2. Africa: Weather forecasts to reach more rural communities (ReliefWeb)

| March 30, 2009

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Rural communities in West and Central Africa should soon have better access to local weather forecasts. The Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies operating in the region have signed an agreement with the African Centre of Meteorological Application for Development. Under the agreement, Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers will be trained to use weather forecasting equipment and interpret meteorological information.

The newly trained volunteers will share weather forecasts with rural communities. The weather forecasts will support programs to improve food security and prepare for natural disasters.

Perry Ambullai is a disaster management coordinator for the Liberian Red Cross. He notes that only one radio station in Liberia provides weather forecasts, and this station can only be heard in the capital city. He says that better access to accurate weather information will allow the Red Cross to anticipate disasters and save more lives.

Weather reports will also help farmers tim soil preparation in order to maximize the length of the growing season.

Weather reports are a valuable service that broadcasters can provide for farmers. Your station may also be able to support farmers by sharing knowledge of traditional forecasting techniques. The following Farm Radio International scripts look at the value of this traditional knowledge:
Farmers have important knowledge about weather and environmental change (Package 75, Scripts 5 and 6, June 2005):