The Health of People and the Environment in the Lake Victoria Basin (HoPE-LVB) project seeks to reduce threats to biodiversity conservation and ecosystem degradation while simultaneously increasing access to family planning and reproductive health services to improve maternal and child health in project communities in Uganda and Kenya.
Lake Victoria is the world's largest tropical lake and the largest lake in the African Great Lakes region. The lake supports the largest freshwater fishery in the world, producing 1 million tons of fish per year and employing 200,000 people in supporting the livelihoods of 4 million people. The major threats to the lake are deforestation, land use change, wetland degradation and discharge from urban areas, industries and farmlands.
Adaptive management is an ongoing natural resources management process of planning, doing, assessing, learning and adapting, while also applying what was learned to the next iteration of the natural resources management process. Adaptive management facilitates developing and refining a conservation strategy, making efficient management decisions and using research and monitoring to assess accomplishments and inform future iterations of the conservation strategy.
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is working with Pathfinder International, a global reproductive health organization, on an innovative project that simultaneously addresses reproductive health, livelihood and natural resource management needs in a holistic manner. This integrated approach imparts knowledge that is helping people build healthier families and manage the resources on which they depend in ways that will sustain them and local wildlife over the long-term.
In May 2017, the African Great Lakes Conference: Conservation and Development in a Changing Climate was held in Entebbe, Uganda. This conference sought to increase coordination, strengthen capacity, inform policy with science, and promote basin-scale ecosystem management in the region. Because all of the African Great Lakes cross borders, the benefits they offer and the challenges they face are best managed at a basin-wide level.
Lake Victoria, the largest African lake, is shared by Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Its fisheries are a source of livelihoods for a large population of the lake's basin through fishing, trade and associated activities. It also contributes to the economies of the three countries through fish exports. The declining trend of fish harvests and fish stock biomass, attributed mainly to increasing fishing effort and illegal fishing, threatens the sustainability of the lake's fisheries. The regional trade in immature fish backed by high-level corruption has exacerbated the decline.
Human-induced wetland fragmentation threatens the sustainability of communities' livelihoods and has caused an 80 percent decline in the population of Uganda's national bird, the Grey Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum). Using participatory approaches, the Cranes and Wetland Conservation project in the Lake Victoria basin has facilitated community participation in sustainable wetland utilisation using cranes as flagship species.
The 2017 African Great Lakes Conference, Entebbe, Uganda resolved to advance the African Great Lakes Information Platform (AGLI) (this platform) established by The Nature Conservancy. AGLI was created to promote research and collaboration and support decision-making to ensure the inter-generational sustainability of the lakes and their basins. AGLI will be hosted at the University of Nairobi and managed jointly with the African Center for Aquatic Research and Education.
Members of this project will host an applied, collaborative workshop which creates lake committees on each of the African Great Lakes. Each lake committee will consist of relevant freshwater experts to harmonize and prioritize research, guide regional research efforts, and facilitate communications between partner countries to positively affect freshwater policy and management using regular in-person meetings, the African Great Lakes Inform, and other relevant means.