Lake Victoria and its catchment are endowed with a rich and unique biological diversity (comprised of forests, wildlife, fisheries etc); agriculture, traditional cultures and spirituality. The catchment supports a thriving fishery and agriculture (sugar, tea, coffee, maize, livestock production and horticulture) based economic sector. Most of the agricultural activities are small-scale and subsistence in orientation.
Several towns are located within the shores of Lake Victoria. These are Musoma, Kampala, Jinja, Kisumu and Mwanza. These towns have a rising demand for food to feed the large human and livestock population, energy to sustain the industrial sector and also increasing urban population.
The food and energy demands are some of the key root causes for the indiscriminate destruction of natural resources and environmental degradation. Agriculture and its consumption of natural forests, poor livestock keeping practices, increased and unsustainable demands on the natural forests for fuel-wood are some of the symptoms that manifest the urgent need for an EE programme.
At a higher level, the poor vision and absence of good-will among policy makers and implementers has created space for poor planning and inaction in cases where policies exist. For example, wetland ecosystems have been turned into municipal dumping ground sites for effluence, solid-waste, agro-chemicals and industrial waste. Some of the negative local and central government actions deliberately circumvent legislative requirements for Environmental Impact Assessments prior to reclamation of swamps and programmes for agricultural, urban and industrial expansions.
Based on the above background, the wellbeing of the environment as well as the people’s lives in the Lake Victoria Catchment are therefore at stake. And whenever there is a crisis in society, the first place to start from is what education is doing or can do to mitigate the crisis. NatureUganda in collaboration with WWF-EARPO are implementing an Environmental Education (EE) programme in the Lake Victoria Basin, focusing on Katonga River basin.
Focusing on the Katonga river basin, this SIDA funded and WWF supported initiative aims at promoting environmental education especially in schools as part of the overall strategy to champion the conservation and sustainable management of the diverse system of wetlands, forests and grasslands that are important drainage channels into Lake Victoria. A number of communication tools and materials have been developed and distributed to the target audiences including schools and institutions of higher learning and tertiary education. The project has already been launched and is operational in all the eleven riparian districts within the catchment.
Project Goal & Expected Outputs
The goal of LVCEEP project is to secure the ecological integrity and sustainability of the Lake Victoria catchment for the benefit of its inhabitants and biological diversity. The expected outputs are:
1. Capacity of teachers and teacher trainers to deliver ESD as an integral part of their normal education activities built and strengthened in selected sites and best practice spread in wider areas.
2. School children understand the rationale for conserving fresh water ecosystems and other natural resources and the linkage between natural resource management and sustainable livelihoods.
3. Nationally and regionally decision makers sufficiently supporting education for sustainable development through curriculum and other policy documents, support to pre- and in-service teacher training and giving clear signals of the importance of learning for sustainable development.
Non formal education:
1. Riparian communities achieve capacity to conserve and sustainably manage natural resources and improve livelihoods within selected sites of the Lake Victoria catchment and best practice spread in wider areas.
2. Material: Education materials to support formal and non-formal environmental education and awareness initiatives developed and disseminated in selected sites.
3. Networking: A practical partnership building mechanism for ESD delivery with and among key stakeholders developed and operationalized.
NatureUganda has so far undertaken a series of baseline surveys to establish the levels of environmental knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) and documented other institutions operating in the basin. Through a series of consultative meetings with stakeholders in the region (local governments, schools, and communities), KAP surveys and Training Needs Assessments (TNA), major gaps in environmental education have been identified and strategies designed to fill those gaps. This is contained in the Information, Education and Communication strategy developed. The strategy identifies three areas of intervention namely: Biodiversity loss, low level integration of EE in local government programmes and low level integration of EE in schools. Implementation of the IEC has commenced with development and production of education materials for schools, local governments and communities. Continued implementation of the IEC strategy will be the main focus for the next year in order to contribute to the overall goal of the strategy “sustained reduction in biodiversity loss in Katonga River Basin through integration of EE'.