Reflecting on the added value of a population, health, and environment (PHE) approach, this technical brief discusses implementation experience stemming from phase one of the Health of People and Environment-Lake Victoria Basin (HoPE-LVB) project.
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.
Communities in and around the Lake Victoria Basin experience a number of interconnected challenges, including dependence on diminishing natural resources, persistent poverty, food insecurity, poor sexual and reproductive health outcomes and inaccessible health services. At the same time, the ecosystem itself is being overused and destroyed.
The HoPE-LVB: Gender Equality project works to promote gender equality in the Lake Victoria basin by training women and young mothers on how to integrate health and conservation practices and facilitating community dialogue sessions around the intersection of gender, sexual and reproductive health and the environment. Their work is empowering women and helps to bridge gender gaps and encourage input and support from all the members of the community.
Lake Victoria is the second largest freshwater lake in the world, boasting the world’s largest freshwater fishery. Over time, unsustainable fishing and farming practices, as well as increased demand for resources from rapidly growing population, has overwhelmed fisheries that have traditionally supported the basin. A new approach to conservation in the basin—to save families as well as the fish and their habitats—is the Health of People and Environment in the Lake Victoria Basin: Beach Management Units project's work with Beach Management Units.
The Health of People and the Environment in the Lake Victoria Basin (HoPE-LVB) project used stakeholder engagement, education and a series of community meetings to allow communities to identify the issues most important to them and identify potential solutions. From there, the communities were able to work with local officials to draft and amend a set of by-laws around these issues that everyone in the community could agree upon.
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.
The GEF Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP) supported 265 communities and civil society organizations in 83 countries to avoid or reduce 167,199 tons of waste from entering waterbodies and supported the sustainable management of 164,169 hectares of marine and coastal areas and fishing grounds, and 264,822 hectares of river and lake basins through community interventions.
The UNDP-UNEP Poverty Environment Initiative worked with the Government of Malawi to create revised policies for fisheries and forestry in order to produce better management of resources and encourage sustainable livelihoods. The project encouraged the government to engage stakeholders from various community groups in drafting the policies, which allowed local community leaders to provide a voice and offer their unique insights on how the policies should be shaped.
In 2015, as part of the ongoing cross-border efforts, Burundians and Congolese came together to share experiences and find solutions to fish management on Lake Tanganyika.
To protect the Bururi Forest Nature Reserve, a consortium of organizations came together to raise awareness and provide income generating activities to the local community.
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.