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New App to Update Citizens on Weather Patterns

by Daniel Sabiiti
4:20 pm

Radar Engineers undergoing training

Rwanda Meteorology Agency (Meteo Rwanda) is developing an application to enable citizens to access timely updated weather predictions.

“We are trying to avoid misleading information on other internet based sources. Many people have no direct access to weather updates,” said Antony Twahirwa, Head of Weather and Climate Services at Rwanda Meteo.

According to François Nsengiyumva, the Technology and Information Support and Service Division Manager at Meteo, the application should be ready by January 1st 2018.

“There is a tender for Rwandan technology experts to develop the application in three months. We shall work along with the best bidder to have the application designed to suit our needs,” Nsengiyumva told KTPress

The App, once developed will provide news on weather updates, be linked to the meteo web database for automated updates on any inputs that will be broadcast in time.

Apparently farmers say that the forecasts cannot be trusted and the prediction of weather patterns keep changing contrary to the anticipated ones.

They say that the only certainty they have is the weather patterns based on the planting seasons which they are used to.

Meteo Rwanda officials agree that information doesn’t reach targeted beneficiaries despite efforts of working with local leaders and toll free lines.

“We have a capacity to forecast updates as they happen but we have a challenge budget to pay to media outlets for the airtime,” Twahirwa said.

Twahirwa added the agency has met editors and talked about this possibility of partnership with local media especially Television but the issue of income derailed efforts in working with media on voluntary basis.

Meteo works with districts and ministry of disaster management and refugee affairs (MIDIMAR) to update the community with weather patterns. The agency has however started mass media outreach programs to educate residents on weather patterns.

According to Meteo officials, Rwanda has no satellite to enable on spot precise changes in patterns but there are 300 weather forecast points countrywide that enable the agency to provide accurate area weather data.

The database is collected in eight forms of forecasts include; wind speed, rain patterns, cloud formation and storms among others from one day up to a season.