SEATTLE — A joint initiative between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) works towards eradicating extreme poverty by 2030. NASA and USAID’s creation, SERVIR, is one of the most advanced pioneer space technologies for combatting global poverty in the world.
Since it first launched in Panama in 2005, SERVIR, has sparked a new relationship between space scientists and development practitioners by fostering the use of data from space to improve environmental decision-making in 30 developing countries.
Today SERVIR operates in four hubs: the East and Southern Africa at the Regional Center for Mapping of Resources for Development in Nairobi, Kenya; the Mekong hub at the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center in Bangkok, Thailand; the Himalaya hub at the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development in Kathmandu, Nepal; and most recently, the West African hub at the AGRHYMET regional center in Niamey, Niger.
According to Robinson Mugo, the chief party at the Eastern and Southern Africa hub, “space technology helps us determine those information gaps we can fill that can spur decision making and change the way we do things today and make communities better prepared for the future.”
Mugo and his team have utilized data from space to study rainfall in order to improve local flood forecasts in Kenya and to help farmers protect their crops.
Following the earthquake in Nepal last year, SERVIR hubs were able to task satellites to collect images and share them with the Nepalese government, who were then able to pinpoint landslides and hazards.
Astronauts at the International Space Station have attached several instruments on the exterior of the station to monitor ocean winds, clouds and pollution- information that is used every day to improve development decision-making.
Active in over 30 countries, SERVIR has already established over 40 custom tools and has joined forces with over 200 institutions to pioneer space technologies and ultimately tackle international development challenges.
– Sarah Poff