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UNMA Develops Weather Forecast App for Users

Lillian Nkwenge, the UNMA Principal Public Relations Officer told URN from Gulu that the WIDS forecasts between a period of six hours to three months. She explained that the Application was developed to support planning for a day to day operations and also long term planning for farmers.

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The Uganda National Metrological Authority -UNMA - has developed an Application for helping ordinary users to monitor weather forecasts. The App dubbed Weather Information Dissemination System -WIDS was developed in partnership with Makerere University using funding from the United Kingdom Agency for International Development-UKAID. 

Lillian Nkwenge, the UNMA Principal Public Relations Officer told URN from Gulu that the WIDS forecasts between a period of six hours to three months. She explained that the Application was developed to support planning for a day to day operations and also long term planning for farmers. 

Godfrey Mujuni, the UNMA Data Service Manager added that the Application provides accurate weather predictions within the requested periods. 

Mary Nsabagwa, the Assistant Lecturer at the Department of Computing and Information and Communication Technology said that development of the Application started in 2013.

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She explained that the Application is accessible on all types of mobile phones and computers. For one to access on a mobile they are required to type*255*85# and follow prompts.

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The five options include selecting a language of convenience, name of the district being sought, duration of the forecast, forecasts sector including crops, livestock, water, health and disaster management.  All the selected options come with advisories.

Nsabagwa added that each request costs between 160 to 300 Shillings charged on the Short Messaging Services-SMS. If connected on the internet, a person is also required to browse through http://wids.mak.ac.ug/wide/ and follow the same options as applied to mobile phones.

Lawrence Opio, the Abekam Area Cooperative Enterprises, a farmers' group composed of over 600 members says that the initiative is very welcome to farmers.

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