Daraja: East African weather services Case Study

Daraja – how a weather and climate service is bringing benefits to the most vulnerable communities in East Africa

As our weather becomes more extreme due to climate change, a ground-breaking weather forecasting project called DARAJA has been set up in East Africa to help build climate resilience and save lives and livelihoods.

DARAJA which means ‘bridge’ in Swahili, aims to improve the lives of vulnerable populations living in informal settlements in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya by building bridges between communities and weather and climate information providers.

Created by Resurgence and in partnership with the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (UK FCDO), Met Office-led Weather and Climate Information Services for Africa (WISER) Programme, and an array of other key stakeholders, DARAJA has helped community groups to take action and offer support to those who might be vulnerable, helping them to prepare for and take action against the impact of floods and heatwaves.

Working with Kenyan design company Kounkuey Design Initiative and recent UAL graduate Olly Corps, Resurgence created a new global logo for DARAJA which will be used as the service is expanded to Asia and the Americas in 2021. The logo was launched on 12th December 2020 and marks the date of the Climate Ambition

Summit held by the UN & UK Government. It coincides with the five-year anniversary of the Paris Agreement and one-year countdown to the UK Government leading the UN’s COP26 Climate Change conference.

Leading Kenyan filmmaker, Ondivow, teamed up with James Kirika, a Weather Mtaani Leader in Nairobi, to tell the story of how DARAJA, Africa’s most inclusive urban weather forecasting and early warning system, was created.

Photo credit: Pascal Kipkemboi (Kounkuey Design Initiative in Kenya – KDI)

This wall mural was completed in August 2020 as part of the Weather Mtaani awareness campaign which had been running as part of the pilots under the DARAJA weather and climate service.This mural is one of two in Kibera, Nairobi, showing how to use the new forecasts produced by the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) to take preventative action prior to high impact weather, in this case extreme rainfall.

Before the DARAJA service began two years ago, close to 50% of Nairobians living in informal settlements in Kenya’s capital city looked up at the sky as a key source of weather and climate information. Now this has all changed, with great success and impact – Patricia Nying’uro, Principal Meteorologist, Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) talks more about their involvement in the DARAJA service here.

In the next five years the DARAJA service aims to serve 250 million residents of informal settlements in 30 cities across the globe.