The #WeatherWiser campaign, started by the WeatherPhilippines Foundation in 2012, is a flagship effort that aims to strengthen the disaster risk response capability of Filipinos through awareness.
Aiming to change the approach disasters from being costly and reactive to a more proactive and collaborative model, WeatherPhilippines partners with different stakeholders and communities. The foundation enables and empowers these communities to create proactive disaster initiatives through the provision of free and localized weather information.
In order to tap wider network of communities, WeatherPhilippines partnered with Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI), a pioneer in managing social development programs of national and local scales and pursuing best practice projects that respond to the needs of their worksites and host communities. The collaboration, which started in 2015, benefits PSFI communities that need safety awareness, consciousness, and preparedness during times of emergencies. These include areas of Shell operations in Palawan – their heliport and depot, and their project beneficiary communities.
Prior to the partnership, PSFI has identified that the lack of weather monitoring equipment throughout the island of Palawan poses difficulty in the accurate forecast of localized weather disturbances that have the potential to turn into emergency situations.
“Weather information vastly affects daily lives, and that is why our partners widely acknowledge this and express extreme gratitude for the Automated Weather Stations (AWS) that PSFI and WeatherPhilippines’ partnership has brought to their municipality,” shares PSFI Project Officer Alexa Jeanne Lasch. Currently, PSFI has the Response to Communities Under Emergencies (RESCUE) program, which handles the installations and utilization of WeatherPhilippines’ AWS units.
Aside from the AWS installed in PSFI’s host communities, WeatherPhilippines also provides Weather 101 and Tropical Cyclone 101 training sessions to PSFI stakeholders. These trainings aim to develop a more systematic decision-making process with the use of weather knowledge and information among its participants. The sessions cover areas such as weather terminologies, causes and effects of weather disturbances, and basics of Philippines tropical cyclones.
Aside from disaster risk purposes, PSFI also uses WeatherPhilippines data in assisting the needs of the agricultural communities they are supporting. With the availability of highly localized weather information, they are able to track weather for improved schedule of planting, harvesting, and other agricultural activities. Furthermore, they use weather knowledge in creating the demo farms of their Integrated Support to Indigenous Peoples (ISIP) and Turismo at Negosyo Dulot ng Ingat Kalikasan (TANDIKAN) programs.
Known for their extensive campaigns about safety in the workplace, Shell also uses weather data as one of the considerations in their preemptive measures. “In the depot operations, we utilize the use of available data and technology from WeatherPhilippines to properly plan out depot activities, deliveries, and maintenance work,” said Lasch. She added that when they are traveling, especially to different island communities in Palawan, they make sure that they have checked the WeatherPhilippines website, www.weatherph.org, to stay ahead of the weather.
PSFI plans to continue utilizing weather knowledge for sustainable development among their internal and external stakeholders. Aside from exploring more usages of weather information coming from AWS units installed in their areas, PSFI will be working with WeatherPhilippines in cascading a Weather for Agriculture program. The two foundations will be working towards linking the farmers and agricultural small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to weather technology. The highly localized weather data will help farmer mitigate crop losses during extreme weather conditions and increase agricultural productivity through technical capabilities.
Moreover, PSFI seeks to continuously embed weather consciousness behavior among all of their staff, partners, and beneficiary communities. “In the future, we are visualizing the partnership to grow into something bigger – PSFI and WeatherPhilippines forming more weather-conscious citizenry, especially in Palawan,” said Lasch.