Our first set of materials, communicating climate and soil moisture forecasts, is ready for field testing in Northern Ghana. This is a first design outcome of one of our collaborative projects with meteorologists, funded by NERC, who are drawing together data on climate and land surface in order to provide improved seasonal forecasts for soil moisture. The project, ERADACS (Enhancing Resilience to Agricultural Drought in Africa through improved Communication of Seasonal Forecasts), has set out not only to improve forecast skill but to ensure forecasts are communicated in the most usable way to people making decisions about what crops to plant and when to plant them. The project is in partnership with the Ghanaian Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and NGO, Evidence for Development. University of Reading brings expertise in modelling climate and weather, satellite derived observations of rainfall from the TAMSAT group, a tradition of agricultural extension research and, from the perspective of information design, a heritage of investigating the most accessible ways of communicating new information.
As field work gets underway we are conscious of the work in the 1950s of the Isotype Institute. Marie Neurath worked with local communities in West Africa, developing visual educational materials, initially about the constitutional impact of independence and subsequently to support public education campaigns regarding health and farming.