As part of its matchmaking approach that devises data-driven early action food security solutions for dry areas, the Jameel Observatory supports researchers looking for answers that pastoral communities can use to overcome climate changes. Observatory Students combine their academic studies with field work to produce development-oriented resources with practical applications.

George Tsitati Mayenga is a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh’s College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, the Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems, and the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute. He joined the University after completing his master’s degree in Climate Change Science and Policy at the University of Bristol.

He brings a thorough understanding of quantifying climate change vulnerability and risks, mapping climate-induced food poverty and gender inequality, and developing locally led conventional ways of reducing anthropogenically climate change impacts and shocks on the vulnerable agricultural households in East Africa.

He is a former Fellow at Chatham House where he researched solutions to the most pressing issues facing youth in Africa – climate change, unemployment and gender inequality. He has worked with Youth Engagement For Stockholm 50 where he contributed to the drafting and writing of the third global Youth Policy Paper.

Research focus and plans

George’s research focuses on developing locally led anticipatory measures to mitigate, adapt and respond to humanitarian crises. Drawing from climate datasets, socioeconomic data, sociodemographic data, indigenous knowledge, and Humanitarian Open Street Map (HOT), he aims to enhance the ways that emergency forecasts, of droughts and floods for example, are matched to community coping strategies and methods.

Th aim is to close the gaps in the gendered coping techniques recommended by scientists and technicians, and those actually followed by people most affected by gradual and rapid onset disasters. These gaps between theory and reality undermine the ability of children, women, men, and communities to build resilience to climate shocks and they shape the effects and efficacy of resilience building and early response initiatives. Better understanding the preferred and gendered coping methods of women, men, child-headed households, and entire communities in extremely vulnerable pastoral and agro-pastoral contexts, and knowing how to connect these with scientists, policymakers, and practitioners will help ensure that resilience building and protection measures take into account the needs of children, women, and men in highly vulnerable pastoralist communities

Jameel Observatory significance

Supervised by Fiona Borthwick and Alan Duncan of the University and Joanne Grace of Save the Children UK, George’s research will combine future climate datasets and local indigenous knowledge by exploring local “indicators” used by the communities and integrating them with Early Warning Systems (EWS), Anticipatory Action (AA), and Early Action (EA). Freely-available humanitarian mapping tools will be used to connect vulnerable pastoralists, local communities, policymakers and humanitarian agencies so they can better predict, mitigate and respond to recurring climate and food shocks in the Horn of Africa.

Follow George on Twitter: @Tsitati_George

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