Lessons from Africa

Lessons from Africa


The RAdio InterNET (RANET) is a clever way for rural communities to receive weather and climate information in languages they understand. RANET system uses digital radios and solar energy panels for energy supply. A Community Based Organization (CBO) in each rural area uses a digital radio receiver and a computer to download RANET web content directly to the hard disk of a computer. They then access weather and climate predictions and advice from the national weather service in partnership with a team of experts from agriculture and other fields, who add advice about how to apply weather forecasts to farm planning. The CBO then gives this information to the rural communities to use on agriculture, livestock and health management. RANET also uses community based FM radios to pass information to communities within a radius of about 25km.

Source Adaptation Lessons Learnt In Kenya On Climate Variability And Change Samuel W. Muchemi Kenya Meteorological Department

Graphic Source: RANET

The People-Centred Mozambique Flood-Warning System

Mozambique has been devastated by floods in the recent past. As a result, a simplified early warning system has been set up, to help the local villagers on the floodbanks of the Búzi river. Villagers are nominated for the job of measuring daily rainfall levels at strategic points in the Búzi river basin. Water levels along the river are also measured regularly using straightforward gauges. Members of the local disaster prevention teams read the measurements every day. They have been trained and chosen specially to do this job, which makes them feel very responsible. A national radio frequency is reserved for the flood reports and warnings.

  • If there is particularly heavy rainfall or the water level becomes critical, this information is passed on by radio. Should reports indicate widespread heavy rainfall, the alarm is raised.
  • The people living in the area undergo special training to alert them to the dangers. Helpers chosen beforehand are sent out with loudspeakers to raise the alarm. Areas at risk of floods are evacuated.
  • Local disaster prevention teams have been formed in a number of Búzi river basin villages.
  • The people in the village are informed in meetings at the local meeting points. This helps keep the awareness alive

Source including photos: Wolfgang Stiebens, DRM Advisor in Mozambique, PRODER-DRM/GRC; 2005

South Africa – Planting Rooibos to cope with Climate Change

South Africa: The Environmental Monitoring Group (EMG), together with researchers at the University of Cape Town and Indigo Development & Change, contributed to the development of sustainable harvesting guidelines for small-scale rooibos tea farmers. The publication was based on postgraduate research on sustainable harvesting of wild rooibos in the Suid Bokkeveld, and a subsequent study on the distribution of wild rooibos ecotypes across the northern range of the species distribution area. During a severe drought between 2003 and 2006, local farmers suffered losses of cultivated rooibos crops of between 60 – 100%.  In comparison, most of the wild rooibos bushes growing on these farms survived the severe drought conditions. Because wild rooibos is more drought resistant than cultivated varieties its management as a sustainable resource increases the resilience of farmers to climate change.

EMG, Indigo and UCT have also worked with producers to reduce vulnerabilities to more extreme weather events in cultivated rooibos lands. Recommendations developed with and endorsed by farmers include ploughing in ways that ensures that moisture is retained on the land, and not washed away with valuable topsoil. Natural vegetation strips are retained or established to act as windbreaks and biodiversity-rich buffers in rooibos plantations. Farmers have also been assisted to plant restios and other suitable vegetation in strips on rooibos croplands to break drying winds. For further information please contact:

Noel Oettle (EMG): dryland@global.co.za
Rhoda Malgas (Indigo): rhoda@indigo-dc.org

Ethiopia – the Productive Safety Net Programme

Ethiopia is piloting a unique food safety net to climate proof their rural poor. The Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) targets people facing predictable food insecurity and offers guaranteed employment for 5 days a month in return for transfers of cash. They have also attempted to build resilience of the small holder farmer to climate shocks by building community assets through public work works such as construction of schools, health post and feeder roads, potable water development; small scale irrigation and natural resource conservation – contributing gradually to improving the livelihoods of the poor