DARAJA (Developing Risk Awareness towards Joint Action), or “bridge” in Kiswahili, addresses the vulnerability of informal settlements in Kenya and Tanzania to extreme climate and weather events. Working alongside national meteorological services, city stakeholders, and residents of informal settlements, we are prototyping new products and communications systems for weather and climate information to enable improved decision making and build resilience.
Extreme weather events wreak havoc in informal settlements such as Kibera, with disproportionate impacts on women, children, the elderly, and the less able.
While community members have critical knowledge about coping with these events, information services to help them anticipate risk and build longer-term resilience are not easily accessible or specific to urban climate risks.
KDI, Resurgence, and CCI are working alongside residents, national meteorological services media outlets and technology companies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi.
Through workshops, household surveys, and focus group discussions we are co-designing new communications systems and products that are tailored to residents of urban informal settlements.
Each new service or product is highly accessible and relevant to local community members, using popular channels such as radio and SMS to convey critical information.
Local radio stations and news organizations are sharing daily updates and advice, while a Kiberan cinematographer is raising awareness of extreme weather events through video. Our community partners share easy-to-understand forecasts through SMS, word of mouth, and even phone calls, as well as organizing preventative “community clean-ups” to protect neighborhoods from flooding as the heavy rains set in. Finally, local schools are educating children on how to protect themselves from extreme climate conditions.
Through DARAJA, residents of informal settlements in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi will have access to reliable and relevant climate information that enables them to stay safe and minimize risk.
National meteorological services will have new models for reaching a broader set of their beneficiaries that can potentially be used to help reach other vulnerable communities across East Africa.