Boost for PlantVillage Warrior View as 24 Morans Join Project

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PlantVillage’s Warrior View Project has received a major boost after 24 Morans were recruited to join the Dream Team in northern Kenya in helping African pastoralists in drylands combat climate change threats.

The young men, drawn from Samburu, Isiolo, and Marsabit counties, received training on the use of the PlantVillage Nuru and data collection applications in a three-day exercise that concluded on Wednesday, April 5, 2023.

Boost for PlantVillage Warrior View as 24 Morans Join Project

The Morans, drawn from three pastoralist tribes—Rendille, Samburu, and Turkana—will be the eyes and foot soldiers of the organization at the grassroots level, with the aim of utilizing PlantVillage’s already existing artificial intelligence technology in devising modern climate change mitigation methods.

The Morans will utilize their skills and knowledge of animals, plants, and terrain to develop accurate maps of dryland landscapes across Africa using AI-powered smartphones connected to a global suite of satellites.

"We have had seamless training that lasted for three days, and we've gained much, especially using the PlantVillage Nuru app that allows us to take photos during data collection and in tree planting exercises," said Simon Kimogol, a Moran from Marsabit County.

The Morans, who were given smartphones and power banks, are also tasked with taking topography pictures of animals, plants, and soils, which they will send to experts, who will in turn advise on suitable animals and crops for the concerned areas.

"Warriors are the community's watchdogs and protectors. In this case, we will be liaising with the organization on relevant challenges affecting the community," said David Hosea, a Moran from Samburu County.

"I take this opportunity to thank PlantVillage for counting on us. This is an investment that will give back to society. I applaud the use of AI in eliminating weeds; the initiative will liberate our locals from this headache," said Jamal Muhamed from Isiolo County.

The $2 million project, funded by Google's AI for Social Good program, will run until December 2024.

"As the planet heats up, the dryland regions are the areas where we are seeing the greatest and most immediate impacts," said David Hughes, founder and director of PlantVillage, who is also the Huck Chair in Global Food Security and professor of entomology and biology at Penn State.

Wriiten by Dennis Avokoywa and Samuel Ondori.

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