On Thursday 17th August 2017, a stakeholder meeting was convened at Meteo Rwanda Headquarters to discuss on the Internet of Things for Water and Climate Project (IoT for water and Climate Project.)
The IoT for Water and Climate Project is new pilot project jointly planned by Rwanda Meteorology Agency (Meteo Rwanda), UNDP and the University of Tokyo that specifically aims at assisting Rwanda in developing new technologies and applications that can sustainably address existing and future emerging climate related issues through real time data collection, analysis, dissemination and applications. The project was granted funding from the UNDP Innovation Facility and co funded by the University of Tokyo.
Ms. Reina Otsuka, the Environment Specialist at United Nations Development Program noted that this initiative will first focus on issues such as measurement of water depth, soil temperature and humidity. She added that the technology could potentially be applied to other environmental data collection including forestry, biodiversity and pollution.
Prof. Ryosuke Shibasaki, who was heading the team of experts from the University of Tokyo said that this new technology shall drastically reduce data collection cost and improve efficiency. “Since this is an open source technology, we would like to mobilize local engineers and younger generations to start some developments or improvements based on our technologies,” added Shibasaki.
Mr. John Ntaganda Semafara, the Director General at Rwanda Meteorology Agency commended initiative from University of Tokyo to introduce this new technology. He said that the good management of water resources needs reliable weather and climate information. The Director General further reiterated that the project shall benefit a number of key players in climate change issues and disaster risk reduction.
The project will set up sensors for water, soil, temperature and geographic measurement at a selected site to collect and accumulate real-time data. Applications will be developed for analyzing and disseminating the climate data in an effective and understandable way, through close consultation with potential users such as the vulnerable population and Disaster Risk Reduction or agricultural planning agencies, and effectiveness will be proved for further development at the national level. The pilot will take into account WMO standards to the extent possible, and address challenges in the end for further technology development.
The stakeholders meeting put together representatives from Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs, Rwanda Environment Management Authority, Rwanda Agricultural Board, Ministry of Local Government and Japan International Cooperation Agency.
Participants actively discussed potential challenges and opportunities for using new technology to collect reliable data that can better inform users. Institutions with potential technological capacity such as Tumba College of Technology (TCT), ICT Chamber, Klab, Fablab and Carnegie Mellon Rwanda University (CMRU) will be engaged, as well as SMEs and startups in the IT industry.