Scientist and NASA Program Lead
Catherine Nakalembe is the Program Director for NASA Harvest Africa, the space agency’s food security and agriculture program for Africa. She uses satellite remote sensing and machine learning to collect data to guide agricultural decision-making and improve the lives of smallholder farmers in Africa. She also provides support and coordination for NASA Harvest Africa’s activities in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Catherine’s work has led to the development of policies and programs to shield farmers against the impacts of food failure. It has led to the creation of food security and crop monitoring bulletins that incorporate satellite data in Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda. In addition, she designed a mechanism for a disaster risk financing program in Uganda that has supported more than 300,000 households in the country.
Catherine is also an associate research professor at the University of Maryland and a member of the NASA SERVIR Applied Sciences Team, which promotes applications of earth observations to help developing countries assess the environment for better planning and action.
In this episode, we speak to Catherine about the orbital technosphere, her work at NASA Harvest Africa, food security and the Anthropocene and the disaster risk financing program she designed in Uganda.