Our research group is designing a climate services app for small-scale farmers in the global south. We see that the changing climate creates a strong and urgent need for the tool that allows farmers to access information of changing weather and climate patterns, which leaves the current farming timing, based on indigenous knowledge, in trouble.
We aim to solve the issue of mismatch between rather simple information needs of the farmers versus often rather complicated information provided by various organizations and researchers. Therefore, this can be seen as a “last mile” two-way connection between farmers and information providers. We also believe that providing only weather and climate information is not adequate, but that information needs instead to be combined with agricultural information and focused recommended practical action steps.
Currently we are designing our app´s main outlines, meaning key functionalities and basic design elements. First version of our app will be built for the KaiOS “smart feature phone” platform, which offers smartphone like features (HTML5 based apps, GPS, 4G, WiFi), but in a phone which has longer battery life (up to 30 days), better durability and more competitive price point (less than 20$), than traditional touch screen smartphones. Only restrictive factor is that the navigation will be based on using physical bottoms instead of touch screen, but with careful UI design usability can be very similar than in touchscreen apps.
We also preparing for the coming co-development phase, which is schedule to take place during early 2020 in Northern Namibia together with local small-scale farmers and co-researchers from University of Namibia.