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Meteorological Dept establishes vernacular radio stations

15 March 2012, 15:19 Bernard Gitau

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The Meteorological Department of Kenya has established vernacular radio  stations in the areas vulnerable to the adverse climatic changes across the country.

The department which is responsible for providing information on the weather changes in the country is also in the process of establishing a station in Chemolingot located in East Pokot district.

According to the Rift Valley director of the Metereological Department, Ali Ramtu, they have already put in place the radio stations in Buadalangi, Kangema, Suswa and Kwale.

“We realized that we are responsible in communicating all these pieces of information  regarding weather and the climate to the communities. But we major in the communities which are mostly affected  by the adverse changes of weather,” said Ramtu in Nakuru.

Considering the inaccessibility of majority of people in the rural areas  to the formal media channels,Ramtu noted that they obliviously unaware of the environmental and weather happenings in  the country.

To counter this,he said after  installing the stations,they distribute the winding radio  gadgets to the opinion leaders in the community to be able to spread the climatic information to the people and  influence them change their behavioural attitudes.

He said through the radio stations,the people will be able to make wise decisions and be able to come  up  with communal pro-active measures to help  adapt and mitigate the effects of climatic changes.

“In the research that we carried out before we came up  with the pilot project in 2006,we realized that the communities at the grassroots were  not accessing the climatic information.When we announce of short rains or floods,the people prepare for otherwise and continue with their lives as  normal,” Ramtu noted.

He  however,regretted of the financial constraints but expressed  optimism of its  success as they have the full support of the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources.

He said they commission the locals who are identified by the provincial administration with the help of the community elders,train them to effectively transmit the information.

“We are indirectly creating employment for the educated  but unemployed in the villages though not permanent.We use the provincial administration and the  village elders to identify the people who can pass the information in the most appropriate way and then train them at our headquarters,” said Ramtu.

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