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, new forecast products were co-designed and new communications systems for weather and climate information piloted to enable improved decision making and to 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 worked alongside residents, national meteorological services media outlets and technology companies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi.
Through workshops, household surveys, and focus group discussions and Key Informant Interviews, new communications systems and forecast products that are tailored to residents of urban informal settlements were co-designed and piloted.
The new services and forecast products are more accessible and relevant to residents, through the use of popular channels such as radio and SMS to convey critical information in a simplified language.
Community radio stations in Kibera, Majengo, Korogocho, Mukuru and Kawangware and a city-wide radio station, as well as other news organizations, are sharing daily updates and advice messages as well as discuss weather-related risks and challenges to create awareness among the population.. While in Kibera 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, a Kiberian cinematographer is raising awareness of extreme weather events through video while in Dar es Salaam especially 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 now have improved access to reliable and relevant climate information that enables them to stay safe and minimize risk.
National meteorological services have new models for reaching a broader set of end-users of their forecast products that can potentially be used to help reach other vulnerable communities across East Africa.