Victor’s Journey with TAHMO

Victor Omoit

Around November 2016, as I approached my final university exams, I began researching potential post-graduation activities to involve myself in. I spent a significant amount of time online searching for an organization that resonated with me. That is when I stumbled upon TAHMO and was immediately captivated by it’s ambitious goal. As I explored the website, I carefully read through the details about their ambitious vision, ongoing projects, and the profiles of their staff members. The more I immersed myself in it, the stronger my connection grew, solidifying my desire to align my career aspirations with TAHMO, not only out of passion but also as a meteorologist.

Submitting an internship application felt like a long shot, considering my prior experiences with no responses from other organizations, but to my surprise, I received a response within a week. While they didn’t have openings at the time, they assured me they would consider me for subsequent intakes. This gesture of acknowledgment meant a lot to me, reflecting an organization that values feedback and nurtures positive relationships. 

Fast forward to March 2017, I was given a three-month internship at TAHMO, and this is where it all began. During this period, I contributed to developing lesson plans for teachers to incorporate TAHMO weather data for classroom use. We engaged in weekly online meetings with fellow interns and the School-2-School Coordinator at that time, Elizabeth Jachens just to ensure that we furnished our work to the required standards.

The internship proved to be a transformative experience, offering amazing lessons in organizational communication, email etiquette, networking, and client relations. I also engaged in weather station maintenance under Gilbert Mwangi’s guidance, which further fueled my passion. 

Contrary to my initial apprehensions about hierarchical structures, I discovered TAHMO encourages an environment of innovation and collaboration, where even junior members like myself were encouraged to voice ideas and initiatives. The support I received, both in terms of mentorship and financial backing, boosted my confidence a lot.

I was given opportunities to lead activities and participate in fieldwork across locations like Lamu and Lodwar, which provided hands-on learning experiences. Weekly meetings with Gilbert ensured alignment and progress. Upon completing my internship, receiving a certificate signed by Professor John Selker was a moment of pride for me.

Throughout 2017, I continued supporting TAHMO on a voluntary basis until March 2018 when I was formally employed as a Field Engineer in Kenya. Since then, my journey with TAHMO has been one of continuous growth and learning. From traveling to countries I never imagined visiting to tackling challenging projects, TAHMO has provided me with opportunities to evolve both personally and professionally.

Seven years later, I am still able to reach any person within the ranks and get feedback in time. Frank, the CEO’s advice, “there is power in asking,” has remained ingrained in my approach. It has encouraged a spirit of curiosity and continuous improvement in me. 

TAHMO’s culture is strengthened through it’s emphasis on innovation, collaboration, and inclusivity. Encouraging open dialogue and idea-sharing among team members, regardless of hierarchy, encourages a sense of value and empowerment. Regular communication channels and mentorship opportunities further nurture a culture of continuous learning and growth, creating a cohesive and supportive environment where creativity thrives and shared goals are pursued with resilience and purpose.

TAHMO has experienced significant growth in various aspects overtime. Initially, the team in Kenya comprised only two members: Gilbert Mwangi, serving as the East African director, and myself as a field engineer. However, in 2019, Stella Malinda joined us as an administrator, handling administrative and finance  matters not only in Kenya but also to TAHMO as a whole. This has Contributed immensely to our operational efficiency.

With dedicated effort and support from the management and colleagues across different countries, we focused on expanding opportunities for youth within TAHMO. In 2018 alone, we successfully absorbed 18 interns into various departments, including fieldwork, data quality, finance, and communication. This influx of talent not only enriched our team but also created a platform for young professionals to gain valuable experience.

Over time, the interest in internships and volunteering with TAHMO has grown, with individuals recognizing the organization’s commitment to mentorship and skill development. The positive impact of our internship program extends beyond TAHMO, as former interns have also transitioned into roles in other organizations and  others have evolved into field assistants, leveraging the knowledge acquired during their time with TAHMO to contribute to other ongoing activities in their respective areas and also helping TAHMO with some activities around their region when they can.

