Rwanda will soon have qualified engineers with Radio Detection and Ranging (LADAR) skills necessary to operate and repair weather equipment besides predicting accurate weather forecast information.
Rwanda Meteorology Agency has solicited American experts to train 15 Rwandan meteorologists from September to November.
The two-months training will cos t Rwf125 million that will be spent on 15 local RADAR experts including five technicians and ten data interpreters.
The training is part of strengthening Rwanda’s Weather and Climate Services to Support Development (SMRWCD) – a three years project that started in 2015.
Rwanda has been paying a lot to hire experts from USA and China; “Last year alone , repairs cost RADAR Rwf 200 million.The only advantage was that we were still under warranty period which has expired. But the main benefit is the sustainable operations and stopping the free ride the suppliers were having on our system,” said Byandaga.
“Whenever our equipment had problems, we had to call a foreign mechanics at a high cost depending on damages,” said Livingstone Byandaga, the Coordinator of SMRWCD at Rwanda Meteorology Agency.
The SMRWCD project is funded by Rwanda Green Fund (FONERWA)- a Rwf1.6 billion national fund for the environment and climate change aimed at improving service delivery and providing data on weather and climate.
Rwanda has three weather Radar display sites, at Meteo Agency; at Kigali international airport and at Ministry of Defense.
Meteo Agency has so far installed 300 weather observation stations across the country to improve climate information.
“We could predict rain and people are surprised of a sunny day, but now we can assure Rwandans that a planting season will be a planting season; a rainy day will be a rainy day and this before the end of the year,” said Byandaga.
As part of the project that is expected to end in March next year, Rwanda is also planning to introduce Barcode Leader gadgets at all stations to ease quick information gathering.
Mobile applications are being developed so that Rwandans will access weather information anywhere any time before making any plan.
“We want to correct what did not work and prove to Rwandans that we are able to do it” Byandaga told KT Press.