Forecasts for AnTicipatory HUManitarian action (FATHUM)

Using codes distributed by SMS messages, affected people can access cash at money kiosks

FATHUM is developing understanding of flooding in Mozambique and Uganda so that forecasts can be used to make finance available before a flood occurs, supporting more effective humanitarian response and enabling longer-term preparedness to be built. The project is working to increase how far in advance floods can be forecast, and understand how flood risk and resilience has changed in Mozambique and Uganda.

Project partners



Role in SHEAR

  • Improving resilience in the most vulnerable communities in highly flood-prone areas of sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Providing new, physical scientific and social scientific knowledge with substantial research impact to maximise potential for development and capacity building.

Hazards in Mozambique and Uganda

Mozambique is located near the path of tropical cyclones and the Eastern African Plate, with several geological faults dissecting the country. It is therefore highly exposed to drought, flooding and earthquakes.

In Uganda, drought affects 12 per cent of the population and exacerbates the risk of flooding during periods of heavy rain as the dry earth is not able to absorb the water. Heavy rainfall and a lack of vegetative cover on slopes also contribute to the occurrence of landslides.


FATHUM is undertaking world-leading, co-produced interdisciplinary research to:

  • increase how far in advance floods can be forecast
  • understand how preparedness for disasters fits within the wider goal of building resilience
  • indentify different perspectives on the success and effectiveness of forecast-based financing
  • grow from initial, community-level pilot projects to a broader-scale and systemic approach


  • Considering the role of teleconnections in extended-range flood forecasting to address the limits of predictability for the multi-hazard drivers of flooding, and characterising the dominant sources of uncertainty for flood forecasting.
  • Looking at how local and indigenous knowledge that has advanced resilience to multi-hazards in the past, as well as how changes to the drivers of flood risk, have influenced the likelihood of floods.
  • Developing multi-stakeholder definitions and criteria for success in implementation of forecast-based financing.
  • Bringing together expertise and evidence to develop a framework for scaling up forecast-based financing within existing social protection, disaster risk management and humanitarian systems.


  • Using forecasts of natural hazards to initiate humanitarian preparedness actions, providing finance before a disaster occurs to enable timely and effective disaster response while still contributing to long-term resilience goals.
  • Developing understanding of types of flooding and flooding dynamics, and effective preparedness actions to respond to these risks.
  • Mapping the science-policy-practice interface to identify what promotes or inhibits the use of forecast information.