Kimana wetland has a core area measuring 10km2 with other small wetlands along the rivers.The wetlands lies in the midst of semi-arid lands which are characterised by savanna woodlands and open grasslands, which acts as a stop over (migratory corridor) for the wildlife migrating between Amboseli and Tsavo national parks.
Funding support: Wetlands international, European Union (Community Environmental Facility) and African wildlife foundation
Number of staff: Two from developed world and 7 volunteers who are members running the organisation on day today basis and three local employees
Overall aims of the centre
Improved wetland management as an entry point for community livelihood improvement, sustainable land use planning, and institutional development and optimizing the mix of crops, livestock and wildlife in Kimana wetlands of the Amboseli ecosystem.
Description of the centre
Kimana wetland has a core area measuring 10km2 with other small wetlands along the rivers. The wetlands lies in the midst of semi-arid lands which are characterised by savanna woodlands and open grasslands, which acts as a stop over (migratory corridor) for the wildlife migrating between Amboseli and Tsavo national parks.
Amboseli National Park is the second national park in Kenya to Tsavo which annually receives a large number of Tourists and visitors. Amboseli, due to its large number of tourists, continues to be an important income earner and a source of jobs for the local community.
Animal species supported in these parks are elephants, wildebeests, African buffaloes, zebras, gazelles, ostriches, lions, leopards, cheetahs, foxes, jackals, etc.
These wetlands have served as safe havens for the wild game during extremely dry seasons. It is here that they find refuge, grazing and water. These parks have the tallest mountain in Africa towering to the south giving the extraordinary scenic view making these parks equal to none.
We undertake environmental conservation and protection of the natural habitat. Kimana Wetland Association is a registered body that is spearheading wetland management and conservation. Actions range from: spring protection, tree planting, soil erosion control, agroforestry, creation of community animal sanctuary. Support community livelihood projects around and along these wetlands.
We work with government of Kenya Ministry of Water to facilitate provision of safe drinking water to community members.
Main CEPA work areas
We carry out training of farmers on sustainable use of water resources to enhance their knowledge on issues related to climate change and water. As an initiative of involving stakeholders we had helped in the formation of Kimana Wetlands Association which comprises of all the stakeholders who have a direct or indirect interest from the wetland. Stakeholders developed a common communication network in matters related to conservation and protection.
Education – we invite all the key stakeholders including, government institutions, schools, farmers, conservation groups and the community.
We ask school environmental clubs to prepare poems and songs, to present during such occasions. To optimize community participation we organize community in garbage collection around homestead and the whole shopping centre.
We do also organize games like running and bicycle cycling competition, where winners are rewarded by important guests presenting prizes – in past events these have been presented by the district commissioner or the area Member of parliament.
We produce banners, leaflets, brochures which carry the message as to why we should conserve our wetlands.
The spring and wetland is recharged by the melting snow from Kilimanajaro, however for the last two decades there has been a drastic decline of snow on Mt Kilimanjaro. This is being attributed by climate change.
We communicate to the community by organizing sports to mark key days like World Environment Day which is celebrated on 5th June every year.
Top three successes
1) Fencing off three key water springs that discharge water into the wetlands. This was enabled through funding from EEU CDTF and active community participation in all stages.
2) Kimana Wetlands Association is an outfit that was born out of this project to take control and management of the wetlands at the Amboseli basin. Participation in implementing this project took an active approach by including various stakeholders i.e. government, civil society groups, Church representatives, local government administration.
3) Marking of key international events like world environmental days. Various strategies were used included running, cycling competition. in competitions all age groups of both sexes took part. Rewards in form of money and trophies were given to the winners. This approach attracted many participants and the community.
Top three challenges
1. Conflicting community development approaches by various development agencies i.e. giving of hand outs instead of involving people in doing their development work.
2. Natural calamities i.e. Kenya’s two years prolonged drought which played a role in community participation in implementation of projects
3. Funding; lack of funds has limited our capacity to actively engage in wetland and environment to bring a desired turn around.
Using audio visual materials; producing written materials
Managing / creating habitat; building / maintaining structures
Engaging young people; engaging the community; working with volunteers
Education and communication
Working with primary schools; working with secondary schools; lobbying / running campaigns; developing resources / materials
Auditing / assessing effectiveness; fund raising; health and safety; project planning