Generating localized weather forecasts for nomadic herders in Mongolia
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Hijaba Y, Vernooy R, Jamba T. 2013. Generating localized weather forecasts for nomadic herders in Mongolia. In: Gunfeld H, Hoon MNL, eds. Dream I.T. Development research to empower all Mongolians through information technology. Ulaanbaatar: Datacom. p. 89-99
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/52017
Internet URL: http://dreamit.mn/phocadownload/dreamit_book/dreamIT.pdf
Livestock farming by nomadic herders, always weather-dependent, remains the predominant rural livelihood in Mongolia. The project described in this chapter aimed to respond to herders’ demand for more timely and accurate localized weather forecasts as a means to reduce risks and improve planning of key livelihood activities. Extension of information and communication technology (ICT) services to remote parts of the country made experimentation with new communication systems feasible. The project started with a needs assessment, which found that the top priority of herders was to obtain three day weather forecasts for temperature, precipitation and wind speed. There was mobile coverage in 80-90% of the land area and most herders had mobile phones (except for the poorer households). The network quality differed by community, with mostly poor reception in high mountain areas. A mobile phone, in combination with a fixed telephone connected to an antenna, allowed herders to receive forecast data and phone the sum centre or the office of the Mongolian non-government organization, Environment and Development Association (JASIL) to give feedback on forecasts received and to transfer their own weather observations. The transmission system established in this project incorporated the existing local weather stations and the weather observation unit in the sum centres. In discussions with community members, they expressed the view that their pasture management practices improved, such as better pasture selection. They also gave details of how the new weather system contributed to social, health and ecological improvements in the communities where it was piloted.