OVERCOME - digital innOVation in flood Early warning and wateR-related disease prevention for COMmunity capacity building and rEsilience

Lead Research Organisation: University of Exeter
Department Name: Engineering

Abstract

OVERCOME consortium include world-leading organisations to develop state-of-the-art research plan that integrates digital innovations in natural hazard and risk predictions in order to develop intervention strategies for strengthening the resilience of vulnerable communities against climate hazards and health impacts.

The partners from the UK, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe will contribute knowledge and skills in climate and meteorology, hydrology and water resources, flood forecasting, droughts, water quality, epidemiology and public health, smart technologies, data science, environmental science, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), risk communication, disaster management, social and policy sciences, and socio-economics. The collaboration will combine multidisciplinary knowledge to develop a novel holistic framework to forecast the impact of floods/droughts and associated disease outbreaks. OVERCOME also has strong support from global experts and local major stakeholders. The external partners will steer research direction throughout the project, contribute their complementary knowledge, and engage the team with additional partners through their strong international networking.
OVERCOME will organise a kick-off meeting in one African partner's country to (1) brief our research ideas to the key stakeholders in African countries; (2) allow for all parties involved to learn from each other the capacity that each institution can contribute to the OVERCOME consortium; (3) understand the expectations that the stakeholders have on the project; (4) identify the knowledge gaps in research and the extra expertise required within the consortium.
Following the kick-off meeting, the lead partners in Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe will further reach out to additional partners in their countries to complement the skills within the consortium.

Networking and Capacity Building Workshops (NCBWs) will be organised to incorporate local stakeholders for co-designing research methodology and outcomes to ensure that the project outputs will be adopted by stakeholders for real-world practices to deliver long-term impact to communities. Local Stakeholder Engagement Workshops will be held for local stakeholders to review and feedback on the final second stage proposal. The participants will evaluate the objectives and planned tasks from WGs for shaping research topics to benefit most stakeholders and vulnerable communities. The engagement can also examine and guarantee the feasibility of proposed solutions.

We will also synergise with other consortia, projects, and professional groups to further strengthen the consortium, enhance the research vision, collect data for the full research, and widen the impact from the project.

Planned Impact

By integrating the hybrid modelling approach with weather forecasting information, together with the collaboration with policy makers, NGOs and affected community representatives, the OVERCOME consortium will co-design an innovate holistic framework to help governments and local authorities in the partnering countries more accurately identify the timing and locations where the hazards and diseases will hit. Digital innovations will enhance the capacity of environmental monitoring and the ability to evaluate the effectiveness of adaptation measures under different scenarios, the ultimate outcome from the project will deliver a transformative approach to improve the resilience of vulnerable communities against climatic disasters and associated health risks.

As a result, this will support the design of policies and actions to prioritise resources and investment for short-term emergency responses (SDG13) and long-term infrastructure development (SDG9) to strengthen society's resilience to environmental shocks. In turn, this will enhance WASH interventions (SDG6) and providing a sustainable environment (SDG11) to safeguard vulnerable communities and groups (SDGs3,5,15) and support economic growth in these countries (SDG8). With improved quality of life, we expect the chances and quality of education for the citizens will thrive (SDG4) to promote gender equality (SDG5) and reduce inequality (SDG10).

In the short-term, OVERCOME will identify existing gaps in climate hazards and associated disease risk management research and how digital innovation can reduce their impacts. The benefits from the collaboration and knowledge exchange between academic institutions from the global North and South and partner organisations include, but not limited to: (1) increased research capacity on mitigation and adaptation to climatic hazards and associated disease risk management, using digital tools such as ICT, remote sensing, IoT, UAV, syndromic surveillance, WhatsApp; (2) increased social and political awareness on the research topic; (3) an established African Network to discuss and find effective and efficient digital innovation solutions to climate hazards and disease risk management. In the long-term, by reducing the impacts of floods and droughts events, the project will (1) increase community and institutional resilience to climate hazards and associated diseases; (2) increase school attendance by school children, including girls; (3) reduce the time women and girls spend fetching water; (4) increase food security for all.

Publications

10 25 50