Living in harsh and often remote dryland environments exposes the land users to climatic shocks. As such, the lives and livelihoods of many men, women and children in pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities – such as in the drylands of East Africa are threatened by conflict, insecure land rights, environmental degradation and, increasingly, climate change.
The Jameel Observatory for food security early action is a new initiative that combines the local knowledge and concerns of communities facing on-the-ground threats of hunger with innovations in data science and humanitarian action; teaming up to devise solutions that can predict, prepare for and overcome climate-related food security and malnutrition challenges in dryland areas.
Tomorrow’s food insecurity and malnutrition, however, can be overcome today by early actions and solutions that increase the resilience and adaptive capacities of pastoralist communities facing climate threats. Jameel Observatory adopt a community of practice approach which was launched in Kenya and is partnering initially with communities in East Africa. The global community of practice unites data, science and practice for food-secure and resilient lives and livelihoods in drylands worldwide.
In the absence of reliable data and evidence, pastoral groups as well as other organizations that serve them struggle to determine where and how best to take action to ensure that pastoral communities are fully prepared for and are able to respond to climate-driven food security and nutrition shocks. Effectively predicting and addressing food security and malnutrition challenges requires:
• Well-targeted, timely, and reliable information and data to better monitor and assess food and nutrition security and climate change threats to pastoral communities.
• Appropriate data and information products and decision-support tools to decide when, where and how best to invest or intervene to achieve desired outcomes for pastoralists.
• Effective data, information sharing and collaboration mechanisms to better coordinate the actions of many organizations. Until now, it has been very difficult to bring together research from various sectors such as livestock, soil, weather predictions, human geography and climate change to develop policies and protocols that can have a positive and lasting impact for populations on the ground.
The Jameel Observatory mobilises research and community capabilities, expertise and other assets, seizes the opportunities offered by advances in earth observation/data science and digital technologies and applications, uniting and applying them in real-life decision-making situations with the potential to achieve outcomes.