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.

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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.

The contour hedgerows that tamed Bududa run-off

Elgon Natural Resources Environmental Networkers in Bududa has constructed 7.5km of contour hedgerows to minimise run-off and soil erosion in Bukigayi sub-county, Bududa. Landslides disasters are frequent in Bududa mostly because the high population density forced people to settle on steep slopes. Deforestation and degradation of the land increased the risk of landslides.

The runoff in Bukigayi was affecting 400 people. It was so powerful that it killed children and animals. After the intervention by this group, the runoff has stopped, the vegetation cover is growing and the soil fertility is improving. The road has grass and vehicles can drive uphill without sliding.

Mr. James Wakhatala, a local farmer, said the runoff would uproot his crops. At harvest he would get only 10kgs of coffee from his plot of land. After he dug hedgerows he now gets 30kgs from the same land. He says he can pick greens and cassava which was not possible with the runoff.

James Wakhatala digging up hedgerows in his banana plantation

James Wakhatala digging up hedgerows in his banana plantation

There was a problem of selecting which sub-county to support. “44% of Bududa has the problem,” said Mr. Michael Musamali, District Natural Resource Officer, Bududa district. He adds, “This was a demonstration. People in Bumakuma Parish have already started digging up hedgerows (on their land) because they now have the skills and can dig effective hedgerows.

Along the edges of the contours, the farmers have planted elephant grass which they feed to the cows.

The hedgerows now benefit about 16,000 people in Bukigayi.

Namasho Women start biogas use in Bududa

The group of 40 women has constructed six biogas digesters of 6 cubic meter capacity for 8 households. These can light two lamps and two stoves. The households have 8 members on average.

“Before the biogas I used a bundle of firewood daily costing 5,000 shs and 300 milliliters of paraffin costing 1,500 shs,” said Ms. Zipporah Wamoto, the chairperson of the group. “Now I use only one bundle of firewood a week and 300ml of paraffin lasts a week.” She adds, “I don’t cut trees as often as I used to. We use the slurry in our plantation as fertilizer. Money is used to do other things like pay school fees.”

“It is cleaner, easier and faster to cook, especially boiling tea,” said another beneficiary. “My husband can now boil his own water for bathing and his tea. He was skeptical when I brought up the idea of biogas but today he likes it and is the one who feeds the digester with cow dung. I can cook tea and entertain my guests at the same time without smelling of smoke.”

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Namasho Women Group is in the process of giving out 6,000 tree seedlings of grevalia and mango to 100 households.

Environmental and socio-economic benefits

  • The families with biogas are now using less firewood and say they are cutting down fewer trees.
  • The slurry is a high quality fertilizer and fodder for animals.
  • There is a decrease in respiratory illnesses and eye infections that are caused by smoke from firewood and tadooba.
  • Homes are more hygienic

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

Job Opportunities at WWF Uganda

pandaWorld Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is one of the world’s largest independent and experienced Conservation organizations operating in over 100 Countries in the world. WWF UCO with funding from the European Union is implementing the “Sustainable Financing of the Rwenzori Mountains National Park (RMNP) Project Uganda” a project aimed at promoting sustainable conservation financing within the Rwenzori Landscape. The Project will be implemented in partnership with the mandated Government Institutions, Civil Society Organizations, the private sector and communities within the Rwenzori Landscape.
WWF UCO is seeking for experienced and talented individuals in various professions named below to work with the above named project in Kasese. In addition to the job specific qualifications, all candidates should adhere to the WWF values of being knowledgeable, Optimistic, Determined and Engaging.

1. Project Manager
The Project Manager will ensure the delivery of sustainable provision of ecosystem services and similar initiatives from WWF’s partners in the Rwenzori Mountains Landscape, in Kasese, Kabarole, Ntoroko and Bundibugyo Districts aligning them with the WWF Country Programme activities in the area.
Qualifications & Skills: Master’s of Science degree or equivalent training in Environmental Economics, Natural Resource Management or related field.
Reports to: Programme Coordinator. Supervises: All Project Staff.

2. Finance & Administration Officer
Under the direct supervision of the Project Manager, and technically to the Financial Analyst, the Project Finance and Administration Officer will be responsible for budgeting and financial reporting of the project activities.
Qualification & Skills: Bachelor’s degree in Accounting or equivalent professional qualification. Minimum 5years work experience.
Reports to: Project Manager. Supervises: Project Receptionist, Driver and Messenger.

3. Monitoring & Evaluation Officer
The Monitoring & Evaluation Officer (M&EO) will implement the Monitoring & Evaluation strategy of WWF UCO and related activities in support of the WWF UCO Conservation Programme.
Qualification & Skills: Bachelor’s degree in Ecology, Sociology, Economics, Monitoring & Evaluation. Minimum 3 years’ work experience. Reports to: Project Manager.

4. Communications’ Officer:

The Communications’ Officer will develop and implement the project’s communication strategy, raise awareness of the project activities and coordinate with key stakeholders.
Qualification & Skills: Bachelors’ Degree or equivalent in Information, Communication or related field.
Reports to: Project Manager.

5. Field Officers (2): The Field Officers will be responsible for oversight and facilitation of field activities carried out by (i) Local Governments (ii) Local Communities and (iii) Project Partners.
Qualifications & Skills: Bachelor’s degree in Sustainable Development, Ecology, Biology, Geography any other relevant field.
Reports to: Project Manager.

6. Receptionist: The Receptionist is responsible for the proper handling of the front desk, ensuring all incoming and out-going calls are attended to in addition to professionally attending to the organization’s guests.
Qualification & Skills: Diploma in Secretarial Studies with a good Ordinary Level Certificate.
Reports to: Project Finance & Administration.

7. Project Driver
The Project Driver will provide full time driving and vehicle maintenance services to the project. S/he will be responsible for transporting authorized personnel, deliver and collect mail and other documents as required.
Qualification & Skills: Ordinary level Certificate of Education with a valid driving permit and a clean driving record. Reports to: Project Finance & Administration Officer

8. Messenger:
The Project Messenger will be responsible for the general office cleanliness. Ensuring that the office ambience is clean and neat at all times. Working with the administration function, the Messenger will handle minor repairs around the office; handle basic secretarial work like photocopying. Internally, the position will work with the Project Finance and Administration Officer.
Qualification & Skills: Ordinary Level certificate of Education. Training in Office Practice and Management is desired. Knowledge of the local language is desired.
Reports to: Project Finance and Administration Officer.
Suitable candidates should forward their cover letter, curriculum vitae and academic transcripts to the:

People Development Manager, WWF Uganda, at kampala@wwfuganda.org, or WWF Uganda Country Office,
Plot 2 Sturrock Road, P.O. Box 8758, Kampala, no later than 29th January 2014.

Only shortlisted candidates shall be contacted.
WWF is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to having a diverse workforce