Local Conservation Groups learn from each other
Local Conservation Groups (LCGs) from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda that are involved in the implementation of the Lake Victoria Basin project had the opportunity to meet in Uganda on 10-13th November 2014. The main purpose of the visit was to learn from each other through sharing experiences and best practices in institutional management, networking, conservation issues and eco-businesses.
Two days were dedicated to field visits to the Site Support Groups (SSGs) of Lutembe Wetland Users Association and Mabamba Wetland Ecotourism Association, to learn about the conservation and income generating activities organised by the community and to discuss the challenges faced and ways of addressing them. Sites and projects visited included:
- Malaki Eco lodge, a private venture within Lutembe wetland which aims to operate in harmony with the surrounding landscape and vegetation;
- Entebbe Snake Park, a partner with Lutembe Wetland Users Association, that promotes the conservation of snakes and other reptiles;
- Confidence Eco Model Yard (CEMY) , an Eco-tourism company site that demonstrates how to live within a wetland while contributing to its conservation and improving the tourism status of Lutembe Bay;
- A solid waste management programme, spearheaded by CEMY, which engages in activities including separation of different forms of solid waste such as used clothes, glass, polythene and biodegradables. The community uses the biodegradable materials to make briquettes which are cheaper to use and more environmentally friendly than charcoal;
- Mabamba Wetland Ecotourism Association’s liquid and bar soap project;
- Crisps and bagiya making by members of Mabamba Wetland Ecotourism Association, which are sold to generate profits for the group; and
- A tree nursery, which is part of Mabamba Wetland Ecotourism Association’s objective of conserving and restoring Mabamba wetland for sustainability.
This visit was much appreciated by all participants, whose comments included:
“I learned from the visits that for a group to prosper there has to be mutual understanding amongst members. Despite the level of education, we must embrace each other” (Peris Odour, member of Yala Wetland Environmental Volunteers, Kenya).
“From the two SSGs visited, we learned that continued communication and reinforcing available networks with other partners working towards nature conservation is important. Therefore, we’ll try to replicate this in Ruyigi province and, if it is possible, with other provinces” (Nshimirimana Consolate member of Serukubeze, Burundi).
“As our overall goal is to use sustainably our wetland in a way that conserves biodiversity and ecosystem services, we learned much from our colleagues in Uganda and we took a decision to share our views with a large number of people, starting with those we work with in our SSGs, to ensure that every one becomes a motor of positive change in environmental conservationandprotection”
(Uwimana Rosine, member of Cooperative Sugira Musenyi, KOSUMU, Rwanda).
This visit was organised and facilitated by BirdLife International in collaboration with national Partners of Burundi (Association Burundaise pour la protection de la Nature), Kenya (Nature Kenya), Rwanda (Association pour la Conservation de la Nature au Rwanda) and Uganda (Nature Uganda), as part of a Aage V Jensen Charity Foundation funded project entitled “Conservation of the birds and biodiversity of the Lake Victoria Basin (the Greatest of Africa’s Great Lakes) through community-led action and sustainable development”
Story by Mercy Kariuki