Ufuoma Ovienmhada and Danielle Wood Co-Author "Inclusive Design of Earth Observation Decision Support Systems for Environmental Governance"




Ufuoma Ovienmhada and Danielle Wood, along with their colleague of Green Keeper Africa, Fohla Mouftaou, published a peer reviewed journal paper with the journal Frontiers in Climate.

Abstract: "Inclusive Design of Earth Observation Decision Support Systems for Environmental Governance: A Case Study of Lake Nokoué"

Earth Observation (EO) data can enhance understanding of human-environmental systems for the creation of climate data services, or Decision Support Systems (DSS), to improve monitoring, prediction and mitigation of climate harm. However, EO data is not always incorporated into the workflow for decision-makers for a multitude of reasons including awareness, accessibility and collaboration models. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate a collaborative model that addresses historical power imbalances between communities. This paper highlights a case study of a climate harm mitigation DSS collaboration between the Space Enabled research group at the MIT Media Lab and Green Keeper Africa (GKA), an enterprise located in Benin. GKA addresses the management of an invasive plant species that threatens ecosystem health and economic activities on Lake Nokoué. They do this through a social entrepreneurship business model that aims to advance both economic empowerment and environmental health. In demonstrating a Space Enabled-GKA collaboration model that advances GKA's business aims, this study first considers several popular service and technology design methods and offer critiques of each method in terms of their ability to address inclusivity in complex systems. These critiques lead to the selection of the Systems Architecture Framework (SAF) as the technology design method for the case study. In the remainder of the paper, the SAF is applied to the case study to demonstrate how the framework coproduces knowledge that would inform a DSS with Earth Observation data. The paper offers several practical considerations and values related to epistemology, data collection, prioritization and methodology for performing inclusive design of climate data services.


Ufuoma Ovienmhada

Ufuoma Ovienmhada is a third-year graduate student conducting research with the Space Enabled research group. She graduated from Stanford University in 2018 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. Ufuoma has worked in the IRIS lab for sustainable design and at Public Lab, an organization that develops community science tools and practices for environmental exploration. She has also worked at an Ivorian company called Somated, as part of the Stanford Seed program to support entrepreneurship in emerging economies. 

Also interested in education, Ufuoma has worked with several STEM initiatives for underrepresented groups—most notably StreetCode Academy of Palo Alto as a Lead Curriculum Facilitator. 

Ufuoma's thesis focuses on  applications of space technology for invasive species and water management  in West Africa.


Fohla Mouftaou / Green Keeper Africa

Dr. Fohla Mouftaou is a Beninese pediatrician, Founder of Green Keeper Africa (GKA) and he is also an entrepreneur passionate about the preservation of the environment. Water hyacinth is an invasive plant in many African countries that affects lakes, rivers and agricultural fields. It is an environmental and social threat that affects farming and fishing activities and reduces people's livelihoods. Dr. Fohla decided to turn this environmental threat into a business opportunity. Its innovation, GKSORB, is a 100% organic and biodegradable fiber made from water hyacinth. This innovation has the potential to absorb up to 17 times its weight and can be used as an oil separator or as a cleaning product for surfaces contaminated with various pollutants such as oil, acids and paints. The making of GKSORB is based on a community employment program that involves nearly 700 people living in the vicinity of lakes often affected by water hyacinth.


Koji Furukawa

Professor Danielle Wood serves as an Assistant Professor in Media Arts & Sciences and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Within the MIT Media Lab, Prof. Wood leads the Space Enabled research group which seeks to advance justice in Earth's complex systems using designs enabled by space. Prof. Wood is a scholar of societal development with a background that includes satellite design, earth science applications, systems engineering, and technology policy. In her research, Prof. Wood applies these skills to design innovative systems that harness space technology to address development challenges around the world. Prior to serving as faculty at MIT, Professor Wood held positions at NASA Headquarters, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Aerospace Corporation, Johns Hopkins University, and the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs. Prof. Wood studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she earned a PhD in engineering systems, SM in aeronautics and astronautics, SM in technology policy, and SB in aerospace engineering.

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