Makerere: WIMEA-ICT Introduce Course In Meteorological Studies


dosage sans-serif; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>Mr. Magezi represented the Commissioner, pilule Department of Meteorology during the WIMEA-ICT kick off meeting held at Emin Pasha Hotel, visit this Kampala from November 20-22, 2013.

According to Dr. Julianne Sansa-Otim, from the College of Computing and Information Sciences, capacity building is one of the project’s components and will present scholarship opportunities for 5 interdisciplinary PhDs and 20 MSc.

In addition customised ICT short courses for practising meteorologists will be offered.

“The project also entails conducting curriculum reviews and development of new curricula for universities that lack,” added Dr. Sansa, who is also the project’s overall coordinator.

The meeting was attended by partners from Makerere University, University of Bergen (UiB), Dar-es-Salaam Institute of Technology (DIT) and Uganda’s Government Department of Meteorology.

The WIMEA-ICT five-year project starting in December 2013 seeks to improve the timeliness and accuracy (of) as well as the access to weather information by the communities in the East African region through suitable ICTs for increased productivity (in the agricultural, energy, water resources and construction sectors) and safety (in the disaster management, fishing, health, mining, aviation and defence sectors).

The project is expected to cost about NOK Shs 18 million.

Its other components include – establishing operational Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models for the three countries; Creating reliable, accurate and well-formatted weather data repositories; improving the density of the weather station network in the region; Improving the weather information dissemination system to present relevant and suitably packaged information to different stakeholders.

Prof. Joachim Reuder from the University of Bergen recommended the WRF model as well supported for numerical weather predictions.

The WIMEA-ICT project will use WRF to build weather prediction models, which is likely to improve the accuracy of the weather forecasts in addition to availing them in a timely manner.

Prof. Bjorn Pehrson noted that the proposed weather stations will have sensors that measure temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, insolation, precipitation, wind speed and direction, soil temperature and moisture. The weather stations will be set up in two years.

According to Dr. Benjamin Kanagwa, the project will create a weather information dissemination system that presents relevant, simplified and suitably packaged information to different stakeholders in urban and rural areas to enable them make informed decisions.

“We shall adopt a mechanism for ensuring that we alert, inform and help end-users interpret and use this information,” he noted, adding that they will also set up village committees and teams of indigenous knowledge expert on weather information in selected pilot villages.

The dissemination system will enable self-service, interactive voice recognition in multiple languages and open data for automated integration through API among other features.

Participants pose for a group photo

Commenting on the proposed repository that will store Uganda’s weather data upon digitisation, Mr. Andrew Mwesigwa from the Makerere University Library said the repository will be based on international standards for the aim of providing historical data to support research and meet the MET international standards.

This web-based solution will be accessed even remotely. The Makerere University Library will be responsible for digitalising Uganda’s manual weather records.

In implementing this project, consideration will be given to ensuring that gender considerations are upheld.

“Majority of staff in the Meteorology Department are male. In addition, there is only one female among the senior members.

This calls for a conscious effort to encourage and train women in the meteorology field,” said Dr. Agnes Rwashana Semwanga.

To overturn this, the project will ensure that at least 50% of the scholarships are awarded to females.

Dr. Semwanga, also the Deputy Principal of the College of Computing and Information Sciences added that engendering the training programme is an integral part of the project.

There will be gender sensitisation workshops, networking events, mentorship talks and meetings and female students who get pregnant during the programme will receive a stipend for 6 months.

The call for applicants for the PhD courses will be out in late December 2013, while the MSc is expected to start in 2014/2015.


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