CONSERVING LAKE VICTORIA PROJECT

EWAD has, since 2006, been implementing the Integrated Community Environmental Conservation   Project, whose major objective is to protect the International Waters of Lake Victoria through the implementation of the Rio-Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAS) which are:

  • Convention on Biological Diversity
  • United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; and
  • Issues related to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and the protection and management of regional and international waters.

The main objectives are

“to reduce bio-diversity loss, Pollution of international waters of Lake Victoria, and Land degradation and address some effects of climate change.”

To achieve this objective, EWAD has implemented the following solutions:

Solving the problems of pollution of the international waters of Lake Victoria by the human waste of the fishing communities.

Because of the high water table the construction of Pit latrines is difficult. Furthermore the people in this area are affected by high rate of poverty and cannot afford construction of the modern ecological sanitation toilets yet there is continuous pollution of the international waters. In response to this challenge, EWAD, with funding support spearheaded the successful construction of three Ecological Sanitation (Eco-San) toilets at the Kigungu Main landing site, Missoli landing site and Arur village.
In 2006, EWAD embarked on reclamation of the abandoned sand mines of Kigungu, promoting tree planting for habitat restoration. Over 35 acres of land/ (sand) mines were levelled and backfilled in the reclamation process and over 300,000 trees planted.

Two modern, energy-saving fish smoking kilns were also constructed to reduce on the cutting of trees while promoting poverty reduction.

From 2009, EWAD embarked on further practical training in Waste management. Over 400 people have been trained in proper waste management in Kigungu.
A waste bank in Mayanzi and 80 Rubbish bins were installed while the community members dug compost pits for the bio-degradable. The project intends to have Kigungu come out as a model for good practices of sustainable waste management.

Community members take part in an exercise to back-fill previously abandoned sand mining sites.

The projects intend to solve problems of poverty in the operation areas. Environmental friendly income generating projects have been supported to contribute to the sustainable increase of household incomes. Poultry, Piggery, and fish farming have been supported with more than 150 households participating and benefiting from this programme.

Background

The project area, Kigungu, is an area where wetlands have been devastated by illegal sand mining.  Garbage and heavy contamination of the international waters of Lake Victoria from human fecal matter are also urgent issues to be addressed. It is an often overlooked community near Entebbe. Working with the fishing communities allows the protection of the international waters of Lake Victoria. With growing concerns of environmental degradation in the Kigungu community, ICE-COP was initiated to find and implement sustainable solutions.

Implementation

Being a community based project, EWAD conducted household and community surveys to determine what community members feel are the most pertinent projects to undertake. The logical framework was then designed clearly describing the Project Objectives,  activities to be undertaken, who responsible persons, Delivery Deadline, and the monitoring processes. Consultations were held at the beginning the project drawing members from the sand mining and fishing communities, Beach Management Unit (BMU), local leaders,  representatives from Entebbe Municipal council, Wakiso District Local Government, NEMA, Ministry of Environment and Water resources, National Forestry Authority (NFA), Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Ministry of Energy and Mineral resources – department of Geological survey and Mines, Fisheries training institute of Entebbe, Religious institutions, Schools, environmental activists and many Civil Society Organisations.

Various results have been achieved under the different project interventions:

Tree planting

Some of the seedlings that we distributed and the pine trees which we planted in areas which were formerly used for sand mining.

5000 trees have been planted in Kigungu and Kiwafu, as well as at Bugonga Boys Primary School, Nakiwogo Primary School, St. Josephs Katabi Primary School and Entebbe Secondary School. 2,000 trees were planted by communities at household level in Kigungu and Missoli. 3000 were planted in Kitubulu and Entebbe, Division A and B at the local government level

The project donated 10,000 Circa trees to Busia District, Jinja Municipality, Kampala City Council, Mukono and Soroti District, making ICE-COP a national project.

Land Reclamation

Over 35 acres of land (sand) mines were leveled and backfilled in the reclamation process for habitat restoration, over 300 000 trees, including Casuarina and Grivelia, were planted in the reclaimed land of Kigungu. Currently the trees are growing and being tended for compensation by the community members.

Fish smoking kilns

Fish kiln set up to help women smoke fish more efficiently and in a cleaner environment.

Two Modern Fish Smoking Kilns have been constructed and are being used by over 50 households and benefiting over 350 people through the trickle-down effect, thus promoting local social and economic development. They are efficient as they consume less fire wood and produce less pollution. More fish is being smoked, generating more income. The kilns are enclosed and can be locked, thus preventing theft, damage caused by rain and freeing the owners while their fish are being smoked – for them to undertake other chores.

Sustainable waste management

Then Minister for water and environment, Hon. Maria Mutagamba commissions the Sustainable waste management project

EWAD constructed a waste bank in Mayanzi to minimize the impact of waste being produced. 80 rubbish bins have also been installed to serve as collection centres for sorted waste. More than 500 people have been individually trained in solid waste sorting, management and disposal.

The 2009/2011 project phase of the project supported the hiring of services of garbage collection with a vehicle transporting garbage from the 80 collection centres to the already gazetted areas with greater participation of the community members who continue to make good use of the waste-bins.

Eco-san technology

An Eco-san tiolet constructed under the project in Kigungu, Entebbe

Three Ecological Sanitation (Eco-San) toilets have been constructed at Arul village, Kigungu Main and Missoli landing sites to reduce pollution of the international waters of Lake Victoria. Over 330 community members have been given practical training in the use and maintenance of Eco-San technology.
The personal and household hygiene of the communities has improved. Manure is being produced by the Eco-San technology which is improving soil productivity for the poor farmers within the project area and on a small scale beyond.

