Capacity building activities continue to develop in Eastern Africa, organized by the University of Maryland (UMD) in partnership with Lutheran World Relief (LWR), and the Système d'Alerte Précoce (SAP) [National Early Warning System] under the Commissariat à la Sécurité Alimentaire [Food Security Commission]. Recent training for the region was led by Dr. Catherine Lilian Nakalembe, Assistant Research Professor and NASA Harvest lead for Eastern Africa and Mali, from September 10-13, 2019 in Ségou, Mali.
Twenty participants from government agencies in charge of early warning management in Mali attended the four day training. Those agencies represented included the Food Security Commission (CSA), National Early Warning System (SAP), National Department of Agriculture (DNA), Planning and Statistics Department of Rural Development Sector (CPS/SDR), National Department of Social Development (DNDS), Mali Meteo, and the Civil Protection Department (DGPC).
During the training, various earth observation-based (EO) tools and data were introduced to participants, all of which are operation-ready. The systems introduced included a newly custom-built GEOGLAM National Crop Monitor System that is part of the larger global structure of crop monitor systems: the Global Agriculture Monitoring System, the Early Warning Explorer and the Open Data Kit. These mechanisms are used for field data collection, forming a framework for a core set of tools, and for compiling the data needed to realize EO-based National Agriculture Monitoring. The combination of tools allows departments like SAP to conduct near real-time monitoring and early warning of food insecurity with satellite data. Workshop participants also included government extensions, the LWR team from Baltimore, WARO, and the Mali Country Office.
ABOUT RELIEF 2 RESILIENCE:
Relief 2 Resilience is a 2-year project which supports vulnerable households in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger to recover from food insecurity through targeted emergency food assistance and provides support for increased agricultural and animal production, income generation, and strengthened early warning systems. The project is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
This training marks the inception of an invaluable partnership between UMD, LWR, and SAP to establish a multi-platform data collection initiative for livelihood, food security, and crop condition monitoring, providing near-real-time data to key decision makers and stakeholders with the goal of improving livelihoods for smallholder farmers across the country of Mali. The field data collection will serve as the pilot for further expansion across additional regions with the goal of providing a representative and comprehensive food security and livelihood data portal for Mali. The government and its partners are willing to support this effort because of the practical importance and impactful usages for improving food security for the population.