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Catherine Nakalembe Awarded Highest Civilian Award of Uganda for Her Work Improving Food Security

Catherine Nakalembe in the field

Catherine Nakalembe standing on a road surrounded by croplandThe Lead of NASA Harvest’s Africa Program, Dr. Catherine Nakalembe was recently awarded the Golden Jubilee Medal, the highest Civilian Honor available to citizens of Uganda. Combining remote sensing data and machine learning methods with local, on-the-ground collaboration, Dr. Nakalembe is leading efforts in revolutionizing agriculture and improving food security across a number of African countries. 



As Lead of NASA Harvest’s Africa Program, Dr. Nakalembe runs a number of projects across the continent. She is the Principle Investigator on the Helmets Labeling Crops, a project using local citizens and computer vision models to create training data labels across Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Mali. Dr. Nakalembe has also worked with the governments of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda to develop national level Crop Monitors, a remote sensing based agricultural monitoring system that provides regular updates on crop conditions throughout each country.





The Golden Jubilee Medal is not the first recognition of her efforts in improving food security across Africa. In 2019, Dr. Nakalembe was awarded the Group on Earth Observations’ (GEO) inaugural Individual Excellence Award and in the following year, she was named a 2020 Africa Food Prize laureate. The Golden Jubilee Medal was presented to Dr. Nakalembe’s parents by the President of Uganda, His Excellency Yoweri Museveni during a ceremony in Kampala, Uganda. “It’s an honor to be recognized this way,” said Dr. Nakalembe. “I hope this achievement will encourage others with similar backgrounds to pursue their goals and know that there’s a space for them in this field and other fields to excel and be recognized.”


News Date
Feb 7, 2022
Catherine Nakalembe, Keelin Haynes