Makanaga: A wetland rich in plants, birds and wildlife

The Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) received 40,000,000 shillings in Small Grants from the Piloting Initiatives in Environment and Climate Change (PIEC) project to do biodiversity conservation and promotion of eco-tourism at Makanaga Wetland in Wakiso District. UWEC implemented this project in partnership with Shoebill Stock Foundation and Entebbe District Wildlife Association.

PIEC is funded by UNDP and implemented by WWF – Uganda Country Office.

Migratory birds at Makagana Wetland

Migratory birds at Makagana Wetland

Makanaga Wetland System is located in Bussi Sub County in Wakiso. UWEC did the project mainly to raise the profile of Makanaga wetland by identifying activities that could enhance community participation in biodiversity conservation and support livelihoods.

An inventory of important birds and plants of Makanaga wetland has been produced. Other treasures and potential tourism attractions were identified. Makanaga is home to the rare and threatened Shoebill Stork. Other important and common birds include common terns, gull billed terns, Goliath Heron, African Jacana, Great Cormorant, African fish eagle, Egyptian Geese and others. The full list has 135 birds.

The wetland hosts animals like otters, Africa civet cats, Sitatungas, black and white colobus. It also has important plants like Cyperus Papyrifera, Afromomum angustifoliu. Makanaga is a breeding site for different types of fish and that is why different water birds frequent this wetland.

The project established boat trails to ease the viewing of this biodiversity. Donkey trails and an observatory tower will be set up.

Boat trails that were established

Boat trails that were established

The major threats to this wetland include poaching, bushfires, degradation through agricultural activities, pollution of water through use of pesticides, herbicides, bad fishing methods and lack of awareness by the local people about the importance of this area.

With the small grants funding UWEC has trained 20 community members in tour guiding and equipped them with knowledge on wetland management and benefits.

In addition, soil and water analysis of Makanaga was done to help determine sanitation issues and the productivity of the sites sampled. The community now knows which sites are suitable for what plants, and the water analysis helped in identifying the suitable sites for fish breeding.

On learning that the wetland is a rich marsh with tourism potential, the community now takes pride in their area and have committed to working together to grow the wetland’s tourism potential.

Kiyanga conserving through beekeeping and clean cookstoves

With the Small Grants funding, Kiyanga Environmental Conservation Association gave out 90 beehives to 9 people in Kiyanga with experience in bee-keeping. Within 3 months after distribution, half of all the beehives were already colonised. Honey is harvested twice in a year. From the 10 beehives, a beneficiary will harvest at least 60 liters of honey in 2 seasons. 20 liters fetch 240,000shs. Mr. Patrick Tukamuhabwa is one of the beneficiaries. A beekeeper for five years he said that from honey he will get an income, food and medicine. In addition honeybees are pollinators whose service increases crop yield and helps the ecosystem remain diverse and sustainable.

Patrick Tukamuhabwa with his beehives

Patrick Tukamuhabwa with his beehives

The beekeepers are facing some challenges. Ants often attack the bee-hives chasing away the bees. There is a belief among the residents that bees spread banana wilt, a disease that has severely destroyed banana plantations in western Uganda.

Kiyanga plans to buy 80 more beehives to give to 8 other people. “And in addition we shall also give honey harvesting gear to all the beneficiaries including gloves, smokers, knives, boots, brushes, buckets among others items,” said Benon Bushoborozi, the group’s chairman.


Packaging remains a problem. “We put honey in empty wine and waragi bottles although our wish is to do proper, competitive packaging.”

So far 3 members with the area have started bee-keeping after learning about the benefits from KECA. They are using locally made bee-hives.

Lorena cookstoves

Kiyanga opted to do lorena energy saving cookstoves for several reasons. “We are neighbouring Queen Elizabeth National Park, as well as Karinju and Imaramagambo forests,” said Bushoborozi. He adds, “We have an understanding with the National Forestry Authority to visit the forests at least once a week to harvest fuel wood and with such cookstoves, firewood that would have lasted a week lasts 2 weeks.”

24 people were picked from 5 parishes to get energy saving stoves. By picking a few people from each parish, it spreads the opportunity for other community members that did not benefit to see and learn from the beneficiaries in their locality and possibly adopt.  To get a stove, one had to have a strong kitchen – at least semi-permanent. One also had to be sociable to allow people to visit and see how the stove works. The 24 stoves are all functioning.

