Across generations, ethnic tribes, religions and nationalities, the human race continues to derive vital lessons from ancient stories or prophesies, some of which use animals’ characters. An example of such a prophecy is the ‘Prophecy of the Condor and the Eagle’ whose nativity can be traced to South American communities.
The existence of lakes owes much to the presence of catchment areas or water towers, from where they derive some or a majority of their waters. One such example of a catchment area is the Mount Elgon catchment, a transboundary catchment situated at the border between Kenya and Uganda. On the Kenyan side, the catchment consists of a 73,705 hectares forest managed by Kenya Forest Service, a 17,200 hectares nature reserve managed by the Bungoma County Government and a 16,916 hectares national park under the custody of Kenya Wildlife Service (Nabutola et al., 2022).
In 2012, RIPPLE Africa worked with local community members and district authorities to develop local bylaws to protect a 40km stretch of lakeshore along Lake Malawi in Nkhata Bay District, Malawi, Africa. To support, advocate, and regulate these fish conservation bylaws, RIPPLE Africa has set up local Fish Conservation Committees whose members include fishers and non-fishers. The Committees, together with the District Fisheries Department, manage the local permit system, and monitor and regulate illegal activity in each Committee’s designated area.
The Nakasongola District Climate Change Pilot Project documented and shared indigenous knowledge on climate change and contributed to the ongoing debates on how best to mitigate and adapt to climate change in the Nakasongola district in Uganda, while also informing practitioners' understanding of climate change causes, manifestations and effects at local levels. By creating awareness among local landowners and farmers on the value of indigenous tree species adapted to the harsh environment, the project decreased land clearing and persuaded farmers to preserve trees.
Musambwa Islands are some of the smallest islands located in Lake Victoria in the Rakai District. Despite their size, they support large populations of African breeding birds like the Grey Headed Gull, Greater Cormorant, Little Egret and the Long-tailed Cormorant. Due to their importance to birds of global significance, the islands have been recognized as an Important Bird Area. The islands are known to be the largest breeding site in Africa for Grey Headed Gulls.
The Mara River basin covers a surface of 13,325 km2, of which approximately 65 percent is located in Kenya and 35 percent in Tanzania. From its sources in the Mau Escarpment, the river flows for about 400 km and drains into Lake Victoria. The basin is among the most important river basins in East Africa as it traverses the world-famous Maasai Mara Serengeti ecosystem recently declared one of the new seven natural wonders of the world.
Luzira Wetland (the lower part of Nakivubo Swamp) is a mixed papyrus-miscanthus swamp that is part of the greater network of wetlands in the Lake Victoria Basin. Although not a designated site of international importance under The Ramsar Convention, the wetland has been proposed for protection as a conservation area because of its water purification role. The wetland constitutes a critical buffer zone between the run-off from Kampala City and Lake Victoria the biggest water body in Africa.
The Lake Edward and Lake Albert Basin (LEAB) area in DRC and Uganda is endowed with rich surface water fisheries resources that are important for economic growth and social development in the region. More than 12 million people live in this basin, and 73 percent of them (8.7 million people) depend on fisheries for their livelihoods.
Lake Victoria Basin covers an area of 250,000 km2 with the lake taking 68,000 km2. The basin has a population of 35 - 40 million people, with rapidly growing secondary towns, which has resulted in unplanned, sponteneous and unsustainable growth, run-down and non-existent basic infrastructure and services and significant negative impacts on the environment and fragile ecosystem of the lake.
The Kagera Basin, which lies within the four countries of Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania, is characterized by low-production subsistence agriculture and widespread poverty. Severe land degradation in the area is linked to loss of soil fertility caused by population pressure and primitive farming methods. The basin countries rank among the world's poorest countries. Land cover depletion including deforestation is wide-spread with almost total absence of reforestation activities.
Dansk Ornitologisk Forening (DOF) and BirdLife partners in the South (Nature Kenya, Nature Uganda and Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN)), are running a three-year project that began in 2015. The project places a strong emphasis on promoting equality of women and their access to programme benefits and participation, addressing inclusion of indigenous and other marginalised groups, networking and strengthened influence of local civil society groups_and advocacy within the national contexts of programme partner countries.
Kajulu and Nyando (both upstream) and Dunga (downstream) wetlands are located in Kisumu County. Upstream land is largely privately owned and mainly used for agriculture, energy needs and water. Deforestation and water diversion upstream worsen soil loss, leading to siltation and agro-chemical deposits downstream, which then leads to eutrophication of wetland ecosystems, reduced rainfall and reduced water flow to downstream swamps. All of this combines to cause a loss of wetland biodiversity, low crop output hence worsening food insecurity situation.
Farm Forestry (FF) presents opportunities for the improvement of rural livelihoods and biodiversity conservation in Uganda. In a recently implemented project (Integrating FF and Biodiversity Conservation), a multiplicity of grown trees presented great potential, but also constraints when it came to sustaining FF for biodiversity conservation_projects. The constraints can present major setbacks if actual values of crops and trees components on people's farm lands do not explicitly translate into economic values.
BirdLife Partners from Kenya (NatureKenya), Uganda (NatureUganda), Rwanda (Association pour la Conservation de la Nature au Rwanda) and Burundi (Association Burundaise pour la Protection des Oiseaux) are implementing a project in the Lake Victoria Basin which aims to empower local organizations so that they are better equipped to address the linked challenges of poverty and biodiversity loss. Lake Victoria is Africa's largest lake, and the largest tropical lake in the world. The swamps, forests and islands in and around Lake Victoria are important for a diversity of wildlife.
Yala wetland is a biodiversity rich and diverse ecosystem comprised of the Yala River, Yala swamp and numerous satellite lakes which serve as habitat for birds, haplochromines and cichlid fish species that long disappeared in Lake Victoria and numerous other species. The wetland faces anthropogenic threats such as reclamation of wetlands for farming, burning and over-harvesting for papyrus crafts and cooking fuel, fishing grounds, accessibility paths and sand harvesting.
In 2005, work began on_assessing the presence and habitat requirements of spotted-necked otters (Lutra maculicollis) in Kenya and Tanzania. During the project team's trip to Kenya they visited a school conservation club presenting information on the otters and involving students in a field trip experience. As a result of this visit, a small group of teachers formed the Kisumu Science Teachers Lake Victoria Otter and Wetlands Conservation Development Group (KISTOC).
Since the launch of the Health of People and the Environment in the Lake Victoria Basin (HoPE-LVB) project, staff and partners have engaged key district, national and regional health and environment officials in Kenya and Uganda. In this project, HoPE-LVB partners with community-level champions to spread the word about the benefits of the PHE approach. Champions were selected by the communities themselves to speak publicly about the project and PHE and promote the integrated approach to local governments and other development projects.
Malagarasi-Muyovozi Ramsar Site is the largest wetland ecosystem in Tanzania. Since its establishment in 2000, there have been several studies on the biodiversity of the area. Some of these studies have noted a high deforestation rate and overdependence on wetland resources. Unfortunately, findings and recommendations of previous studies have not been shared with the communities.