 

Fish pond

The Community-run fish ponds in Kigungu, Entebbe

The project currently consists of one large pond which will be filled with Tilapia – a tropical fish that is very adaptive to many warm climates. The goal of the pond and growing Tilapia is to not only create a means of local food production but also to promote sustainable practices, self-sufficiency, and to help relieve pressure on Lake Victoria which is being over fished. Furthermore, the excess Tilapia will be sold to small local markets for profit. Profits will be in turn put back into the community for further development (more ponds, water tanks, fencing etc.). The selling and subsequent profit is administered and overseen by a small local council that will has been created by the community itself.

Project impacts

Environmental impacts

Climate Change Adaptation: Reduction in littering and waste production by local communities; increased recycling and usage of organic manures; conservation of wetlands which play important role in water filtration are being realised.

Protection of International Waters of Lake Victoria: Preservation of lake-fringing wetlands for biodiversity conservation and water filtration; reduction in over-fishing and illegal fishing methods which catch fish that have not yet matured.

Land conservation: Through wetland conservation,  sand mining on the edge of Lake Victoria, has been reduced thus preserving lakeside trees, other plants and animals. Negative climate change is being addressed through the reduction of environmental degradation.
Less smoke is being produced by the fish smoking kilns and less firewood is being used. It is anticipated that over 308,000 tons of carbon will be absorbed by the 308,000 trees planted. Waste is being managed through the waste bank, rubbish bins and Eco-San toilets.

Socio-economic impacts

  • The inclusion of women and men in leadership positions has resulted in ICE-COP projects being a role model of gender equality.
  • Children learn about the projects by participating in child-appropriate tasks, such use of the EcoSan toilets and waste bins, and helping with grass planting.
  • Improved sanitation and hygiene of the communities in Kigungu has occurred through proper waste management and Eco-San technology.
  • Direct and indirect beneficiaries are generating household income through environmentally friendly mechanisms
  • Noticeable reduced pollution of international waters of Lake Victoria.
  • Massive awareness at the household level of Eco-San technology has been created.
  • Beach Management Unit members and Local Council leaders have been skilled empowered to supervise, monitor and maintain their local projects.
  • Communities have come to knowledgeably appreciate the need to protect their water resource (Lake Victoria), as opposed to past beliefs that held this water body to be a natural resource that cleans, maintains and revitalises itself.
  • Five masons gained training and skills in the construction of Eco-San toilets and another five in the construction of the fish smoking kilns. This shall help in the replication and sustainability of the project.
  • Household improved incomes and welfare of miners and fishing communities.
  • Reduced child labor among artisanal and small-scale sand mining communities partly through awareness of the Child Labor Policy and community participation in its implementation.
  • Increased Productivity and incomes for a better quality of life of Artisanal and small-scale mining communities and their families, through sale of fish harvested from the community pond.

Gender impacts and women empowerment

Establishing equal roles for men and women has been a top priority in the implementation in each of the projects.

  • While the men are majorly fishermen and sand miners, the women concentrate on smoking the fish, marketing and sales.  The women fetch water with children, wash clothes and do gardening, in addition to home cores of cleaning and cooking.

While there were no toilets, the women’s privacy was more infringed on than that of the men.

Shortage of fish has also made the women poorer and marginalized as it was a major source of income for them. While the needs of women are enormous, the fish ponds, fish smoking kilns, poultry, and piggery projects provide them an opportunity to increase their incomes; the eco-san toilets help to improve their health, help them to enjoy privacy and train their children in good hygiene.

  • The communities have been sensitized on gender mainstreaming, sustainable environmental management and equipped with skills in water and land conservation and waste management which will enable them to jealously guard the International waters of Lake Victoria. Men and women are both motivated to continue participating in the project programmes.
  • Representation of women and men on the implementation and stakeholder committees was greatly emphasised while establishing the committees for equal participation and contribution to the project success.
  • In Kigungu, the Project Implementation Committee consists of 10 women and 11 men. Projects and responsibilities are distributed equally between men and women. The ICE-COP projects have enabled women to become powerful role models for all members of the younger generations.

Lessons learned

  • Communication and long-term relationships with benefactor communities and local governments is essential for the successful delivery of ICE-COP and other EWADD projects, as it is very difficult to secure multi-year funding necessary for efficient implementation of long-term sustainability projects.
  • In order to make future projects of this nature successful, it will be necessary to ensure long-term funds by demonstrating EWAD’s impressive track-record for completing timely and efficient projects.
  • Communities/community members are  key not only in the implementation but also in the planning of community-level initiatives.
  • Multi-level partnerships are crucial
  • It is hard for NGOs to get multi-year funding for specific projects- yet this  is necessary for multi activity interventions
  • Effective Monitoring and reliable Evaluation is a challenge since projects allocate a small percentage of funds to M & E activities.
  • Successful implementation of projects attracts more funding to an organization
  • Eco-San technology works better in small communities as managing people is not easy. Missoli, a community of approximately 100 people, is using the toilet effectively. A bigger community would have been problematic.
  • In the densely populated area of Kigungu Main, Eco-San technology has been viewed as a money-making venture in the eyes of some community leaders.  The large numbers of people using the toilet daily were seen as a source of income, detracting from the project’s purpose of benefiting the community and environment.
  • The community members are, much willing to embrace new technologies if well trained.

Funders/partners:

UNDP, UNEP, GEF, UNOPS, SGP, World Bank (CASM Secretariat), Kitchen Table Charities, Ministry of Water, Lands and Environment, Kigungu Community Members, Entebbe Municipal Council, Civil Aviation Authority, National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), Kampala City; Council (KCC), World Global Tree, LAVLAC, and Entebbe schools and communities.

Awards and Recognition:

Our efforts were recognised at The Queen of Lake Victoria Royal Environmental Awards, 2009.

We were privileged to host the UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark in 2013