ITIKI Combines Indigenous Knowledge and Science for Accurate Drought Prediction


Rain-fed agriculture remains the backbone of food production on the African continent. Lack of appropriate drought forecasting tools has caused smallholder farmers to rely on their indigenous knowledge for making critical cropping decisions. However, such predictions have become flawed due to climate change.

To help farmers cope, Muthoni Masinde created ITIKI, a drought forecasting tool that integrates indigenous knowledge with scientific drought forecasting to predict droughts accurately. The combination of science and indigenous knowledge ensures the system is relevant and acceptable while enhancing its effectiveness, affordability, and sustainability.

This tool is an early warning system composed of three elements:

  • Drought Knowledge
  • Drought Monitoring and Prediction, and
  • Drought Communication and Dissemination

ITIKI pools weather information via a network of wireless sensors that monitor weather conditions. The system then combines the data obtained with indigenous knowledge to make a prediction that is communicated to farmers via an SMS service.

The ITIKI project currently runs in Mozambique, South Africa, and Kenya, but Muthoni plans to expand it across Africa to help more smallholder farmers adapt to the changing climate.