Agnella – Local weather champion in Dar es Salaam

Miss Agnella Faustine Malilima

Agnella Faustine Malilima, 26 years old, became interested in the DARAJA project in July 2019 after hearing about it from a neighbour, Ms. Biosa Ng’anzi, who had attended some project meetings. At first Agnella says she did not realize the importance of weather and climate information services (WCIS) in everyday life; WCIS was not easy for her to access or understand. After attending a DARAJA project meeting, Agnella began to follow up and learn more. In her own words:

“My interest of watching TV was on other programmes, not the forecast information because I felt like it was not important to me. I always look at the sky and make my own assumption of the weather—whether it is going to rain or not, like everybody else does in this community. I now follow up on the forecast information so I know what the weather will be like at least in a week.”

As word spread of Agnella’s interest and growing knowledge of WCIS and TMA, some of her relatives and other community members started asking her about the forecast for a particular day. Agnella knows her Kigogo settlement community well; she was born and lives here. Because of that, she was identified as one of the people who will be sharing information with her community through the DARAJA project. In Agnella’s words:

“I started sharing with a few people and now I can send the information through SMS to more than 30 people once I get the SMS forecast for that particular week. This made me gain more popularity in the community and more consultation from people who want to know about the weather of the day.”

Agnella explains that interest and understanding of WCIS is growing in her community, along with decisions that consider the forecast information after project interventions. She recalls that during the October rain, after the forecast, the community decided to clean the river that usually floods when it rains, and some people were able to shift their belongings to safer places within the community. Although Agnella does not live in a flood-prone area, she also now takes precautions if it is going to rain and if temperatures will be high, such as taking more water.

According to Agnella, the information is easily understandable by the community, especially what is shared through SMS. However, she encourages the project and TMA to have a media programme on awareness creation for wider knowledge and information sharing, including sending SMS to more people.

Agnella also believes that the relationship and the trust between the community and TMA has improved. Because the forecasts have shown to be good, now the community is paying attention and even making decisions, as noted above. She says:

“I had never thought that I would sit and discuss these issues together with TMA people, because I thought it was more of an expert's things and less related to me. That’s why even my interest was not that much [at first] because I thought it is none of my business. But through this project I have seen that we need to work together.”