Kenya Placeholder

Community-Based Water Monitoring in the Upper Tana River Watershed

About the Implementing organization

Name: The Green Belt Movement (GBM)

Country: Kenya

Year of establishment: 1977

Type of organization: Legally recognized non-profit status


Monitoring of forest and water resources is required to provide benchmarks for sustainable management of natural resources in the watersheds. GBM community based Water monitoring uses simple scientific techniques to monitor water quantity and quality problems of water sources from which they draw drinking water. This monitoring for GBM in Upper Tana priority watershed areas, as well as estimate the impact of different land-use activities on surface and ground water quality.

The keys to healthy watersheds that ensure sustainability are community empowerment and public participation. GBM engages the public to consider their input and ownership of the intervention. For GBM public participation is a real opportunity for public input to influence the decision or outcome.

Community based Water quality monitoring, simple scientific technology public participation and community empowerment in GBM has led to the design and implementation of conservation systems, habitat protection and community support actions, which preserve and increase biodiversity. The impact of land-use activities on habitat and biodiversity in the watershed are the focus of this initiative:

Nature Element

Forests / Mountains

Type of Action

Restoration / Pollution prevention, clean up / Advocacy for land & water rights

Sustainable Development Element

Food security / Water security / Climate action

Related Sustainable Development Goal(s)


Environmental Impacts

The community based water monitoring provides the following inputs for the Green Belt Movement reforestation and conservation program:
•A measure of net positive change as a result of specific land use changes,
•A demonstration of best practices and approaches backed up by data collected for diverse reporting requirements.
The implementation of this project will help in the detection of areas with forest disturbance . These areas will be used to conduct work on the ground to identify drivers of disturbance and a specially designed mobile phone application and the participation of the stakeholders, and the community forestry associations (CFAs).

Sustainable Development Impacts

This project is expected to deliver sustainable economic and social benefits while at the same time observing environmental and social safeguards. The local communities are expected to benefit economically from nature based enterprise and more productivity expected from utilization of their land through land use plans. On social sustainability, the project will ensure multi-stakeholder planning processes, focusing on social inclusion and equitable economic benefits. These are critical elements of the project design that will help ensure the project’s social sustainability. Through these dialogues, the project will establish broad societal support. Further, the development of participatory and transparent governance structures will provide mechanisms for adaptive management and learning to avoid a “boom-bust” project cycle.


The project outcomes will be documented and success stories disseminated, particularly on the simple techniques that are used to sample the water sources. Project of such magnitudes can be adopted by government and stakeholders to measure other water towers that are threatened with degradation.


The project will build on existing structures and processes, rather than creating new ones. The role of the pilot sites, in this context, is to demonstrate the benefits and effectiveness of a range of natural resource management strategies and measures, awareness building, training of relevant policy makers and community development practitioners as well as community members. The project resources will also facilitate the involvement of stakeholders from other geographical areas in capacity development initiatives, as well as the production and dissemination of lessons.

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