Saving Lake Kako

Mushumba Community Initiatives for Development (MCID) is a Community Based Organisation in Ryeru sub-county, Rubirizi district. With support through the Small Grants, Mushumba members came together to save Lake Kako against silting and soil erosion. They planted 9 acres along the lake shoreline with vetiver grass and 1,760 tree seedlings. Apart from being a major source of water for the people of Mushumba and its neighboring communities, Lake Kako is a key factor in moderating the local climate.                 FSCN4763

What are the socio-economic benefits?

The slopes of the lake provide rich soils where community members grow crops like maize, millet, cassava, potatoes, coffee, beans and bananas. The slopes are good grazing grounds because of the presence of elephant grass and other nutritious vegetation for animals. There is fishing which is a major source of protein for a number of households.

The trees, bushes and shrubs around the lake are a source of firewood, building materials and herbal medicine.

It’s also a recreation area for swimming and other leisure activities and the lake adds to the natural beauty of the area. The lake supports about 20,000 people.

What are the environmental benefits?

By conserving and restoring Lake Kako, there is:

• Reduced landslides around the lake

• Controlled soil erosion and silting

• Increased biodiversity

• Climate modified as a result of trees growing around the lake water. The water body

(Lake Kako) and the vegetation (trees planted) contribute moisture to the atmosphere through evapo-transpiration which leads to rainfall formation.

• The land and sea breezes modify the temperature of the areas adjacent to the lake.

• A rare species of fish in the lake, Cray fish, will be allowed to multiply.

• Community empowerment since the conserving of the lake has demonstrated that they can address their own environmental challenges

The solar cooker

The CBO has introduced solar cooking technology in the area as an efficient sustainable alternative source of energy for domestic cooking and as a way of reducing heavy dependence on biomass fuel. 350 community members were sensetized on the benefits of using a Solar cooker. 3 demonstration solar cookers have been constructed and are in use – at Mushumba Health Center II and in two homes.

“Members were captivated by the power of the sun in cooking food especially by the little time it took for the food to get ready”

“Members were captivated by the power of the sun in cooking food especially by the little time it took for the food to get ready,” said Mr. John Mubangizi, executive director of Mushumba. “The most exciting moment came with the tasting of the food prepared by a solar cooker.” The solar cooker took one and half hours to cook a meal of bananas and dry beans.   DSCN4938

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