To sustain our internship program’s success, we have continually sought out engaging activities for interns, ensuring their meaningful participation and development. This proactive approach has yielded favorable results, with our capacity to host interns steadily increasing over time.

In parallel to our human resource growth, TAHMO has also expanded it’s physical infrastructure. The weather station network in Kenya, for example, has grown from 75 weather stations when I initially joined to an impressive 152 stations today. This expansion demonstrates our commitment to improving weather monitoring capabilities and enhancing data collection across the region. This growth is not limited to Kenya alone; the overall TAHMO network has expanded from approximately 400 to around 700 weather stations across various countries.

Furthermore, TAHMO has established several new departments, including Data Quality Assurance and Quality Control, Client Relations, Remote Support, Finance, and Research. Each department is led by directors from different parts of Africa, encouraging a diverse and collaborative environment. This expansion has provided numerous opportunities for team synergy and learning, through physical meetings, online sessions, and workshops.

As a proud member of the TAHMO team, I am happy with the numerous accomplishments we have achieved collectively over the past years.

Our involvement in projects such as the TWIGA project, Ground Truth 2.0, Tanzania Urban Resilience Program (TURP), and the ongoing TEMBO Project has been particularly satisfying. These projects have allowed us to make significant strides in weather monitoring and resilience-building efforts, which have positively impacted communities across various regions.

Through online trainings and forums, our team has continuously enhanced their knowledge and skills in weather monitoring and data analysis.  We have had the opportunity to interact with and operate a variety of weather measuring instruments, including a series of Campbell data loggers, Disdrometers, Ijinus sensors, Rq30 radar sensors from Sommer instruments, a range of soil moisture sensors, and IP cameras for monitoring river flows. These experiences have not only expanded our technical expertise but also enabled us to better serve the needs of our partners and stakeholders.

Our participation in international forums and workshops has been instrumental in promoting collaboration and capacity building within the meteorological community. By sharing our experiences and learning from experts in the field, we have been able to stay at the forefront of advancements in weather monitoring and contribute to the development of innovative solutions to address environmental challenges.

Being part of the TAHMO team has been incredibly rewarding, and I am proud to have played a role in these impactful projects and initiatives.

TAHMO’s commitment to providing vital weather data for better decision-making and resilience-building efforts resonates deeply with me. Making a positive difference in communities aligns perfectly with my values, particularly when it comes to environmental sustainability. Contributing to projects that promote sustainability gives me a sense of purpose and fulfillment in my work.

Moreover, TAHMO offers an abundance of opportunities for growth, both professionally and personally. Engaging in diverse projects and acquiring new skills through training and collaboration continuously challenges and empowers me to expand my capabilities. I thrive in TAHMO’s innovative and collaborative environment, where creativity is encouraged, and new ideas are welcomed with open arms. This freedom to explore innovative solutions to complex challenges is exciting and contributes to the organization’s ongoing success.

What truly sets TAHMO apart is its dedicated and supportive team. Working alongside individuals who are equally committed to our common goals encourages a positive work culture where everyone feels valued and respected. Additionally, being part of TAHMO provides me with  opportunities for international exposure and collaboration. Interacting with colleagues and partners from diverse backgrounds broadens my perspective and enhances my cross-cultural communication and collaboration skills.

TAHMO prioritizes professional development and invests in its employees’ growth. Whether through tailored training programs, attendance at conferences, or mentorship opportunities, I feel fully supported in my journey to continuously improve and excel in my role.

TAHMO has given me a lot, right from when I completed campus as a junior professional. It has been instrumental in my growth, holding my hand every step of the way. I am proud to say that I have evolved into a productive member of society, thanks to TAHMO’s guidance and support. I feel indebted to TAHMO for its role in my development and I am committed to helping TAHMO achieve its goals in Africa; one station every 30 Kms.