Welcome to NET Africa
WORKING GROUP II
AgriFund Management Center
SME Food Systems Innovations & Sustainability
Women's Smart Climate & Wellbeing Observation Service
The working group on good statistical governance was created to support timely, reliable, and harmonized statistical climate information and data in Sub-Saharan Africa, covering all aspects of political, economic, social, and cultural integration. Our research and practice are anchored on four strategic pillars (i) to promote the mobilization of climate funds to improve climate and well-being statistical good governance; (ii) to support the coordination and production of quality climate and wellbeing statistics for Africa; (iii) to support sustainable institutional capacity in the African Statistical System; and (iv) to promote a culture of quality decision-making. The first set of meetings by the working group was conducted over three days during the 77th UNGA Science Summit in September 2022 and included contributions made from Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Mauritius, Zambia, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, and Germany. The outcome of these sessions at the UNGA resulted in the formation of three working groups as lustrated below.
WORKING GROUP I
Governments and the harmonization of statistical data - Comparisons across government departments.
WORKING GROUP II
Industry and the harmonisation of Climate-related data - SME Food Systems Innovations & Sustainability.
WORKING GROUP III
Cities and the harmonisation of Climate-related Data - Comparisons across cities
Women's Smart Climate & Wellbeing
Technology & Innovation for Women-led farmers
Reduce the digital divide by accelerating meaningful access to digital technologies and universal digital literacy for SMEs to monitor water and climate change.
Increase STEM education for SMEs for women-led enterprises.
Increase ownership of mobile phones for women-led enterprises.
Mobilize funds/investments in tech innovations focused on improving SME women-led enterprises.
Increase women in using and working in technology and innovation in agriculture.
Increase women’s financial inclusion by increasing both formal and informal financial inclusion, including women at risk of being excluded from formal financial services.
Formally register/ incorporate women-led SMEs with the government officials.
Provide financial management education and training.
Contributing to environmental data including disaggregated data from earth observation, in-situ data, citizen science, ground truthing, and indigenous and local knowledge are necessary for national policy and accounting more broadly.
Using Earth observation techniques, from outer space and on Earth, in combination with new tools for data analysis, disciplines like environmental accounting, and environmental economics, has revolutionized our ability to recognize patterns of what causes environmental change and how it impacts life
Develop a strong research team to ensure the following:
- ethical conduct of the study including human rights, safety and welfare, and compliance with all institutional, state, and federal regulations and guidance.
- editing reports and submitting new reports, keeping a log of key personnel involved in the study. Managing SME enrolments and ensuring compliance with local and national business regulations
- overall data management of the study, working closely with the sponsor requirements for data management. Maintaining databases, and working closely with the research team to identify key data points for collection.
- coordinate daily activities of research studies, manage SME enrolments and ensure compliance with the protocol. Monitoring, measuring, analysing, and evaluating the project.
Women's Smart Climate Observation Service
In Sub-Saharan Africa gender-smart climate observation service is needed for two fundamental reasons. Firstly, Africa has the least developed land-based weather observation network in the world, only 1/8th the density that the World Meteorological Organization recommends. In many parts of Africa, the number of meteorological weather observation stations is inadequate and is declining. Climate information and services are usually limited to main roads and excluded from rural areas because most stations are located along main roads. There are serious gaps in observations because of missing data and questionable data quality. Historically, satellite data has largely been used for mapping and short-term climate predictions. There is a need for effective information systems and monitoring in Africa. To improve data reliability, we are calling for investments in weather stations across Africa. In order to improve climate change scenarios, it is urgent that the density of monitoring stations be increased. It is difficult to construct future scenarios of water resources in Africa due to the heterogeneity of ground records.
Additionally, climate finance and investments in women-sensitive weather and climate services are important. For smallholder farmers in Kenya and Zambia, accessing weather information is essential, especially as the weather becomes harder to predict using traditional methods. Women smallholder farmers in Zambia, for instance, are experiencing increased frequency and severity of seasonal droughts, occasional dry spells, increased temperatures in valleys, flash floods, and changes in growing seasons as a result of climate change. Climate change impacts on agriculture in Zambia include less predictable growing seasons, increased pests, weeds, and pathogens, and increased soil erosion. Decreased productivity and crop failure. Women smallholders, in particular, face several constraints when accessing weather information. Financial limitations often prevent women from critical information and communication technologies (ICTs), such as cell phones or radios, making it difficult for climate weather information to reach them. Gender-based differences in education levels and household duties may make it difficult for women to access, interpret, and make use of climate information. Extension services and other interventions may also miss women due to their exclusion from decision-making processes or social norms concerning their mobility and interactions in male-dominated spaces. Therefore, we decided to implement a gender sensitive smart climate observation platform to address these issues.
Women's-smart climate well-being observation service solutions that use technology to optimize and control crop resources are increasingly being preferred by farmers around the globe due to the urgency of preventing environmental degradation, reducing waste, and increasing profitability particularly for female-led smallholder farming organisations. Using satellite remote sensing, intelligent information and communication technologies (IICT) (machine learning, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, cloud-based analytics, actuators, and sensors) are being used to achieve greater control over spatial and temporal variability. This set of related technologies that is gender sensitive is referred to as "Women-smart climate observation service."
