The Climate Information Prize (CIP) was a competition that ran in Kenya between 2015 and 2018. It aimed to encourage local innovators to develop climate information services (CISs) that could be accessed and used by farmers. For the CIP, climate information included data on temperature, rainfall, wind, humidity, sunshine hours, and other factors, over both short and long periods. Access to climate information is key as it allows farmers to be better prepared for climate variability and make informed decisions that reduce their vulnerability.
Kenya’s poorest do not use existing CISs because they do not know that climate information is useful and available, or do not have the means to use it, such as credit. Moreover, the design of CISs does not consider users’ needs and data is not always of good quality.
The CIP was launched to:
- Drive the development of innovative CISs that can be accessed and used by the most vulnerable.
- Raise awareness of the importance of climate information to adapt to climate change.
FINDINGS AT A GLANCE
The CIP encouraged the development of 18 CISs, ranging from web and mobile apps that provide real-time weather and agronomic information to face-to-face training in sustainable agriculture. Of these, the judges shortlisted nine as finalists, of which seven were awarded a cash prize, from 35,000 to 200,000USD each.
'WITH THE INFORMATION ON WEATHER, WE ARE PROUD OF IT – WE HAVE PRIDE IN OURSELVES. WE ARE KNOWLEDGEABLE NOW; WE ARE WELL INFORMED.'
- Community member
- The CIP raised awareness of the prize itself and the value of climate information among participants, beneficiaries and local governments. 35% of participants were new to climate information before the CIP, including the first-prize winner and a runner-up.
- It promoted best practice for CISs among participants through ‘solver support’ activities such as workshops and promoted ‘best in class’ innovations through award ceremonies.
- It facilitated partnerships and networks between participants and 95 institutions to deliver CISs, including the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) and Ministry of Agriculture.
The CIP also achieved other prize effects which were not targeted. It awarded seven innovations, identified as point solutions to the highly specified problem of providing climate information to communities. It also spurred innovation by attracting new solvers and encouraged community action through participants' activities on the ground. Moreover, many solvers were community-based organisations or worked with local intermediaries, such as farmers groups, to extend the CISs reach. Finally, the prize maximised participation towards the sponsor’s aims as CISs have been developed by 18 participants, not just the winners.
VALUE FOR MONEY
To understand CIP’s value for money (VfM), Itad evaluators compared it against its original expectations, which it met and exceeded. They also assessed it against a grant-funded programme with similar aims, phase 1 of the western Kenyan component of the Weather and Climate Information Services for Africa (WISER).
They found out that they achieved similar VfM, reached a similar number of beneficiaries and raised awareness of the importance of climate information, but in different ways. The CIP was better at raising awareness and engaging new solvers, especially from the private sector, and new beneficiaries. However, contestants had to invest time and money upfront with no guarantee of winning a cash prize, which posed a risk.
On the other hand, WISER aimed to improve the skills and motivation of KMD and County Meteorological Directors through training. It helped them to develop county-level climate information plans, which shaped a supportive policy environment. Consequently, its administrative costs as a proportion of total costs were higher than in the CIP but impact on traditional stakeholders was greater.
Summary of Ideas to Impact prize effects
THREE KEY LESSONS
- FOR PRIZE MANAGERS: Award ceremonies can spark a lot of interest in a prize and its topic, but this tends to reach a crescendo just at the point when the prize ends. What post-award activities could you plan to make the most of the ‘buzz’ generated?
- FOR FUNDERS: Providing minimal support to contestants may keep programme costs lower, but this comes with risks. Some contestants struggled to participate due to limited finance and technical skills, and difficulties with stakeholder engagement. Could you connect a prize to other programmes in your portfolio to give local solvers the technical and financial support they need to participate more effectively?
- FOR CIS PROVIDERS: Few CIP participants were able to explain how they involved target users in the design and development of their CISs. In some cases, they then had to train people on how to use their services. How could you consider users’ needs in CISs design? Are there other service providers you could exchange your learning with so that you all improve your chances of success?
‘…THE PRIZE… REALLY ENHANCED OUR UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT CLIMATE CHANGE IS AND HOW CLIMATE INFORMATION IMPACTS PEOPLE’S LIVES.'
- CIP finalist