs! After discussing it, we are going to see it. Students are brought within the enclosure of the weather station to see it up close. It is explained how the surroundings of the weather station are of great influence. We should not have trees grow next to it or allow trucks to park in the vicinity of the weather station since it will affect the data. 

Third, we open the weather station. Every little detail and every sensor is thoroughly discussed. What does it do? How does the sensor work? Students can touch and feel it. It is shown how important maintenance is. That it should be checked every month to see if there are no leaves or insects in it.

TAHMO shown to the classroom.

Fourth, we bring out a laptop and show the students how they can log in and access the data. What they can do with it and how it is used by researchers all over the world. This illustrates the importance of everything we did before. How good maintenance provides accurate data, how the environment affects the weather station, and how the data can be used for the farmers to improve their yield. 

Are you a student, teacher or involved in any other way with a school anywhere in the world and you want to join the TAHMO school2school program? Then be sure to contact us through info@tahmo.org.

**Written by Kwame Duah

TWIGA partners together in Ghana for the TWIGA days
TWIGA partners together in Ghana!

The first week of the TWIGA days consisted of meetings, workshops, and conferences. The first day (Monday) consisted of updates from all the TWIGA partners about the progress made in the previous period. All updates about the projects that have been completed and are still in the developing stage and problems that have occurred have been included.

The Tuesday consisted mostly of workshops. Here, the TWIGA partners split up into three groups; biosphere; hydrosphere and atmosphere. In these workgroups, the partners discussed various new services that could be developed. They made a feasibility and cost analysis and then chose one of the possible services to discuss further.

Develop business models for TWIGA services.
TU Delft students chair a meeting to develop business models for TWIGA services. 

The resulting services which were derived from this workshop are:

  1. Improved insurance for farmers with weather data
  2. Advice for potatoes and cocoa spray
  3. Solar power generation
  4. Early warning system for flooding

The students will focus their internship on the development of these business models for these services in the upcoming months. 

On Wednesday the group participated in a user needs assessment workshop with local farmer-& agribusiness representatives. For this workshop, the team split up again and gave advice about how a user’s needs can be identified with the Business Model Development method. This workshop was held to identify the farmer’s needs and the agribusinesses’ needs, with these needs, the corresponding services that TWIGA could deliver were identified. The user needs assessment revealed that services are required, but that facilitating these services is very expensive and might not provide the desired result that the farmers would want. Also, the needs of farmers and agribusinesses match quite well, both would benefit from a lot of services. Interestingly was that the users mentioned that they need education and capacity building in farm management knowledge. For example, it is greatly beneficial if a user knows when and how much fertilizers or pesticides need to be applied. This need can go hand-in-hand with the weather services that TWIGA provides. Since the leaching of fertilizers or pesticides correlates with the weather.

Visiting farmers, weather stations and flooded areas in and around Kumasi

On Thursday the TWIGA partners stretched their legs on a field trip. The weather station was right on the campus of KNUST (Kumasi University). Continuing to the next weather station at a palm oil plantation where soil moisture sensors were included. 

After these visits were made, all the partners visited a flood site, a bridge over a river in the neighborhood of Aboabo, where many floods take place on a yearly basis. In this situation, the risks and health hazards of floods could also be identified. The floods and blocked drains in the neighborhood made many houses filled with water on the bottom, like in the picture below. This has made numerous houses uninhabitable and the stagnating water in the area becomes a breeding spot for mosquitos and vector-borne diseases. 

Flooding affected a local mosque in Kumasi.

Lastly,  the group visited a farm, to inspect it for possible placement of a soil moisture sensor (a cable covering the entire field). This sensor can measure which parts of the farmland are in need of moisture or fertilizers, aiding in the efficiency of farming. A great additional benefit to the TWIGA services.

All in all, the TWIGA days illustrated the great need there is for weather services. Looking forward to the next partner meeting!

**Written by Roxana Vafa, Rosalie Middendorp & Anne Schermerhorn. Students of the Delft University of Technology. 

The TWIGA Kumasi Hardware Hackathon

**Written by Nick van de Giesen
TAHMO has been working with the TWIGA project since the start of 2018. An important output of the TWIGA project will be new geo-services (twenty!) based on the application of innovative sensors. In order to speed up the development of these services, a Hackathon was organized from 19 through 23 November 2018 at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi Ghana. The objective was to build complete value chains, from observation to internet storage to service delivery. We aimed high on purpose to see what can and cannot be done in such a short time. The results are very promising! Continue reading on the TWIGA website…

TWIGA hackathon participants showing their environmental weather innovations.
TWIGA Hackathon participants showing their innovations!

**Written by Gilbert Mwangi

Today, more African universities are taking active roles in the weather industry than before. In the past 2 years, TAHMO East Africa has established relations with 7 leading Kenyan universities, 4 Rwanda universities and a handful of Uganda and Tanzania universities. The activities in the last month point to a growing trend where universities are seeking more proactive roles in the weather industry.

Mid-November this year, Maasai Mara University in Kenya hosted a workshop on citizen science. Researchers, students, the local community and stakeholders co-designed and validated weather solutions for the Mara region. Young students are involved in various aspects of research, including co-designing the apps and mapping baseline data.

Early December this year, the University of Rwanda in Musanze, hosted a weather workshop for its staff and students. Also participating were representatives from 3 nearby universities. TAHMO and Severe Weather Consult facilitated the workshop. 

But why do we have a surge of interest in the weather industry? Here are 3 reasons why universities have an interest in this sector. 

  1. Research:  The primary component of any research is data. Weather data is one variable component. A university will want to be in a position where they tap this valuable asset. 
  2. Dynamic industry: There are a lot of technological changes in the weather industry than before.  The industry has evolved from the conventional meteorological industry to now capturing interests in fields like Engineering, computing, and education among others. You could think of this as new ways of measuring, or management of data, generating predictions and disseminating information. The whole industry is evolving rapidly, and there are limitless roles that anyone can contribute to in this space.  
  3. Partnership: Because of the many functions and players in the weather industry, universities are seeking ways through which they can complement and share their roles.  

Are you working at a university and curious about working with TAHMO’s weather data? Then contact us through info@tahmo.org and we will be sure to make weather data available at your university.

One of the challenges of the Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMet) is the availability of real-time weather data for its day-to-day activities such as daily weather monitoring and forecasting, climate monitoring, etc. It takes about a month for data from the manual observatories to get to the central collation point for digitization, quality control and archiving. GMet believes the deployment of automatic weather stations (AWS) is the best way to resolve this challenge. Following the partnership with the Trans-African Hydro-Meteorological Observatory (TAHMO), GMet has inched a step closer to achieving these results and improving its service delivery.
The TAHMO AWS network has complemented the GMet station network thereby improving the spatial resolution of the GMet data. This has helped GMet in generating gridded datasets of temperature and rainfall by merging the gauge data with satellite rainfall estimates and reanalyses data. In terms of data quality, the data have shown consistent correlation with the GMet observatories within close proximity of the TAHMO stations and for that reason used as reference stations for quality controlling the observed data.
It has also made available real-time data for weather monitoring and forecasting thereby improving the operational work of the forecast office.
Overall the TAHMO project has been of great benefit to both GMet and Ghana as a whole and this has reinforced the decision by GMet to roll out its AWS program.

**Written by Kwame Duah.