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Meteorological Agency educates journalists, communities on weather forecast

August 31, 2020

Deputy Director General and Head of Operations of the Agency, Gabriel Kpaka

The Sierra Leone Meteorological Agency (SLMet Agency) has on Thursday 27th August, 2020 held a one-day Customized Media Training on Tailored daily weather Forecast for Media Practitioners.

The training took place at the Conference Room of the Agency, F18 Charlotte Street in Freetown, and brought together thirty media practitioners, mostly Radio Station Managers, Bloggers and Print Media Editors to furnish them with the  key components of the Agency’s daily tailored made weather forecast for better understanding on seasonal variation and  decision making. 

Speaking at the training, the *Deputy Director – General of the Agency and Head of Operations, Gabriel Kpaka said  that effective weather and climate media relationship is critical in delivering reliable, co-produced and accessible seasonal and daily climate services to the general public, thereby surmounting the standing challenges of climate information and services not reaching the public.

“To solve this and embolden effective media reporting on weather and climate change issues, this training workshop has been clearly cut out by SLMet Agency in order to educate, inform and set in motion the media on weather, climate and climate change related issues,” he added.*

*Mr. Kpaka* also disclosed that the training workshop encompasses capacity training in seasonal and daily weather information, strengthening the weather and climate curricula across thirty (30) media houses in Sierra Leone, especially within the peak period of the rainy season for the safeguard and proper planning of the  general public , adding that  access to seasonal and daily weather forecast information is vital for disaster preparedness, marine, agriculture, Hydrology, health etc… 

In his lecture during the training, The *SLMet Agency Head of Operations* informed that even though climate information and services are being produced by the Agency for the benefit of the people of Sierra Leone, there exist a major difficulty in communicating the forecast, especially the climate products which he said are normally packed with scientific terminologies that can hardly be understood and effectively communicated by ordinary practicing journalists and communicators.

 To address this, he said the Agency seeks to carve out a more coordinated effort to transfer the climate information to the end users through the media in its simplified form without losing form, especially during the peak period of both the dry and wet seasons.

*“This gap further serves as a barrier to the enhancement of the positive effects that would be derived out of the Agency’s tailored weather information. In essence, it also reverses the gains of weather and climate information that would re-enforce activities that can inspire change and ultimately contribute to a better economic growth, enhanced livelihoods and improved household nutrition”, he concluded.*

On another note, the Agency also on Wednesday 26th August 2020,  held a one day training on the *’Integration of daily  weather forecast and Rain Gauge monitoring for rainfall  related disaster preparedness’* in vulnerable Communities. A set of 10 focal community volunteers from Culvert, Gray Bush, Dwarzack, Kroo Bay, Congo Town, Kaningo and Thompson Bay Communities were engaged on the need for integrating tailored made daily weather forecast with  rain gauge monitoring in the designated vulnerable communities for rainfall related disaster preparedness.

*”Being  a responsible corporate body with the vision to safeguarding lives especially during the rains, we hold the primary responsibility  to capacitate  vulnerable community volunteers”. Flooding disasters have been a growing concern for almost every rainy season, therefore, the need to adapt to climate change should be owned by the vulnerable people themselves, Mr. Kpaka emphasized.*

Both trainings ended with a question and answer session on the various components delivered.

Unit of Public Relations,

Sierra Leone Meteorological Agency

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