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Kenyan weather forecasts incorporate traditional weather predictions

February 10th, 2012

EMUHAYA, Kenya (AlertNet) – In Essong’olo village, some 32 km west of Kenya’s Kisumu city, Japheth Olukune Akhati and his neighbours are busy tilling their small plots of land in preparation for planting. It hasn’t rained for a few months here, and the skies are still azure blue. But thanks to traditional knowledge, the farmers know it might rain in three weeks’ time, and they want to be ready.

Kenyan farmers like these have relied on indigenous forecasting methods through the generations. Some fear these methods will be made redundant by more extreme and unpredictable weather linked with climate change. Others say they remain valuable tools – especially when used in conjunction with modern science.

The Kenya Meteorological Department is one organisation that thinks ancient practices have something to offer. Based on the findings of a study released in April 2010, it now blends traditional forecasts with science-based predictions to produce more accurate – and more well-received – weather and climate data at the local level in western Kenya.

The met office employs satellite technology and other modern methods to produce forecasts, while the ordained rainmakers from the region’s Nganyi family are asked to make their traditional predictions.

The results are then analysed and synthesised, translated into the Luhya language and disseminated to the public through a vernacular radio channel called Mulembe FM. Social gatherings, word of mouth and chief’s meetings spread the message further.

Farmers say the combined forecasts, added to their own observations, give them … Read more here.

You can also watch a video on the Nganyi indigenous knowledge project here.

Source: alertnet / Isaiah Esipisu