Climate services go local in Western Kenya
Making sure that important weather and climate information reaches everyone is critical for local development – as demonstrated by a WISER (Weather and Climate Information Services for Africa) project in Western Kenya. From its rain-soaked hills to the sweeping Masai Mara, Western Kenya has a vast and varied landscape. But forecasting its equally varied weather has always been a real challenge. A project within the Weather and Climate Information Services for Africa (WISER) programme has made much more accurate climate information available at a local level, making a real difference to the region’s farmers, families and local businesses. In Kenya, heavy rainfall can have as devastating an effect as no rainfall. Recently planted crops or newly-dug roads can be washed away by storms and floodwater. Until recently, this was the reality for many people living in Western Kenya. With only very generalised forecasts to depend on, they were often caught out by extreme weather, losing money – and vital infrastructure – as a result. In stepped the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD). Realising that a much more localised weather service was badly needed, the KMD partnered with the Met Office and the WISER programme to set up decentralised forecasts and deliver the weather and climate information that local Kenyans would both trust and put to use.