“Now I use one bundle a week instead of 2 bundles,” said Ms. Edinavence Kajaribu. “There are many people who have come here and are interested in having such a stove.” She adds, “It’s faster, I can manage it alone and I do other things while cooking. I only come to the kitchen to check if the food has water and it has no smoke.”

Edinavence Kajaribu in her kitchen

Edinavence Kajaribu in her kitchen

Youth Ending Hunger plants trees and promotes biogas in Manafwa

Youth Ending Hunger (YEHA) is involved in tree planting to improve soil and water conservation. They are also making biogas to minimize the cutting down of trees and benefit from the bio slurry, the by-product of the biogas plant that is used as a fertiliser to improve the soil fertility and get a better crop yield.

YEHA has so far constructed 3 household biogas units. They plan to increase the beneficiary households to 10. Lucas Shilaku is one of the beneficiaries. Lucas said his school going children now have light on which to read. The slurry is manure and his banana plantation is already yielding well. “My neighbours are very interested and have come here to see the biogas but they cannot afford,” he said. The by-product is also fodder for pigs, chicken and fish. So far 3 people in Kaato sub-county have appreciated the value of biogas and are setting up their own.

Lucas Shiraku is enjoying the benefits of using biogas

Lucas Shiraku is enjoying the benefits of using biogas

Ms. Wabulyu Nivarent of Kaato sub-county received tree seedlings including pine, jackfruit and musizi. Almost all her trees are growing well. How will she benefit from this? “I will sell the trees and get an income and the jackfruit will be food for the children,” she said.

The area of Kaato is exposed to soil erosion so the canopy cover will minimize the problem and eventually improve the crop yield. The area is also exposed to heavy winds and the trees will serve as wind breakers. The beneficiaries plan to join a carbon credit scheme since Eco-Trust, an NGO working in carbon schemes is piloting in Kaato sub-county.

10,300 tree seedlings were distributed among 125 people. The seedlings included ovacado, mango, jackfruit, grevalia, musizi and pine. Households got tree seedlings according to the size of their land, with most households receiving between 50-100 seedlings.

YEHA is hopeful that the trees will be a source of nectar for bees and will boost honey production in the area. The fruit trees will improve household nutrition.

A large number of trees survived and are growing well but a few failed. For example, Tsu Tsu waterway overflooded and washed away some seedlings. One farmer lost 230 seedlings of the 300 received. Another lost 220 out of 300 received, mostly musizi and grevalia.

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

The life changing energy saving stoves

Energy saving cookstoves are changing the lives of many women in rural and remote parts of Uganda. Ms. Edinavence Kajaribu received a lorena cookstove through Kiyanga Environmental Conservation Association (KECA) in Mitooma.  KECA is one of the recipients of the Small Grants funding ($10,000) from UNDP – Uganda Country Office.

Image Edinavence in her kitchen

“Now I use one bundle a week instead of 2 bundles,” said Ms.Kajaribu. “It’s faster, I can manage it alone and do other chores as I cook. I only come to the kitchen to check if the food has water.” She quickly adds, “And it has no smoke.”

Edinavence is one of the 24 people that received the lorena cookstoves in Kiyanga sub county. To qualify as a beneficiary one had to have at least a semi-permanent. One also had to be sociable to allow people to visit and see how the stove works.

Kiyanga neighbours two key forests – Karinju and Imaramagambo as well as Queen Elizabeth National Park.  The community has an understanding with the National Forestry Authority (NFA) to pick firewood from the forest not more than once a week.  With the lorena cookstoves it cuts the need to go to the forest for firewood by half.

Ms. Birungi Mwanje received an energy saving cookstove from Katara Womens Poverty Alleviation Group in Rubirizi. Katara too received a $10,000 grant.

“I would use one head load of firewood per week but I now use the same bundle for two weeks,” she said.  Ms.Mwanje uses just one block of wood as opposed to the many poles she used when she cooked on the traditional three-stone fire.  “I keep telling the neighbours how the stove has reduced my firewood demand by half,” she said.                                                      Image                   Ms Birungi Mwanje in her kitchen

Kikokiro Savings and Development Group in Wakiso is promoting renewable energy technology in Wakiso. The 25-member group makes briquettes and cookstoves for sale.  Within two months of receiving the $12,000 Small Grants funding, the group made 87 cookstoves as well as 600kg of stick briquettes and 70kg of honeycomb briquettes.

