Community Mobilization for Wetland Protection and Conservation

When there is a natural resource in a commmunity, the members of that community tend to own it, and think of it as their own, as is the case with Dunga, Kusa, Koguta and the Yala swamp. Owning something, or rather presuming to own something, dictates that you have to look after it and ensure that it is well taken care of.

But many a times, especially in the case of natural resources and even more so in the ones which have no payment of ecosystem services policy, this is not the case. The community members do not recognize the function of conservation because they are only driven by harvesting and exploitation of the wetland resources for economic gain.

Even if this is so, there is an infinitesimal percentage of the community, which thinks along the line of conservation, the kind of people who can ones in a while stop and ask themselves, ‘If we as a community continue harvesting these resources unsustainably to the point of depletion, then what next?’ people who see sense in taking care of something that has been helping them feed their families and take their children to school for generations.

DSC04475It is this small group of people, this minute cohort, that we have targeted in these four wetland areas, to educate, train and make them vessels and pillars of communication on conservation, wise use and sustanability, to the rest of the community.

 

There are numerous economic activities in these wetland areas, so we have selected persons representing each of these common interest groups, to form a Village Environment Committee whose main aim is to enable village environment grass root governance. These common interest groups include Farmers, Youths, Traders, Fishermen, Savings and loaning groups, The disabled, Professionals, Spiritual leaders, Village elders, Mining, Local administration, Conservationists, Weavers.

Through this Village Environment Committee we have been able to see the wetlands from the community’s point of view, we conducted training and workshops that have educated them on the importance of conserving their wetlands and we have also been able to come up with a joint action plan to enable the protection of the wetland from further depletion.

Enhancement of Stakeholder Participation

Wetlands are a common resource and this translates to them having a number of stakeholders. For any changes intended on the wetlands to be made successfully and sustainable, it is paramount to advocate for support from the key stakeholders.

12322672_10208459709432953_5024325697916344647_oThey may also prove useful in giving in kind support during the implementation of the outlined strategies and their respective activities, for this reason Ecofinder Kenya will therefore work to shine light on the Wetlands to the stakeholders at a local, regional and national level.

 

The main aim here will be to outline the environmental services that the said wetlands provide, the challenges that they face, the actions that should be taken to curb this challenges, the Village level efforts and to also ensure that they are aware of how they can be of help to ensure the success of those efforts.

The activities that the project team intends to engage in to actualize this strategy will include:

  • Establishing a lake Victoria village Wetlands forum
  • holding Quarterly meetings of the wetland forums
  • working together with personnel of the institutional stakeholders during the implementation process of the project
  • developing joint action plans with the participants in the wetland forums in all the wetland areas

Wetland Restoration and Protection

The wetland ecosystem has been destructed due to the communities’ over exploitation of them for their resources. This has had a tremendous effect on the floral and faunal diversity of the wetlands of the Winam Gulf  of Lake Victoria.

For the communities to get to the point where they will be harvesting sustainably without leaving any negative giant footprints in the wetlands, the affected areas have to be restored first.

This will only be made possibly if we first have a comprehensive snapshot of the whole wetland, in terms of  the parts that are used for economic purposes, and to which extent those areas have been exploited, the conservation and buffer zones.

This strategy will thus involves a collection of activities that attempts to restore the wetland to near its original state. The activities that will be carried out here will include:

  • Undertaking wetland inventories in all the wetland areas
  • Leading workshops aimed at exploring options for community protection of the wetlands
  • Conducting participatory wetland demarcation and zonation exercises
  • Developing joint wetland village wise use by laws
  • Providing technical support and training to the community members working to restore the wetlands.

 

Facilitation of Alternative Livelihoods

From interaction with the communities and a little bit of citizen science, we have seen that there is over dependence of the wetland resources by the communities living in proximity to the wetland areas.

This has majorly been brought about DSC00967by over population and high poverty rates that leave the locals thinking that the only option they have is to encroach into the wetlands. Their belief that the wetland areas are so much more productive has also seen them doing a lot of wetland farming and in the process leading to the destruction of the wetland ecosystem.

This strategy will therefore attempt try and inform the members of the community of the alternative sources of livelihood that they can engage in and help reduce the pressure on wetlands.

The activities that will be carried out under this strategy will include:

  • Conducting workshops that will be aimed at helping would be entrepreneurs to apply sustainability concepts to their business ideas.
  • Providing business incubation support and entrepreneurship training to individual or groups of would be entrepreneurs in developing Nature based enterprises
  • Leading workshops on eco-san toilets and compost based agriculture, bio-gas production and use of solar lights and efficient cook stoves
  • Assisting interested households to acquire materials for construction and installing eco-san toilets, bio-gas digesters, solar lamps and efficient cook stoves.
  • Helping the community members who choose to adopt the systems to integrate compost into their agricultural practices.

 

Community Education

Knowledge is the basis of action and valid information about the wetlands properly communicated to local residents can build interest in contributing to wetlands conservation.

