Local Water and Environment

Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) Engages Stakeholders to Enhance Weather and Climate Services in Kasese


Kasese District, Uganda – In a proactive move to enhance weather and climate services, a team from the Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) conducted a customer satisfaction survey in Kasese District. Led by Lilian Nkwenge, Principal Public Relations Officer at UNMA, the delegation engaged with various stakeholders, including farmers, climate-conscious journalists, and representatives from the aviation, energy, and tourism sectors.

The primary objective of the survey was to assess the quality of services provided by UNMA and identify areas for improvement, particularly in weather and climate services across Uganda. By gathering feedback from stakeholders, UNMA aims to enhance its service delivery and effectively address the challenges posed by climate change.

During the meeting held at Messiah Radio in Kasese town, Nkwenge emphasized the importance of collaborating with journalists to disseminate weather and climate information effectively. Recognizing the media’s credibility and extensive reach, she highlighted the need for cooperation in delivering accurate and timely updates to the public.

One of the key stakeholder groups engaged in Kasese District was the farming community in Kistwamba sub-county. Nkwenge highlighted the significant role farmers play in the country’s economy, considering both their large numbers and the vital contribution of agriculture.

Additionally, UNMA recognizes the importance of engaging with other sectors such as aviation and energy. For instance, pilots rely on UNMA’s weather information for crucial aspects of flight operations, including takeoff, landing, and route planning.

The energy sector’s reliance on water, which originates from rainfall, further underscores the importance of accurate weather data.

Tourism, another vital sector in Kasese District, was also a focus of the survey. UNMA acknowledges the role of tourist guides and companies in facilitating safe visits to the mountains. By providing weather and climate information, UNMA aims to ensure that tourists are well-informed about potential risks, such as strong winds and weather changes, thereby promoting their safety and overall experience.

In line with their quarterly approach, UNMA selected Entebbe, Fort Portal, and Kasese as the districts for this round of the customer satisfaction survey. By rotating the districts, UNMA aims to cover different regions over time, as it recognizes the challenge of comprehensively addressing the entire country at once.

During the survey, Nkwenge expressed sympathy for the losses suffered by individuals and communities due to the recent flooding of the Nyamwamba River, which resulted in one fatality.

She urged residents to heed warnings issued by UNMA through the Office of the Prime Minister to vacate high-risk areas stressing that human life is paramount, Nkwenge emphasized the importance of taking such information seriously to avoid tragic consequences.

Kasese District has been grappling with recurring floods and mudslides since 2013, leading to the loss of lives, displacement of thousands, and significant property damage. Disasters triggered by extreme weather events continue to pose significant challenges for the district.

“Addressing these challenges requires effective dissemination of accurate weather information and proactive measures to mitigate risks” Nkwenge adds.

Siraj Wafula, rincipal Metrologist at UNMA, drew attention to the far-reaching impacts of climate change. He likened climate change to a cancerous disease gradually eroding the stability of global weather patterns. Wafula explained that society’s socio-economic activities and cultural practices are intricately linked to weather and climate conditions.

“Any deviations from traditional weather patterns can disrupt plans and adversely affect cultural practices, such as traditional cropping systems and animal rearing” he stated.

Wafula highlighted the changing ecological systems, citing shrinking water bodies, rising water levels, altered plant behavior, and the emergence of new diseases as consequences of global temperature changes. He also mentioned Lake Chad’s imminent risk of drying up.

Wafula stressed the urgent need for intervention at local, national, and international levels to address the manipulative impact of rising temperatures on various aspects of life.

The receding glaciers on the Rwenzori Mountain range further exemplify the effects of climate change. Wafula confirmed their observations and acknowledged that while some measurements and follow-up actions have occurred at the global level, national-level data collection and monitoring efforts are limited.

However, he noted that French researchers have installed monitoring stations around the Margarita Peak on the Rwenzori Mountains, aiming to track temperature changes meticulously.

In November 2022, the French Embassy in Uganda awarded journalist Alex Baluku a grant to investigate the rate of glacier recession on Mount Rwenzori and its potential impact on the culture, health, and livelihoods of the people in the Rwenzori Region. The findings of this investigation, intended to raise awareness and prompt action, are yet to be released.

The engagement between UNMA and stakeholders in Kasese District represents a significant step towards improving weather and climate services in Uganda.

By actively seeking feedback, collaborating with key sectors, and addressing climate change challenges, UNMA aims to safeguard lives, protect cultural heritage, and promote sustainable livelihoods in the face of a changing climate.

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