Growth of SERVIR in Africa
It was 10 years ago when the NASA and the USAID partnerened with the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) based in Nairobi, Kenya, to establish SERVIR-Africa.
The contract was signed on September 19, 2008. Bridging the Americas and Africa, SERVIR-Africa created a unique partnership between the regional centre in Panama at CATHALAC, and the one here in Nairobi (RCMRD). The two centres were working to standardize database management and evaluate common methods for predicting severe weather events, analyze threats from climate change and understand the interactions between health and ecosystems.
In 2016, SERVIR-Africa transformed to SERVIR Eastern and Southern Africa (SERVIR E&SA) and it is still implemented by the RCMRD. The overarching goal of the SERVIR project is to improve environmental management and resilience to climate change. With an eye toward this goal, the SERVIR-E&SA project works to build the capacity of the SERVIR-E&SA regional hub institutions, governments and other key stakeholders to integrate earth observation information and geospatial technologies into environmental decision-making.
Through the use of LandSat satellite imagery; RCMRD & relevant government agencies have been able to come up with accurate Land Use Land Cover (LULC) maps.The process was duly conducted with active collaboration from various government agencies in respective countries and there after conducted an on the job training to enhance the capacities of various government representatives.
Partnership with NASA and USAID
The SERVIR project, which in Spanish means ‘to serve’, provides geospatial applications, services, and capacity building for sharing, integrating, mapping, and forecasting using different kinds of geo-information from different sources. NASA’s work with the SERVIR project focuses on providing access to decision-support tools and information services, i.e., the ‘supply’ of SERVIR project offerings. The work of USAID is focused on building awareness and capacity among the community of users, as well as improving and understanding the impacts of SERVIR – the ‘demand’ side for SERVIR offerings. Each SERVIR project centre or ‘hub’, is hosted by an international technical organization that serves multiple countries within its region. The regional SERVIR project hubs are the primary interface between users of SERVIR project products in developing countries and supply from local and NASA scientists.
Goal of SERVIR E&SA
SERVIR E&SA’s goal is to increase the ability of African institutions to apply geospatial technologies to improve the resilience of the region to the impacts of climate change and ensure land use management reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The SERVIR Eastern and Southern Africa project builds upon RCMRD’s existing strengths and augments their data management and training capability. Efforts complement RCMRD’s core mission and provide a springboard for the development of applications customized for member States.
SERVIR E&SA Service Areas and Objectives:
Agriculture and Food Security; Land Cover/Land Use and Ecosystems; Water & Water Related Disasters and Weather and Climate. The objectives of SERVIR E&SA include improving the institutional capacity of RCMRD and plan for sustainability of SERVIR E&SA; Building the capacity of analysts and decision makers in all stakeholder groups to integrate geospatial data, including climate data and technologies into their analysis, policy, planning, management, and communications as well as access to existing and new data and information at national and regional levels.
Other Objectives include raising awareness of and increasing access to geospatial data and information by improving management and access to existing and new data and information at national and regional levels.Creating demand-driven user-tailored geospatial products and services (such as decision support tools, applications, models, dissemination, and training to get information to people who need it to address priority development issues.)
RCMRD is a leading inter-governmental organization that currently has 20 Contracting Member States -- Botswana, Burundi, Comoros, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somali, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe -- in the Eastern and Southern Africa Regions. RCMRD aims at promoting sustainable development through generation, application and dissemination of Geo-Information and allied ICT services and products in the Member States and beyond.