To understand the transformational benefits in Dar es Salaam as a result of DARAJA, the project has deep-dived into the experiences of a few distinct stakeholders – Community leader, Municipal disaster coordinator and TMA.
For Husna Shechonge, a community leader from Dar es Salaam who has been involved with DARAJA right from the start to finish, it has been a transformative experience. Husna says that the weather information is now easily accessible as it’s sent via WhatsApp group messages and SMSs apart from TV and Radio. She particularly stresses that SMS has the added benefit of being able to review the information at any time (after it’s been received) she wants, in contrast to TV and Radio where she cannot rewind or ask them to repeat it at her convenience.
Pendo Alfred, the Kinondoni Municipal Disaster Coordinator, also prefers to access it through WhatsApp. The formal Government communication channel is through official letters which are delivered by post – this causes delay in communication, especially with regards to high-impact weather events. In contrast, accessing it through WhatsApp has been easier and quicker.
Community leader, Husna has typically used the five-days rolling forecast and occasionally the seasonal outlook for the rainy season to plan agricultural activities on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam – for example, which crop to cultivate based on its water requirements and the rainfall outlook. Husna recalls a specific instance during the project period where she took an action based on the forecast:
As Husna found value in these forecasts, she began sharing it with some of her fellow community members via WhatsApp, SMS and face-to-face interactions. In time, others found it to be very useful and more people from other settlements have been asking for this information.
Municipal Disaster Coordinator, Pendo uses this information in his work to inform the local communities and leaders on the types of actions to take before, during and after the upcoming weather events. Apart from using this information in his communications with the community, Pendo also shares this information with his colleagues, family and friends, generally via WhatsApp.
On the relationship between the community and TMA, Husna says that there is a visible change. She indicates that there is higher trust in the information from TMA and that the public service of meteorology has become more accessible to the community. Husna attributes a lot of these positive changes to DARAJA.
On the relationship between local Government institutions and TMA, Pendo says that now there is direct interaction with TMA. He suggests that this coordination could be improved to a level where the two institutions are planning interventions together.
TMA agrees with Municipal Disaster Coordinator, Pendo, that the interaction between the two institutions has increased through DARAJA.