Climate information prize launched in Kenya
By Duncan Mboyah
A climate information prize, The Tekeleza Prize worth USD$ 200,000, has been launched by the Climate Information Prize programme to incentivize the development of innovative solutions and to help vulnerable communities to be better informed. Explanations.
Bridging the Gap
A climate information prize, The Tekeleza Prize worth USD$ 200,000, has been launched recently in Kenya to make climate change information more usable and accessible for vulnerable communities and to incentivize the development of innovative solutions.
The winning organizations will help vulnerable communities having access to the information they require. It will enable them to tackle climate uncertainty and risk. To quote Assistant Director of the Kenya Meteorology Department, David Gikungu, “The organizations [ Winners] will be getting valid information from the Kenya Meteorology Department (KMD) and disseminate to consumers for free in helping create awareness.”
“Since climate change has adverse effects on individuals and communities, especially those whose livelihood are dependent on weather, better access and usability of products and services are needed”, explained Gikungu. He observed that there is a lot of information on climate change but unfortunately they are not in formats that communities are able to understand and use.“We have to use climate information to develop initiatives that help the vulnerable adapt to climate variability and change,” he pointed out .
The meteorologist said that the gap between producers and users of climate has existed for a long time due to the way the information was packaged and the language used. “The department has devolved its services to all regions in the country and has set up radio stations broadcasting in vernacular languages with the aim of informing farmers, pastoralists and other users in far flung parts of the country,” he added.
Nicki Spence, the Climate Information Prize manager said that climate change has caused massive sufferings to many people globally hence the need to encourage innovators develop new ideas of tackling it. “The winning organizations will listen and respond to local needs of different groups within their locality by availing easily understood information,” Spence said.
For him, Kenya is the best country globally to carry the program due to the government’s commitment to help and also the level of knowledge on climate change in the country. CARE International Kenya’s leader for Adaptation Fiona Percy observed that given the adverse effects of climate change, experts and organizations need to start translating information in a language they understand and not foreign languages.
“We must begin to ask ourselves who are the consumers of climate change information and what is the medium they prefer to receive this information” she noted. She said that the popular use of mobile telephone may not be appropriate since some consumers are semi illiterate while others are unable to buy airtime.
The chairman of Kenya Climate Change Working Group, John Kioli, told stakeholders to lobby national and county governments to integrate climate change in their policies.“This will enable the governments allocate funds for climate change to help create awareness and benefit the consumers,” he added.
On April 8, Sam Owilly a Food Security, Agriculture specialist won the 1st place of the Wazo (ideas) prize, one of the climate information prize. He received a 15000 US dollars cash prize from James Kongoti, Director of the Kenya Meteorological Department at the Climate Information Prize Conference in Nairobi.
His concept : Creating a Virtual Platform for Agro-Weather Advisory Services (Pawa-Farm), an innovative Virtual Agro-weather Advisory Platform which aims to provide timely, relevant and usable weather and climate information to farmers.
About the Climate Information Prize
The Climate Information Prize consists of two types of prizes. The first one is Wazo (ideas) prize, that is a cash price with a particular focus on the recognition, showcasing. The second prize, Tekeleza (Implementation) Prize, will be awarded to the best applicants who have implemented their initiatives on the ground over several years and can demonstrate the highest impact across a number of indicators. The winners will receive also a cash prize. Other projects will be undertaken in 13 countries including Ghana and Malawi.
About the author
Duncan Mboyah is a 45 years old Kenyan citizen who specializes in science journalism – health, environment, agriculture and sustainable socioeconomic development. He is currently working with Xinhua News Agency in Nairobi covering science and climate change. Duncan has over 15 years of journalism practice and has written hundreds of articles on climate change effects in Kenya and Africa in general in the past years.
He also regularly contributes articles to Scidev net, a British owned online science publication that specializes on science and technology development in the developing world. He has a Degree – Bachelor of Science in Communication and Journalism from Moi University and is currently a Communication’s Studies Masters student at Moi University, Kenya. Duncan also works as a media consultant and trainer in science and climate change reporting.