Through April and May 2019, the teams of Centro Humboldt and Nitlapan have been installing weather stations on different farms in the municipalities of Río Blanco and Mulukukú, Nicaragua.
This marks the start of the TRUEPATH project’s citizen-science approach to generate local climate data, and to process and use that data in the framework of local deliberative fora.
Frédéric Huybrechs, a member of the TRUEPATH team, said: “It’s been invigorating to see the motivation of the participating farmers and to see the first results come in”.
On the basis of the incoming information, Centro Humboldt will produce reports and –over time – increasingly accurate predictions which will then be shared with the participating farms.
At the beginning of June a first collective workshop brought together participating ‘weather observers’ with Nitlapan’s researchers and technical team to discuss the first findings and experiences with the weather stations. These are the first steps towards a broader collaboration with local actors for discussing weather patterns/climate issues and the link with their livelihoods and decision-making.
As well as being a key component of the Truepath project, the weather stations are also linked to other dynamics at the partner institutions Nitlapan and Fondo de Desarrollo Local (FDL). With the technical and financial support of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Nitlapan and FDL have been working on improvements to their current Microfinance Plus model in view of developing a new green microfinance product. This process includes the establishment of several Demonstrative Farms, and the climate monitoring stations have been installed on five of these farms. This offers possibilities to link the collective discussion processes around climate change with technical changes the IFC project is expecting to implement around these farms.
The weather stations are broadly located within territories where the TRUEPATH project will analyse the dynamics of agrarian change and development pathways. Part of this research will be informed by ‘agrarian diagnoses’, for which students of AgroParisTech will be spending 6 months in 2020 in several of the areas. In recent months violence associated with ongoing political turmoil in Nicaragua appears to have declined, improving the prospects for this and other fieldwork in the country.