Environmental monitoring program expands to West Africa

Environmental monitoring program expands to West Africa

NASA and the U.S. Agency for International Development are expanding their SERVIR environmental monitoring program to West Africa, where satellite data will help local officials manage climate-sensitive, region-specific issues.

SERVIR’s name comes from the Spanish word meaning "to serve," and it  is a joint initiative between NASA and USAID to help train government officials and researchers in developing countries to use data, technology, tools and imagery to discover and share timely insights about food security, fresh water resources, land use and natural disasters.

SERVIR-West Africa will be one of four NASA-USAID centers housed in developing regions. The new center will be based in Niamey, Niger, and will provide scientists with a continuous stream of space-based data on climate and weather, according to NASA.

The addition of a West Africa-based hub answered an immediate demand to connect available science and technology to regional development solutions, according to Alex Deprez, director of USAID’s West Africa regional office. “What we seek in the long term are African solutions to African problems,” he said.

The program was created in 2004 by researchers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. It now serves more than 40 countries worldwide, has developed more than 40 custom tools, worked with 200 institutions and trained more than 1,800 people.

About the Author

Amanda Ziadeh is a former reporter/producer for GCN.

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