Members o communities living in proximity to wetland areas are known to only view wetlands as a source of income for them and at times as a nuisance because of the conflicts from the fauna that live in the wetlands.

For instance, in the wetlands of the Winam gulf, there are hippos which on occasion cross over and destroy farms and human property. Though this can also be attributed to the fact that the locals encroach a lot into the wetland areas, they fail to factor that in.

In order for Ecofinder Kenya Ecofinder Creative Players Puppetry for Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Climate Changeto change this perspective of the community, inviting a few people from the community’s common interest group to represent the whole community is not going to cut it. Therefore we will adopted experiential learning methods to bring the lessons of the wetland assessment to the community at large.

The activities that will be carried out under this strategy will include;

  • leading workshops about ecology and sustainable use of wetlands in communities that are adjacent to each of the wetlands.
  • presenting informational theatre and puppetry in central places in the wetland communities.
  • production of educational local radio broadcasts in a bid to reach a wider audience
  • Arranging site visits of livelihood systems that are already in use in other areas and leading workshops that will be focused on practical demonstrations of these livelihood systems in all the communities.

 

Participatory Wetlands Assessment

The communities living in proximity to these wetlands depend on wetland resources to enable them sustain their day to day lives, and cater for their family provisions. This fact has seen these wetlands become over exploited on numerous occasions since the community members are both ignorant of the value of conservation and wise use, they don’t have all the information they need, and if they do, they have no resources or idea of how to put them into action. Some people are also seen to simply not care about the negative impacts that their exploitation has on the wetlands.

Even with all these facts clearly laid out, the primary priority of the people living in wetland areas, has always been to harvest and use the products to generate income, conservation on the other hand becomes secondary.

Ecofider Kenya therefore  seeks to attempt to change this perception and line of thinking, to one which gives primary priority to conservation and wise use. This will help ensure continued sustainability on both the enterprise and environment fronts.

IDSC00399 - Copyn order for us to achieve this, we will adopt this strategy as a breaking point into the community. It will aimed at ensuring that the participants from the community will get to know their wetlands and begin seeing them from a new perspective.

 

The activities we will undertake to see this strategy through are set to include:

  •  Involving local people in gathering local knowledge of past uses and conditions in the wetlands
  •  Undertaking community mobilization in all the wetland areas,
  • conducting surveys of current wetland uses, conditions and issues,
  • Leading exploratory walks and boat trips through wetlands with interested local residents,
  • Conducting participatory mapping exercises for each wetland area, and producing large and small scale maps of each of the wetland areas
  • Gathering different members of the community on the basis of the common interest groups that they are classified under called village Environment Committee whose main aim will be to enable grass root environment governance.

 

 

 

Lake Victoria Winam Gulf Wetlands Sustainability Project

Enabling Rural Riparian Communities to Conserve and Benefit from Wetlands in the Winam Gulf, Lake Victoria, Kenya

Poverty and population growth are two attributes that have been seen to cause pressure to the society as a whole. In communities living in proximity to wetland areas these have brought about the over dependence of people on the resources from the wetlands. These resources are obtained free of charge and therefore setting up an entrepreneurial venture that is based on them has proven to be cost efficient

The local communities therefore are very much dependent on these DSC01405wetlands for their livelihoods. In the wetlands of Kusa Koguta Dunga and the Yala Swamp  in the Winam Gulf of Kenyan Lake Victoria are the project sites and have all been designated as Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) by Bird Life International, but have no legal protected status. Казино Кристалл Гейминг теперь доступно всем абсолютно бесплатно по ссылке http://cristal-gaming.com/. Казино понравится как новичкам, так и довольно опытным игрокам. Being home to the charismatic hippo and rare bird species, these wetlands have tremendous potential for supporting numerous locally run ecotourism enterprises. There are also abundant resources for instance papyrus reeds, fish and ambatch treess among others which are being harvested and the community members use them to support their livelihoods.

There is also a common belief in all these wetlands that the land in the wetlands is so much more productive than the pieces of land that the community members have away from the wetlands. For this reason, there is a lot of encroachment in the wetland especially for farming purposes. This encroachment has greatly affected the flora and fauna that dwell in the wetland ecosystem.

Ecofinder Kenya and the Centre for Rural Empowerment and the Environment (CREE) www.conservationforpeople.org , are implementing partners currently running a three year project that seeks to enable rural riparian communities to conserve and benefit from wetlands in the Winam Gulf, Lake Victoria funded by the MacArthur Foundation.DSC06508

Project Goal

To ensure the long-term integrity and health of the Dunga, Kusa, Yala and Koguta Swamps, so they can continue to provide valuable environmental services. Ultimately, it is anticipated that the conservation and sustainable use of these wetlands will form the basis for a more sustainable co-evolved path forward for people and nature in the Winam Gulf, and serve as a model of locally driven change that can be replicated in wetland areas throughout Lake Victoria and beyond.

