Rainwatch in Senegal

Thursday, September 22, 2016

On Thursday 8 September 2016 I had the privilege to meet his Excellency Mr George Hodgson, Ambassador of the United Kingdom in Senegal. The meeting, within the overall framework of the RainWatch program, allowed me to make a presentation on the RainWatch platform, the opportunities and especially use of the tool in the various development programs, and the support in humanitarian assistance.

Present at the meeting were his Excellency Mr George Hodgson (left in photo), Mr Patrick Vercammen, Humanitarian Adviser for the Sahel at the UK Embassy, and myself Galine Yanon (right in photo).

The main discussion points were:

  • Presentation of the Walker Institute at the University of Reading, and the various activities under research and development;
  • Presentation of the BRAVE project in Ghana and Burkina Faso, building the understanding of climate variability into planning of groundwater supplies from low storage aquifers in Africa; and
  • The main point of the discussion, the presentation of the Rainwatch platform, as a planning and early warning tool.

After the meeting, the Ambassador and his humanitarian advisor reaffirmed their willingness to learn more about RainWatch and especially to share it with the various development partners. RainWatch will then be integrated into the various discussions in Sahel.

Overall we can say that this meeting was of very great importance, especially in the presentation of the platform to the Ambassador and his Advisor, and also the enthusiasm it generated. Clearly RainWatch fits perfectly into the overall dynamics of the Embassy's programs in the Sahel zone.

I also took the opportunity to assure in the confidentiality of data integrated into RainWatch and reassure all present that one of the ultimate goals is to see the platform managed by the Permanent Interstate Committee for the Fight against Drought in the Sahel (CILSS), while reaffirming the central role of National Meteorological Services in the overall process. RainWatch does not 'belong' to the Walker Institute or the University of Oklahoma, they are supporting its development.

The encouragement of his Excellency the British Ambassador goes to all those who today are involved in RainWatch, not only as a champion, but also and especially as an agent of change, which is ably supported by the statement, helping Africa to help itself.