Digital tool launched to tackle hunger in world’s drylands

Digital tool is being created to tackle hunger in vulnerable livestock farming communities in world’s drylands.

The world’s drylands make up 40 percent of the world’s land area and are home to billions of people.

These areas are at risk from fluctuating rainfall, drought, rising temperatures, and land degradation. These create insecurity and conflict caused by competition for scarce resources.

There’s therefore the need to fully prepare for the vulnerabilities, shocks, and stresses caused by changing climate.

Through the partnership, “the Jameel Observatory” for Food Security Early Action will help tackle the growing threat to people in the world’s drylands posed by the increasing severity and frequency of climate-related disasters.

The new venture will bring together the expertise from the University of Edinburgh, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Save the Children, the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), and Community Jameel.

The Jameel Observatory will be based at the International Livestock Research Institute, a CGIAR Research Center, in East Africa.

The Jameel Observatory’s first project aims to fill the evidence gaps that prevent effective forecast-based action to protect children and their families’ livelihoods and nutrition in parts of East Africa.

The partnership will connect technology and data surveillance on early warning signs of severe weather and systemic climate change with community-driven applications and interventions.

The Jameel Observatory will engage with agencies that work with farmers to develop and apply digital and analytical tools that help them shape their food security, nutrition, and livelihoods.

Researchers plan to use community-level data together with satellites, drones, weather data, and remote sensing to understand, prepare for, and mitigate the likely impact of climate shocks.


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The University of Edinburgh will use its expertise in data-driven innovation to combine data, information, and local knowledge to better predict climate risks, encourage coordinated actions, and guide interventions.

Save the Children has been working to tackle hunger and malnutrition in the toughest places in the world for 100 years. The aid agency brings a wealth of practical and programmatic experience supporting communities to respond, prepare and adapt. 

Save the Children is committed to strengthening forecast-based action to food crises using tools like the Household Economic Analysis to predict the impacts of climate shocks on vulnerable families.

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab is an evaluation and knowledge partner and will connect Jameel Observatory with teams of researchers to help assess the initiative’s interventions. 

J-PAL will also share evidence on effective climate change and adaptation programs from existing experimental evaluation literature.

Community Jameel is an international organization tackling some of the world’s most urgent issues and challenges, with action and solutions based on evidence, science, data, and technology. 

It is supporting the Jameel Observatory and providing its expertise in establishing collaborative institutes and research programs for the past 75 years.

“The Jameel Observatory will deliver targeted decision-making tools to those who are facing the most challenging effects of climate change. We know that no single organization can address the complexities facing drylands communities. 

With expertise in data-driven innovation in a range of contexts, the University of Edinburgh is well-placed to lead this partnership by bringing pastoralist communities together with experts in big data, earth observation, and food security.” Said Alan Duncan from the University of Edinburgh’s Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security.

Fady Jameel, Vice Chairman of Community Jameel added, “The Jameel Observatory continues Community Jameel’s tradition of supporting initiatives that align expertise, resources, and data to have an impact. 

It will address the effects of the climate crisis – the great challenge of our time – through bold solutions that combine international, regional, and local perspectives, ensuring they are fit for purpose and can be implemented at scale. As the Jameel family marks 75 years of philanthropy and business this year, we are inspired by our partners in this new venture and look forward to contributing our strategic input to ensure its success.”

Also read,

Confronting water security challenge in drylands

EU risks 40% of agricultural imports by 2050 due to drought

World off track to meet 2030 SDGs as more than 720 million people faced hunger in 2020; UN

Germany could experience more extreme droughts according to historic megadrought data

Ethiopia’s Tigray region hit by famine amid civil war

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