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Driving UK Space Agency’s efforts to help LMICs

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A series of new projects, announced by the UK Science Minister Sam Gyimah, will bring together UK space expertise and businesses to help improve lives of the people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Launched through the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme, the projects aim to deliver innovative solutions to tackle global development issues across health, climate change, and natural resources areas. Among the 10 projects announced, four draw upon the research and expertise of Oxford Policy Management (OPM) led projects.

Using the innovative research technologies developed by various British space organisations, the projects hope to improve disaster response and tackle tropical disease control using remote sensing. OPM is involved with the following work:

  • Improving disaster risk response in Nepal and Tanzania

Poor understanding of population exposure in LMICs hinders effective response during natural disasters. Providing governments and involved stakeholders with consistent data is crucial for scaling up disaster risk response and protecting the livelihoods of people in affected areas. Starting with Nepal and Tanzania, the project is expected to be rolled out across 48 low-income countries.

  • Scaling up the resilience of smallholder coffee farmers in Kenya and Rwanda

More than 65% of people in Kenya and Rwanda live in poverty, and rely on agriculture as their main source of income. However, unpredictable weather, pests, diseases, and other factors can significantly limit their earning potential. Using satellite data to deliver mobile advice on crop quality and yield will help scale up the resilience of farmers in the area, and improve the quality of life for their families.

  • Forecasting dengue fever outbreaks in Vietnam

By linking the available satellite data with climate forecasting technology, this projects hopes to develop an early warning system for potential dengue fever outbreaks. This in turn will help public health authorities mobilise resources to those most in need.

  • Improving tailing dam safety in Peru

Tailings dams are earth-filled embankments that store toxic by-products of mining operations. Poor design regulations and construction methods mean that their rate of failure is high. Closer monitoring of the dams’ stability can lead to quicker action to avoid potential failures – reducing damage to the surrounding environment upon which many vulnerable communities rely.

Read more about the projects here.