Traditional livestock herders, known as pastoralists, serve as the primary custodians of Tanzania’s grasslands - one of the most important ecosystems and a critical resource for addressing climate change. However changing climatic conditions, coupled with the limited field of vision when using traditional methods of finding pasture, has severely limited the predictive capacity of pastoralists in effectively managing herd movement. As a result, a typical household loses over a quarter of their livestock every year and rangelands continue to deteriorate.
Realizing that pastoralists could make more intelligent grazing decisions with better data, AfriScout was created. AfriScout is a mobile subscription service using satellite imagery and crowdsourced indigenous knowledge to aid pastoralists in making more informed grazing decisions that restore rangelands, improve food security, and help poor families with positive climate change coping mechanisms. The app acts as the “shepherds’ eye in the sky” helping to optimize climate-smart management of rangelands and the lives of the people and livestock that rely on them.
The project worked with communities, traditional leaders and government representatives to refine and update grazing areas for three previously mapped districts (Longido, Moduli and Ngorongoro) and expand mapping to one additional district – Simanjiro. With 5,801 registered users, direct and shared access represent approximately 40,600 households (47% of all pastoral households within the 4 districts). The application has been directly used over 1,000 hours by pastoralists and several thousands more through inter-household sharing.