Core project strategies

In order for Ecofinder Kenya to properly implement the proposed project, the following strategies have been put in place to ensure that the project goal is achieved.

Project intervention Description
Participatory Wetland Assessment bringing forth Exposure and exploration, which are the basis of understanding of the wetlands and the ways in which they can and do contribute to human well being.
Community Education Bringing lessons of wetland assessment and conservation to the community at large.
Facilitation of alternative livelihoods Assist local residents to begin exploiting the wetlands in sustainable ways.
Wetland restoration and protection Empowering village-level organizations to collectively define and implement robust mechanisms for protecting the wetlands on a permanent basis and ensuring that the project builds an enduring pattern of change.
Enhancement of stakeholder participation Educating actors at the local, regional and national levels about the wetlands and the environmental services they provide through Lake Victoria Village Wetlands Forum to ensure that such actors are aware of village-level efforts and are cognizant of what they can do to help ensure their success.

Dunga Beach Ecology School Initiative

The Initiative make your writings shine fast is a joint collaboration of Ecofinder Kenya and Dunga Eco tourism and Environmental Youth Group (DECTA) and aims at promoting active outdoor environmental education to young people in schools in a more entertaining and inspiring way.

A naturalists taking students through ecology education

Vision

To be leaders in providing excellent outdoor ecology education to young people in Kenya and in the East Africa region.

Mission

To promote conservation education and public awareness through active learning for enhanced sustainable  natural resources conservation and development.

Core Values

  • Environmental Friendliness
  • Professionalism
  • Quality service
  • Sustainability
  • Community Service
  • Integrity
  • Team work

About the school      

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For Bookings or any queries, please contact us on Tel: +254 728 791451, +254 788 863214 or Email: [email protected]

 

 

 

Green Energy for Sustainable Communities

Ecofinder Kenya in collaboration with its partners paper glitter Small Solutions-Germany and Paradigm Kenya are reaching out to the rural and Peri -urban areas of East Africa to provide affordable access to clean and safe energy for cooking, lighting and mobile charging. Ecofinder Kenya reaches out to the wetland and island villages along Lake Victoria including; Dunga, Yala, Kusa and Koguta and Mageta Island. The traditional energy sources used by these communities  for lighting and cooking are characterized by the inefficient and dirty consumption of large amounts of biomass fuels such as fuel wood, dung and kerosene oil. These results into numerous detrimental effects including environmental degradation, open fire accidents, and respiratory diseases predominantly among women and children. The World Health Organization estimates that indoor air pollution is responsible for over 1.6. million premature deaths a year due to respiratory diseases.

Kajulu Hills

According to the World Bank statistics, there are an estimated 1.6 billion individuals in the world without access to modern energy services including electricity. In rural and Peri-urban areas of East Africa, approximately 80% of the population or 18.8 million households earning less than $3 per day spend up to 50% of their monthly income on traditional energy sources and energy related services for basic household lighting and cooking needs.

Thus the partnership promotes simple energy technologies which involves the sun king  and Sun King Pro solar lanterns for lighting and mobile charging , floating and the fixed dome biogas providing clean energy for cooking and lighting and energy saving stoves for cooking which uses less firewood with up to 60% reduced smoke. The program involves the local entrepreneurs, women groups, youth groups and village councils and Green energy entrepreneurs and offers capacity building trainings on business development activities and sensitization on renewable energy for environmental sustainability.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plans are underway to establish Green Energy Kiosks at every village to act as a hub for local supply through rent-to-own model and also for finding other related energy information. In addition, research is still being carried out on the possibility of inventing solar lanterns with appropriate amount of light intensity needed for night fishing so as to discourage the use of pressure lamps using large amounts of kerosene by the fisherman around Lake Victoria.

Night fishing

 

Water, Sanitation and Food Project

Wetland Conservation and Food Security
Wetland Conservation and Food Security

Lake Victoria wetland and island communities union sample face food insecurity and poor accessibility to water and sanitation services. This intervention aims to enable food security and accessibility to water and sanitation to poorest of the poor.

The Project Goal

  1. To promote conservation of Lake Victoria papyrus wetlands and islands  through sustainable accessibility to food, water and sanitation.

The Project Specific Objectives

  1. To facilitate sustainable food production through productive ecological sanitation among Lake Victoria Wetland and Island Communities.
  2. To improve community sanitation through productive ecological sanitation.
  3. To improve accessibility to water for household use and production through appropriate water harvesting and treatment technologies.
  4. To advocate for Lake Victoria Wetlands and Island Conservation through sustainable land-use practices

Interventions

  1. Training  on modern farming techniques.
  2. Facilitation of Appropriate Water Harvesting and Irrigation Technologies.
  3. Construction of Ecosan or Compost Toilet for Organic Fertilizers and Sanitation.
  4. Protection of Village Water Springs.
  5. Running of Village Agroforestry Learning and Resource Centre (VALREC) for Promotion of Best Agroforestry Practices