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The Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen in Norway hosted the third Annual General Meeting of the WIMEA ICT project from December 7 to December 11, 2015. This meeting had participants from NORAD (project sponsors), the University of Bergen, Makerere University, Dar-es-Salaam Institute of Technology and University of Juba. The eight PhD students sponsored by the project also attended. NORAD was represented by Ms Jeanette Da Saliva. The Adina Foundation, Benadir University in Somalia and UNCT in Italy also participated.
The meeting’s objectives were to discuss and make resolutions in four major areas: Progress of the students as well as other project activities, plans for the project in the period of January-December 2016, issues of special concern and how to manage them; and exploring synergies like Sci-GAIA tools, Adina Foundation Project in Uganda and the Benadir University Project in Somalia. Members agreed to lower the criteria for enrolling students on the Master’s program for non-staff, since most of the staff available already have masters’ degrees. Once these students have been enrolled, they will sign a scholarship contract that will act as a commitment contract between the project and the student to serve their University after the completion of their studies. However, if there is no job opening available by the end of their study, they will be allowed to get employment elsewhere. Ms Da Saliva informed members that the donors were satisfied with the projects’ progress.
Dr. Julianne SansaOtim, the WIMEA-ICT Project Investigator, together with all the university contact partners were given special recognition for the good work done in 2014/2015. Members were also informed that the project extension is unpredictable, thus partners in the different institutions should ensure that all the PhD students contracted complete their studies by the end of 2018. During the meeting, there were some shared interests with the Sci-GaIA project, the Adina Foundation in Northern Uganda and the Benadir University in Mogadishu, Somalia.
Project Sci-GaIA offers a discussion forum where registered users participate by creating/discussing different topics and share documents and images. Roberto Babero and Prof Bjorn Pehrson presented a tutorial on the SciGaIA tool which is on the link— http://discourse.sci-gaia.eu/c/ projects/wimea-ict which is also now accessible on the project website http://cis.mak.ac.ug/ wimea/. Members agreed to use this forum as a tool to improve collaboration among partners because it is much faster, can share large images as attachments and automatically updates the user list compared to using other platforms like google mail. The partners appreciated using this forum as a good strategy to improving communication and requested that any publications should be shared on this forum so that they can be made accessible.
The Adina Foundation
This foundation was represented by Morwen Muilwijk. It is a project that is based in Lira, Northern Uganda and is funded by some private donors in Norway. Their vision is to work with vulnerable people with disabilities, reaching out to different farmers and groups in this area. Since agriculture is the dominant source of livelihood in this part of the country (with 82% of the workforce), climate adaption is very important. All the small scale farmers in this area need training to learn about weather and climate change, and improved weather forecast is of shared interest between the Adina Foundation and the WIMEA-ICT project.
This university is in Somalia and has a unit called SDRI that houses all weather related activities mainly for research and consultancy. The weather information in Somalia is disseminated by using bulk SMS to send alert messages and holding workshops in small villages. The annual meeting was a great success and it was wrapped up with a group photo and a dinner between the partners, PhD students and supervisors at the Geophysical Institute Hall.