River Nyando Wetlands Conservation Project
What the project is about
Whereas it is common knowledge that the Nyando River Basin is one of the most degraded of all the river basins in the Kenyan portion of the Lake Victoria Basin, minimum efforts have been made to develop a suitable Management Plan, let alone any sustained initiatives that would minimize the escalating degradation of these biodiversity-rich wetlands. The over-dependence of the local community on the wetlands resources, wide-scale human degradation, coupled with the recent lake water receding, has placed the wetlands in a more precarious footing in the area.
According to Kenya government statistics, over 70% of the population living around the Nyando River wetlands live below poverty level (<US$ 1.00), making them to over-exploit and degrade this fragile ecosystem. Further, the divergent communities, local institutions and stakeholders (governmental or otherwise) that surround the Nyando River Basin have varied perceptions on the symbiotic relationships between wetlands ecosystems and their daily activities. This Project will illuminate and avert these misconceptions, in a manner that will enhance sustainable management and wise use of the wetlands resources. By developing a community-based blue print on the Wetlands Management Plan, the Project will create synergy amongst all stakeholders and fully involve them in co-management of the wetlands and thereby improving the livelihoods of the local poor and ensuring “benefits for all”.
The Project provides suitable examples in which support from the UNDP will demonstrate appropriate management and delivering results in community development interventions that target both poverty alleviation amongst the poor communities and protection of fragile ecosystems in the Southern Lake Victoria Basin (LVB), Nyando River wetlands and the flood prone Kano/Nyakach plains.
UNDP is the UN’s global development network responsible for partnering with countries to develop and share solutions to development challenges. The UNDP provided seed money to KDC in March 2006, following which the Wetlands Project has realised many tangible milestones. This pilot initiative has generated much interest among the riparian communities and demonstrated successes that need to be replicated and up-scaled in other areas of the Nyanza Gulf such as the Kuja River basin and Oluch-Kimira wetlands in Rachuonyo while at the same time improving the capacity of the communities in the Nyando River wetlands to better manage wetlands, mitigate and adapt to floods and cope with adverse effects of Climate Change in the area. This has been made possible —and will continue to be realised--through the following interventions:
- Improving income generating activities among the wetlands communities of Nyando and the Southern Lake Basin;
- Rehabilitating new degraded Wetlands sites in the wider Southern Lake Basin;
- Mainstreaming Climate Change adaptation agenda among the Lakeshore wetlands communities;
- Integrating flood mitigation and adaptation activities in collaboration with the Lake Victoria South Water Resources Management Authority and J.I.C.A;
- Mainstreaming gender awareness in the rehabilitation and conservation of the wetlands.