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Catherine Nakalembe

Assistant Research Professor, University of Maryland - Department of Geographical Sciences

How I work with Harvest

Catherine Nakalembe is part of the University of Maryland Harvest Hub, providing support and coordination for Harvest activities in East Africa, working in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda and expansion in the region.


Dr. Nakalembe is an Assistant Research Professor at the University of Maryland. She is the NASA Harvest Africa Lead, a member of the NASA SERVIR Applied Sciences Team and serves as the Agriculture and Food Security Thematic Lead. She is a 2020 Africa Food Prize Laureate for her dedication to improving the lives of smallholder farmers by using satellite technology to harness data to guide agricultural decision-making. Her work in this area has helped prevent potentially disastrous impacts of crop failure. Her relentless efforts have also promoted the formulation of policies and programs that are directly impacting farmers against the impacts of food failure. Dr. Nakalembe was a 2020 UMD Research Excellence Honoree and 2019 was a recipient of the Inaugural GEO Individual Excellence Award. She was featured in the 2020 Women and GIS, Volume 2:  Stars of Spatial Science ESRI Press book. 

Catherine’s work led to the development and establishment of food security and crop monitoring bulletins that integrate satellite data including the Tanzania National Food Security Bulletin, the Uganda National Integrated Early Warning Bulletin, Kenya, Rwanda Crop Monitor reports, and the Eastern Africa Crop Monitor as well as designing the trigger mechanism of the disaster risk financing program in Uganda that has supported over 300,000 households in the region. She has broad interests ranging from agriculture remote sensing, food security to climate change and supports several capacity bundling activities, including working with Universities and supporting the Group on Earth Observations Global Agricultural Monitoring Initiative (GEOGLAM). Catherine pioneered the repurposing of drones from agricultural monitoring, mapping refugee resettlements for climate resilience in Uganda.

Dr. Nakalembe grew up in Kampala, Uganda where she earned a BSc. at Makerere University in Environmental Science. She earned an MSc. in Geography and Environmental Engineering from Johns Hopkins University and her Ph.D. in Geographical Science at the University of Maryland.

Personal website: Linkedin



PhD (Geographical Sciences, Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland College Park)

MS (Geography and Environmental Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland)

BS (Environmental Sciences, Makerere University, Kampala)

Catherine Nakalembe