Breaking

Ugandan Joint $100,000 Winner To Give Back For Food Security

When she saw the call for nominations early this year, Nakalembe says she never anticipated that she would win; she understood it to be targeting innovators who develop solutions that directly impact the farmer, like her co-winner Dr André Bationo from Burkina Faso developed a method of micro dossing that involves using very little environmental-friendly fertilizers to boast crop yields.
Dr. Catherine Nakalembe uses satellite technology to develop data.

Audio 3

2020 Africa Food Prize co- Winner Dr Catherine Nakalembe to spend part of her share of the prize money for furthering the cause of improving the food security of those most in need of it. Nakalembe collects data through satellite technology which is used to guide agriculture decision making. 

The Assistant Research Professor at the University of Maryland in the US told URN in an interview on Tuesday that the Friday announcement came off as a surprise through a call from Nigerian former president Olusegun Obasanjo.

When she saw the call for nominations early this year, Nakalembe says she hardly anticipated that she would win, having understood it to be targeting innovators who develop solutions that directly impact the farmer or agriculture. Her co-winner Dr André Bationo from Burkina Faso developed a method of micro-dosing that involves using very little environmental friendly fertilizers to boost crop yields.

//Cue in; “I got a giant…      

Cue out… was a surprise”. //

Applying this data initially in 2015 when she was pursuing her PhD research at the University of Maryland in the US, Nakalembe has now turned into a globe trotter because of her ability to map using GPS and predict the occurrence of natural disasters and likely performance of crops in different terrain and seasons.

As a result of this, she has trained government officials and scientists in different countries including Mali, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania among others in Africa. In Uganda, she has seen her data being applied by the government to make a decision about tackling hunger in Karamoja. 

//Cue in; “When they were…

Cue out….actually a problem.”// 

She says with data and evidence-based interventions, government programmes like Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) would put resources where they are most needed by comparing what’s happening in different areas. This way, she says there will be efficiency in agriculture which is the agenda of the prize.

//Cue in; “with the data…

Cue out…To be efficient.” // 

However, Nakalembe only became an environmental scientist by chance having missed her first preference sports science course when she was enrolling for her undergraduate programme at Makerere University early in 2002.

Being unable to afford self-sponsorship at the university, she resolved to settle for a new course at the time of environmental science which she blended with a number of short courses in ICT that formed her first knowledge of using the computer to do the mapping.

A few months after graduation and conducting her undergraduate research in remote sensing of the environment, Nakalembe would apply and win a partial scholarship for a master’s degree in Geography and Environmental engineering at the Johns Hopkins University.

Apart from agriculture, she has used her mapping technology with drones to guide the establishment of Bidi Bidi Refugee settlement camp in Yumbe district which is among the biggest refugee sites in the world.

Also, last year, she won the Inaugural GEO Individual Excellence Award that recognizes scientists who have come with scientific  innovations that can be easily turned into applicable solutions.  

Images 1

Entities

Keywords