In the Philippines where an average of 20 typhoons traverse the country’s path annually, coastal communities bear the brunt of the heavy rains, storm surges and strong winds.
Komunidad aims to empower affected communities in the province of Camarines Norte to become more prepared and resilient amid the face of climate risks as it partners with the Department of Information Communications and Technology under its Tech4ED or the Technology Empowerment for Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development program.
Through this project, the DICT and Komunidad, together with the Camarines Norte Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, can provide coastal towns with a gateway of information to environmental intelligence that can help them in disaster risk reduction.
The initiative falls under the Philippine government’s response where the governments and other stakeholders build “multi-purpose community public access points, providing affordable or free-of-charge access for their citizens to the various communication resources,” a document from the DICT read.
Komunidad is a software company that provides climate resilience solutions to industries and communities to manage climate risks through up-to-date and relevant environmental data and insights.
“The objective of the project is to have a digital inclusion that focuses on the climate resilience of Camarines Norte, specifically the coastal areas. Using the latest technologies in information technology, meteorology and data science, it’s now possible for vulnerable communities anywhere in the Philippines to have their own comprehensive climate resilience center that can be set up in just a few minutes without buying multiple systems and expensive monitoring equipment.”-Felix Ayque, Komunidad CEO
DICT, for its part, said: “Through this project, it is hoped that we can contribute to enhancing the nation’s resilience by taking a proactive stance where community members actively engage.”
With this initiative, coastal island communities in Camarines Norte are just among the latest local barangays that Komunidad would have helped
Building an information hub
Under the project, Komunidad will provide a comprehensive command center that provides simple dashboards and visualizations, and generates impact risk reports and SMS early warning sent to barangay leaders. This covers pre-disaster risk analysis (PDRA), typhoon monitoring and forecasting, weather forecast & nowcast, lightning strikes proximity alerting, thunderstorm/heavy rain early warning, high tide & low tide and other marine parameters. The agencies hope that these systems will then serve as the barangays’ go-to hub for risk reduction.
The Tech4ED Center will be built with proper ventilation and will be big enough to accommodate users and equipment in a 20 square-meter hub. It will be open from Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Komunidad, for its part, will conduct orientation training among center managers, which will include technical walkthroughs on how to use environmental intelligence software that Komunidad offers.
rojects such as the Tech4ED Center are hounded by the question of project sustainability, but the hub is hoped to generate funds through a partnership for the benefit of the coastal town community. This will involve the PDRRMO-Camarines Norte, DICT-Camarines Norte, Komunidad and the beneficiary Barangay Unit. While project sustainability of the initiative is one of the key challenges, the DICT has recommended also transforming the hub into a community platform where products can be sold and boost local tourism; allocating yearly budget for environmental intelligence, and establishing private-public partnership to secure steady fund generation.
Ayque believes that this project will also instill in the coastal communities a new perspective to be more proactive, rather than reactive, when it comes to disasters.
“Households will be more informed with regards to decisions on their safety, assets, livelihood within their specific locality. They will be able to decide better in terms of anticipated risks particularly towards their main source of livelihood which is agriculture and fisheries,” he added.
But Komunidad has bigger dreams and goals to pursue as they intend to expand local climate resilience resolutions within the most at-risk localities in the country, just like the coastal communities in Camarines Norte.
“We are happy to receive awards and grants from global organizations within this year,” Ayque said. “We have formed a team dedicated to these social impact activities to help many communities and at the same time create real world use cases and fine tune the solution along the way as it evolves.”