Community Monitoring and Enforcement for Wetlands Protection and Restoration
About the Implementing organization
Name: Ecofinder Kenya
Year of establishment: 1995
Type of organization: Legally recognized non-profit status
Winam Gulf Wetlands along the Lake Victoria Basin have been designated Important Bird areas and Key Biodiversity sites by Bird Life International and in addition, Yala Wetland is a Living Museum forr fish from the Lake which have since disappeared. Ecofinder Kenya established a system of community based conservation which is purely controlled by the community members themselves. Community members were mobilized and a Village Environment Committee for grass root environmental Governance was formed. This committee is made up of representatives from all working groups in the wetland communities. The communities then came together and developed Community Wetland Wise Use bylaws which govern access and use of the wetlands. The Monitoring and Enforcement team is however also made up of a team of conservation enthusiasts who's work is to advocate for actions and wise use of the wetlands through the use of Bulk SMS. They also have village Satelite hubs who are the organizations and groups which already work towards conservation in the wetlands like Beach Management Units (BMU’s), Water Resource Users Associations (WRUA’s) and Site conservation groups. In addition to this, Ecofinder Kenya also established an adopt a wetland scheme in which a community member identifies one of the earmarked conservation and restoration sites and sees to its restoration and protection through monitoring and regeneration and they are provided with incentives for this by Ecofinder Kenya.
Wetlands / Wildlife
Type of Action
Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use / Access and benefit sharing / Pollution prevention, clean up / Awareness and education / Advocacy for land & water rights
Sustainable Development Element
Water security / Peace and security
Ecofinder Kenya's has managed to have approximately 80ha of Dunga, Kusa, Koguta and Yala Wetlands adopted for protection and restoration by the community members. They have also managed to reach the community members about changing their perception of wetlands as wastelands and have mobilized hundreds of them to take responsibility of the wetlands and their resources. This has resulted to adoption of best practices for wetlands access and wise use which has lessened the over exploitation of the wetlands. In addition to this, Ecofinder Kenya's advocacy work in conjunction with the community members have led to action being taken by the County and National Governments for Proper land use planning and against encroachment by foreign companies for commercial farming in the wetlands. These actions have by extension helped in the maintenance of the health and integrity of these ecosystems which are home to thousands of birds and wild animals.
Sustainable Development Impacts
This Community Monitoring and Enforcement Model Speaks for Peace and Security in the communities because it is designed in a way that ensures all the working groups and Common Interest Groups are represented. This harmony makes working on conservation issues easier and this has resulted into the success of the organization with regards to the activities of this model. The actions of this model ensure conservation of the wetlands and their resources which improves water and food security for the wetland communities.
This model can be scaled by expanding the pool of villages and coverage of the community, which will mean increasing the number of volunteers at each level. It will also involve holding bigger forums, training and capacity building meetings with the communities and more intensive mobilization so as to be able to successfully implement in a larger area and hence get to restore more wetlands in the country.
This model was initially piloted in Koguta Wetland where there were good results and it was seen to be feasible and running well. We then replicated the model in three other wetland communities, Dunga, Kusa and Yala Wetland through Participatory Wetlands Assessments, Mobilization of Locals, training and capacity building and finally recruiting of volunteers and stakeholders from the community to set up the model. The same method of replicability can also be applied to other wetlands in the country and this has proven to be a successful way of ensuring proper restoration and protection of degraded wetlands because the people get to feel a sense of inclusion and ownership making the work easier and to be done efficiently, to the best of their capabilities.
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