International Women’s Day Feature Hones in on Drought Early Warning Systems
A feature filmed by CNN on UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg campus in celebration of International Women’s Day focused on a drought prediction tool developed by Professor Muthoni Masinde from the Central University of Technology.
Masinde is collaborating with researchers at UKZN who are working on establishing early warning systems for smallholder farmers who are vulnerable to climate change.
In the video, Masinde spoke about the innovative Information Technology and Indigenous Knowledge with Intelligence (ITIKI) app, web portal and SMS service she developed as a drought prediction tool. A computer scientist, she has focused on integrating scientific information with indigenous knowledge to address drought, which remains a major challenge in Africa.
Masinde aimed to provide smallholder farmers, who lack a suitable drought-forecasting tool and mainly rely on their indigenous knowledge for critical cropping decisions, with an accessible drought forecasting service that incorporates knowledge they identify with to accurately predict drought. She has achieved 98% accuracy in the system, which is used in three African countries by thousands of farmers.