Implementing partners: NatureUganda, Nature Kenya, Association pour Conservation de la Nature au Rwanda (ACNR) and Association Burundaise Pour la Protection des Oiseaux (ABO).

Donor: A.V. Jensen Foundation.

Duration: 1st April 2013 to 31st December 2015

Focal Area in Uganda: Mabamba and Lutembe bay 

Mabamba bay: NatureUganda works with a conservation group, Mabamba Wetland Eco-Tourism Association (MWETA); a Site Support Group (SSG) to promote conservation through community involvement.
This association is a joint membership of Mabamba Wetland Crafts Association (MAWECA) and Zziba Wetland Management Association (ZIWEMA) and Mabamba bird guides Association (MBGA). MWETA aims at conserving Mabamba wetland for sustainable utilization of natural resources and improving livelihoods of the community through income generating activities. The group is involved in a wide range of conservation activities including tourism, crafts making, education awareness and habitat protection. It is voluntarily run by its members and it is registered with the Wakiso District Local Government. More about Mabamba bay

Lutembe bay: Lutembe bay Ramsar site has a local association called Lutembe Wetland Users Association, formed 2007. Their main aim is reducing the high rate at which developers are reclaiming the swamp, despite the policy and legal framework in place. Lutembe Wetland Users Association members are engaged in a number of small scale livelihood activities such as brick making, basketry and tree planting. The association through the years has been involved in environmental education and awareness programmes, advocacy for policy implementation and monitoring alongside livelihood activities.
Collaboration: The project is a result of a Birdlife International global programme, Local Empowerment Programme (LEP). BirdLife International is a global partnership with conservation organizations that strives to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources. BirdLife’s work in Africa gives high priority to empowering people to manage and benefit from sustainable use of natural resources through livelihoods improvement, and all these are achieved through a four-pronged strategic objective of: Species, Sites, Habitats and People.

Through this project, BirdLife international will coordinate the four national partners through the Birdlife Africa Partnership Secretariat of number of regional and national initiatives such as harnessing community support groups for the conservation of Important Bird Areas (IBAs). They will lead the translation of technical global tool kits and over seeing and guiding the process of capacity-building at regional level. The secretariat shall coordinate the networks for community advocacy with relevant forums by transforming global strategies into regional ones for effective implementation at the grass root level, where partners will work closely to ensure all project activities are implemented to realize desired out puts.

The national Partners will be responsible for implementation of the intervention at sites. The partners will also ensure collaboration with relevant local government structures and SSGs themselves to help implement, oversee and deliver intended services to communities. The national partners will closely work with SSGs in trainings, monitoring and compiling lessons. This will form part of the quantitative and qualitative monitoring and evaluation of conservation work of the project and its contribution to address the broad needs to conserve the Lake Victoria basin.

Site Support Groups (SSGs) are the direct project beneficiaries and fulcrum of demonstrations for livelihood interventions. These may include promotion of eco-tourism and other environmentally friendly initiatives such as tree planting and craft making. The SSGs will be involved in low key monitoring of sites. Through them, lessons that can be replicated in other sites shall be documented to improve the overall wetland management programme in Uganda.

Project description

Local Empowerment Program (LEP) aims to support existing programme priorities. BirdLife International Secretariat and national partners developed the project on BirdLife’s strategy to grow and strengthen SSG work across the region by sharing tools, gain guidance, develop capacity, and gain experience through trainings. 

The project is to reduce key threats to biodiversity in the Lake Victoria basin through community-based initiatives which demonstrate ways to generate positive incentives for environmental stewardship at IBAs and will build capacity of local organizations at IBAs on the shore of Lake Victoria for effective management, sustainable use and monitoring of the IBAs where they live.

In order to enable Local organisations on the Lake Victoria Basin to effectively network and share experience; Partners will inform Local and national governments, regional and international forums of the importance of the environmental services provided by IBAs in the Lake Victoria basin. The results of this project will be communicated to both internal and external audiences.

Overall Goal: To conserve the birds and biodiversity of the Lake Victoria Basin, and sustain the ecosystem benefits, that is, Important Bird Areas and provide for human well-being.

Rationale: BirdLife has developed a suite of tools to assist Partners and SSGs in their work, including the Site Support Group Capacity Assessment Tool (CAT), guidelines for SSG collaboration at the grassroots level and guidelines for monitoring the socio-economic impacts of projects at IBAs. Through the SSG approach, Birdlife is keen to see appropriate institutions built, networked, capacitated and promoted for the benefit of both people and biodiversity, in Mabamba and Lutembe bay, on Lake Victoria basin and Africa’s areas of operation as a whole.

NatureUganda will help the SSGs in communication, education and public awareness, community conservation, research, monitoring, and conservation planning. NatureUganda has an established relation with these sites and it will build on what already exists in the implementation of the LEP’s activities, to conserve Species at risk. The Species are at stake due to: Pollution – domestic waste and agricultural waste Invasive species – especially water hyacinth. Habitat degradation – frequent burning, cutting down of riparian forests, over-harvesting of wetland resources, disturbance of breeding colonies and hunting for local consumption.

Owing to their rich biodiversity, of migratory birds at Lutembe and the threatened Shoebill and the papyrus Gonolek of the Mabamba bay, the bays have SSGs comprised of dedicated individuals at the local level who volunteer their time and resources for the promotion of conservation and sustainable development at IBAs, and are part of national networks supported by NatureUganda.

Activities: LEP has a suite of activities that NatureUganda will undertake including: Threat analysis; management planning; strategic linkages; micro-projects; leverage of new funding, capacity assessment; development of tools, guidelines, manuals; training workshops, communications planning; creation of a Lake Victoria Basin LCG forum; networking, communications, exchange visits, monitoring Local and national advocacy on common issues; regional and international dissemination and policy advocacy with key forums.

NatureUganda is the Birdlife International Partner and a member of IUCN