The DARAJA weather forecasting and early warning service has been awarded a World Habitat Award for its innovative approach to saving lives and protecting homes in informal settlements in Kenya and Tanzania.
National weather agencies, Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) and Tanzania Meteorological Authority (TMA), were key to the DARAJA service being implemented. In addition, informal settlement communities, supported by KDI Kenya and CCI Tanzania were heavily involved in the design of the DARAJA service. DARAJA is run by global social enterprise, Resurgence, in partnership with a wide network of local organisations.
Empowering Communities to Prepare for Extreme Weather
DARAJA, which means ‘bridge’ in Swahili, provides regular, reliable weather information and response actions in accessible and easy-to-understand formats for residents of informal settlements.
Since its launch in September 2018, DARAJA has provided almost 1 million people in Kenya and Tanzania with better weather information. The service has led to well evidenced reductions in climate loss and damage to communities and generated a significant increase in household repairs made in response to weather forecasts, with a 300% increase in Nairobi and a 122% increase in Dar es Salaam.
Expanding Reach and Adapting to Diverse Needs
The DARAJA service is now expanding, supported by the FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office) Weather and Climate Information Services for Africa (WISER), to Sudan, Uganda, and Ethiopia. It is also being adapted for use in small island states, where communities face unique challenges related to rising sea levels and extreme weather events. The project aims to provide its services to 25% of the 1 billion people living in informal settlements worldwide by 2030. By empowering communities with knowledge and preparedness, DARAJA is contributing to a more resilient future for the most vulnerable populations.
Recognition for an Outstanding Climate Resilient Initiative
The World Habitat Awards recognize and highlight innovative, outstanding, and revolutionary housing ideas, projects, and programs from across the world. The award for DARAJA underscores the importance of community-driven solutions to climate change adaptation.
Mark Harvey, CEO and Founder of Resurgence: “Resurgence and its partners, KDI Kenya and CCI Tanzania, are delighted to receive a World Habitat Award. It’s a great validation of our collaborative approach to enabling residents in informal settlements to protect themselves and their housing and property from escalating climate hazards.”
James Kirika, KDI Kenya staffer and DARAJA community leader: “DARAJA came through as a saviour to people’s lives and how they were living. And it has prevented them from losing their property and losing their lives.”
David Ireland, Chief Executive of World Habitat: “DARAJA provides a unique service that allows those most vulnerable to climate impacts to protect themselves and their homes. It has made forecasting intelligible and opened a channel for different stakeholders and community members toimprove their living situation in informal settlements.”