Charcoal briquettes are similar in appearance to ordinary charcoal but are made out of agricultural residues and charcoal waste that would normally be discarded as useless waste.

The group sells the big stoves at 40,000 Uganda shillings ($16) and the small stoves at 25,000 Shs or $10. By mid-October they had sold 400kgs of stick briquettes at 1,000shs a kilo, and 60kg of honeycomb briquettes with one honeycomb selling at 2,000shs.  The group members say the demand for the briquettes is high and the business opportunity is promising. They are now working on making standardized products that can be packaged and sold in supermarkets and many other outlets.

Wide adoption of charcoal briquettes would minimize the heavy dependence on charcoal and firewood that are contributing to wide scale deforestation in Uganda. In addition, money is saved and there is a decrease in common diseases from smoke such as eye infections and asthma.       ImageA family that received cookstoves from Katara

Innovation: Wakiso Youths Make Eco-Bricks

A group of youths working under the name Wakiso Parish Youth Apostolate (WAPYA), based in the district of Wakiso has revolutionalised the process of brick-making. The youths make sun baked interlocking blocks, known as the eco-bricks. Fire burned
bricks are the most commonly used bricks in Uganda. With the eco bricks no burning is required meaning that no wood is needed. The eco blocks are made with soil, lake sand and cement and are strong and durable.


The group started making the bricks in June 2012 with a borrowed interlocking block machine. In October 2012 the group received two block making machines from the UNDP funded project under WWF, through the Ministry of Energy. With one machine they were
making 350 blocks a day and now make 700 blocks a day with the two machines. The group hopes to acquire a motor powered machine which would double the number of blocks made per day.WAPYA is a faith based organization and presently markets their blocks in churches and schools within Wakiso. They have also got contracts from a few individuals. The interest in the blocks is still low because of the price. The cost of one ecobrick is 400 shillings while an ordinary fire burned brick costs 150shs. Still, the eco brick has several advantages;

  • They don’t require firewood because they dry in the sun and dry quickly. Ordinary bricks may take two weeks to a month before they are ready and burning a single brick requires at least a kilogram of firewood.
  • They require less labour. With the normal brick there is need for porters to carry water, carry firewood, set the bricks ready for burning while the eco bricks only require about three porters to mix the materials and operate the machine.
  • Eco-bricks can be made on site and hence minimise on breakage as commonly happens during the transportation of the burned bricks.
  • – Eco bricks use less water while ordinary bricks require more water.

WAPYA is one of the five Community Based Organisations in Wakiso district being supported by UNDP. The CBO recently received additional funding of close to nine millions Uganda shillings to help them acquire two more block making machines and increase their production. Brick making is one of the main causes of deforestation and the destruction of forests is one of the biggest sources of the greenhouse gases that cause climate change. At the moment, deforestation and forest degradation are responsible for up to a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions each year.

We urgently need to reduce emissions if we’re to avoid the consequences of climate change – from flooding to drought, food shortages to species extinction. Conserving our forests is a crucial part of this. WAPYA’s eco-brick innovation is a step in the right direction.

Water Storage Facility Built in Moroto

This facility is a low cost simple innovation. Flowing water is diverted from within a river
bed and conveyed through a filtration system into an impermeable well for storage. A hand pump is used to draw the water. The well is recharged as the water is drawn and the technology design ensures maximum recharge both in the wet and dry seasons.

Karamoja has a semi-arid climate with most parts faced with water stress. Pastoralists have to move for long distances in search of water and pasture for their animals. Pastoralists in Karamoja have over the years engaged in inter-communal conflicts
over pasture, water and livestock.

Working closely with WWF, and with funding from UNDP, International Union for Conservation of Nature IUCN is constructing the water facilities as a sustainable solution to drought risk and climate change impacts in Karamoja. The well is excavated deeper than the river bed ¬to create storage space. The walls and bottom of the well are plastered up to the level corresponding to the infiltration gallery in order to reduce water loss through seepage. The well is a circular pit. Its walls are built with curved interlocking blocks; the bottom of the well is cast with concrete. The well is then internally plastered to a height of 15ft from the bottom with a cement:sand mortar mix of 1:3 and waterproof cement to prevent any leakage. The well’s capacity is 12.4m3 or 12,400 litres. A bigger well with larger capacity would require deeper and wider excavation – and more money. A livestock watering trough has also been provided at a reasonable distance from the well to
harvest the water that spills during pumping.