In real-time, continuous monitoring of weather, crop growth, physical/chemical variables, and other critical environmental factors enable farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa to increase yields, reduce labour costs, and improve their products. By integrating IoT systems that can provide information about multiple crop factors, practices such as irrigation management, resource management, production, and fertilization can be improved. In this way, while quality and quantity of production are boosted, the negative aspects of unsustainable and costly agricultural practices are also prevented with advanced interconnected actuators and sensors.
Women's-smart climate: IoT systems/STEM training
Why a women's smart climate well-being observation service?
Women smallholders, in particular, face several constraints when accessing weather information. Financial limitations often prevent women from critical information and communication technologies (ICTs), such as cell phones or radios, making it difficult for climate weather information to reach them. Gender-based differences in education levels and household duties may make it difficult for women to access, interpret, and make use of climate information. Extension services and other interventions may also miss women due to their exclusion from decision-making processes or social norms concerning their mobility and interactions in male-dominated spaces. Therefore, we decided to implement a gender sensitive smart climate observation platform to address these issues. A major focus of this relatively new field is improving crop productivity and controlling environmental variations. An integrated farming management system can be achieved with smart agriculture by having mobile devices in hand that collect data from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), satellites, or wireless sensors that operate directly at the plant level and are connected to cloud-based systems.
In general, the women's intelligence climate observation services can potentially:
Reduce water consumption,
Implement a better plant nursing process with optimized nutrient levels,
Decrease risk of yield loss,
Assurance of higher revenue,
Better yield quality,
Decrease overall production of waste,
Simplification of labour,
Enhance environmental protection.
From resource management to climate adaptation, the Internet of Things can provide solutions for small farmers. In addition, urban gardeners or small producers are benefiting from the development of IoT. Although the system is relatively simple, it offers the potential to build open-source solutions in different settings where environmental adaptation is required without significant technical constraints. A cloud-based monitoring system connects electromagnetic sensors, a power supply, a water pump, relays, and the irrigation system. Data is received by a control unit and then accessed by the user via the internet.
Technology democratization can boost the competitiveness of small producers.
While Smart Agriculture has tremendous potential, technical challenges make up just one aspect of the whole picture. Despite the significant potential for deploying low-cost, accessible, reliable, and durable high-tech solutions, they have not yet reached their full potential. Smart Agricultural technologies are slowed down by the lack of internet coverage in rural areas, especially in emerging economies. The democratization of IICTs, including the internet, does not involve privilege. In order to transform agriculture in a sustainable way, small farmers and rural communities need to benefit from technological advancements.
Any environmental information system must include groundwater monitoring. On the basis of validated groundwater monitoring data, decisions can be made. A smart environment is based on constant monitoring, which provides the necessary data input and forms the basis of decision-making. Through this development we promote groundwater monitoring networks to communicate timely drought or flood warnings in order for stakeholders to take appropriate mitigation measures.
Aquifers should be monitored in order to ensure their long-term stability and safety as a source of safe and stable water.
It is also important to estimate the speed and direction of contamination flow and narrow down contamination sources by identifying subsurface contaminants.
Also important to prevent damage from salt water intrusion, drought, and flooding by managing groundwater levels. Data provided by the local groundwater monitoring network can be used to design appropriate measures as well as to inform stakeholders when to make adjustments to their water management system.
Weather & Water Monitoring
According to a recent report by the ministry of Zambian water development, sanitation and environmental protection, the main water policy issues highlighted were the sensitivity of water dependent economic sectors such as agriculture and hydro power production to the effects of climate change; the under development of irrigated agriculture; the problem of nonrevenue water; and the trend of increasing own water supply as opposed to dependence on service from the water utilities.
We have started to develop an interactive weather and water monitoring map that links to artificial intelligence to gather data on the open water in Zambia and weather. Farmers rely on groundwater for irrigation. Click here for further information
SME Food Systems Innovations & Sustainability
1. Developing a research team in partnership with the University of Zambia for SME Food Systems Innovations & Sustainability
2. To contribute to the SME Food Systems Innovations & Sustainability annual journal/books.
3. To find research funding for the group.
4. To develop seminars, talks, workshops, and conferences.
5. To invite undergraduate/ graduate and post-graduate students to participate.
Digital Divide - Mobile-subscriptions per 100 inhabitants
Source: ITU Publications
SDG and Well-being Indicators
The OECD framework for well-being identifies three pillars for measuring people's well-being
i) material living conditions
- Income and Wealth
- Jobs and earnings
ii) quality of life
- Health Status
- Work & Life Balance
- Education & Skills
- Civil engagement & Government
- Social Connections
- Environmental Quality
- Personal Security
- Subjective Well-being
iii) and Sustainability
- Natural Capital
- Human Capital
- Social Capital
- Economic Capital