Our Mission

Across Africa and the world—our mission is to provide better data and risk management tools to optimize agricultural development decisions with the needs of the human beings they serve and the ecosystems upon which they depend.

Better data. Better decisions. Sustaining People, Nature, Agriculture.


The Gold Standard of Environmental Monitoring Systems


By 2050, Earth will be home to more than 9 billion people and by the century’s end that number will be nearly 11 billion people.  

To meet the food security and nutrition challenges of today— with nearly 1 billion chronically hungry people worldwide— and tomorrow, will require an estimated 70 -100% increase in food production. Millions of small-holder farmers will need to play an important role in meeting this need, particularly across Africa.

Unfortunately, agricultural activities are degrading ecosystems – and the benefits they provide for people – faster now than ever before. We need to find new ways of growing food that can simultaneously deliver food security, environmental sustainability and economic opportunity.

To achieve this farmers need better information to help them increase agricultural productivity while avoiding unintended consequences for soil quality, water availability, and other benefits from healthy ecosystems.

Technology and information have been essential to the transformation of every imaginable sector of human endeavor. Yet today, in the face of some of the world’s most pressing development and environmental challenges, the right data and technology, applied at the right scales, has not been available.

There is an urgent need for better data and risk management approaches to guide sustainable agricultural development and ensure healthy and resilient ecosystems and livelihoods.


Vital Signs Launches in Africa 

By providing near real-time data and diagnostic tools to better inform agricultural decisions and monitor outcomes, Vital Signs is filling a critical unmet need for integrative measurements of agriculture, ecosystem services and human well-being.

Importantly, these measurements are made at all scales that are relevant to agricultural decision making—from a household to a farm, a landscape, and at the scale of a nation, a continent, and the globe.

Vital Signs is creating a “gold standard” environmental monitoring system and a global public good that is open and accessible to everyone.

Vital Signs was designed in Tanzania and demonstrated in Tanzania, Ghana and Rwanda with initial funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation. The monitoring system is now poised to scale to ten countries in Sub-Saharan Africa in the next two years. 

Vital Signs is led by Conservation International (CI) in partnership with the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG), the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Ghana, the Africa Innovations Institute (AfrII) in Uganda, and the Wildlife Conservation Society in Rwanda.