The advantages of this facility

  • Provision of safe water from the river during the wet and dry seasons.
  • Improved quality of water from the river. The turbidity is greatly improved due to presence of filter material in the infiltration gallery.
  • It’s simpler and cheaper to build compared to a subsurface or sand-storage dam.

Construction of such small facilities will greatly increase safe water coverage
during the dry season. The facility can be constructed on a small piece of land
and hence it is possible to build separate ones for the clans that regularly
conflict over water. More wells will be constructed in Abim and Kotido

Small Grants Program Takes Off

Small Grants embody the essence of sustainable development by
“thinking globally acting locally”. By providing financial and technical
support to projects that conserve and restore the environment while
enhancing people’s well-being and livelihoods, a Small Grants Program
(SGP) demonstrates that community action can maintain the fine balance
between human needs and environmental imperatives.

SGP’s primary stakeholders are the poor and vulnerable communities that
are most at risk because they depend on access to natural resources for
their livelihoods and often live in fragile ecosystems.
The SENRMCAM Project, supported by UNDP and being implemented by
WWF, is managing a small grants scheme. Close to a billion shillings will
be directly given to community based organizations (CBOs) in the districts
of Moroto, Rubirizi, Isingiro, Kasese, Mitooma, Masindi, Abim, Manafwa,
Bududa and Wakiso.


The organisations are engaged in several activities including apiary and
tourism promotion, renewable energy, climate change resilience innovation
and sustainable forest management.

The CBOs went through a competitive process. From a total of 224
proposals received, only 36 emerged finalists. The selected groups have
been equipped with the necessary technical skills to help them manage
their proposed projects successfully.

This is the first phase of the small grants program under this project. A
second phase will be rolled out in 2014 during which other CBOs will be
invited to apply for funding.

Project hosts energy exhibition in Wakiso District

964G6244 The Strengthening Sustainable Environment, Natural Resource Management, Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in Uganda Project on March 19th 2013 held an exhibition of Renewable Energy Technologies in Wakiso district. The aim of the exhibition was to popularize the adoption of cheaper and more modern sources of energy. An increase in adoption of these technologies will help minimise climate change impacts.

Uganda has a lot of biomass resources and wastes which are generated in big quantities both in rural and urban areas.  Biomass and municipal wastes can be converted into useful energy products such as briquettes.  In this regard, with funding from UNDP, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development and WWF trained Community Based Organisations (CBOs) in Wakiso in 2012 to promote energy enterpr964G6277ises.

The CBOs were also supported with basic energy equipment to start or expand their enterprises. Some of the enterprises include charcoal briquetting from waste, making of interlocking bricks and biogas production. Through these enterprises many youths, women and men are now employed. The people who visited the stalls and interacted with the exhibitors left with knowledge of these energy technologies.

At the exhibition, the CBOs which include Kitaasa Initiatives Wakiso (KIIWA), Community Transformation Initiatives (COTRI), Kavumba Women’s Guild, Wakiso Parish Youths of Apostolate (WAPYA) and Kyebando Energy and Environment Project (KEEP), showcased, marketed and sold their products. The project helped to produce awareness raising material such brochures and banners for these CBOs.

Many other stakeholders in the energy sector were invited to exhibit their clean energy products.

The exhibition coincided with the Earth Hour campaign which calls for a global stand against climate change impacts. The chief guest planted an Earth Hour tree in support of the campaign.964G6541

For more information contact

Lauch of Karambi Sec. School biogas unit

WWF-UCO in collaboration with funding from UNDP will on October 17th, 2012 launch the construction of Karambi Secondary School’s biogas system in Buhuna Village, Bwera region of Kasese district. This is one of the activities of the Strengthening Sustainable Environment and Natural Resource Management, Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in Uganda project.

At the lauch, a team from The Centre for Research in Energy and Energy Conservation (CREEC) will sensitize community leaders about biogas technology and its benefits to institutions and homes through an interactive discussion.

This discussions will be led by a CREEC biogas specialist and the award winning 2011 World Wide Fund Youth Environment Achiever, Vianney Tumwesigye. He will educate participants about the requirements for one to acquire a biogas system for household and institutional use.

Come and learn about biogas technology!

Date: October 17th 2012

Venue: Karambi Secondary School Main Hall

Time: 9:00am – 12:00pm.