48 countries. 11 permanent colleagues in 6 Regional Economic Communities. Project Head Office in Addis Ababa, and project offices in Nairobi, Mauritius, Accra, Niamey, Gaborone and Kinshasa. Dozens of stakeholders, massive amounts of data and millions of beneficiaries in African countries. And that’s before the first coffee of the morning!
From a geographical perspective, MESA is the biggest project managed by Human Dynamics. It covers almost the entirety of sub-Saharan Africa — from Mauritania to Madagascar, from Sudan to South Africa, and islands from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic. It has a relevance to everyone on the continent and is one of the most complex projects that we have implemented.
MESA — Monitoring of Environment and Security in Africa — is an overarching project that intends to contribute to poverty eradication and sustainable development by addressing the need for reliable, timely and accurate land, marine and climate data and information for Africa.
It fully exploits Earth Observation data and technologies, including information from satellite constellations and other observation systems. It uses the same DVB technology that a satellite television does. This information is then to be provided, in the form of user-friendly information packages, to those who need it for improved decision making for the better management of the environment and food security — including in agriculture, livestock and fisheries, water management, and shipping on Africa’s major riverways (e.g. the Congo and the Ubangi) — at the continental, regional and national levels.
Our role is to increase the information management, decision-making and planning capability of African continental, regional and national institutions who have mandated responsibilities in these areas, working closely through our project offices.
The range of stakeholders alone is extensive — from the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Regional Implementation Centres and national policy makers, to EUMETSAT, the EU’s Joint Research Centre in Italy, and academia.
The project runs for four years and involves hundreds of missions to the continent.
There range of audiences interested in MESA and its outcomes is very wide as well — students and academics, national scientific institutions (e.g. meteorological or agricultural centres, etc.), farmers and fishermen, the shipping industry, aviation, national disaster preparedness institutions, journalists, and policy makers.
As the project manager for this project, I have to say that it is a challenge I relish to organise and keep together all the various groups of stakeholders and experts who are spread around the continent. Some of our experts are obviously working in locations where communications and infrastructure can be quite often be a real challenge. This is an important project for us as well as for the African Union Commission and the EU. Indeed, this Sunday (8th December), I am off to Addis Ababa to meet the project team and the project coordinator to organise some further short-term missions on monitoring and evaluation, and to develop visibility programmes for internal and external users and interested stakeholders. Next stop – Addis!
— Peter Koegler, HD, Senior Project Manager of MESA, 6 Dec 2013, Vienna