Local Associations Championing Wetland Protection

1799 Views Sheema, Uganda

In short
Hassan Niwajuna, the chairperson of Katwe Wetland management Association, says the beginning was not easy but people started appreciating their efforts after realizing that a small group of residents were depleting the natural resources at the expense of the entire community.

The establishment of wetland management associations in Masheruka Sub County in Sheema district has reduced encroachment on wetlands and forest reserves. They include Nyakambu and Katwe wetland management associations. The associations work in collaboration with sub county authorities, National Environment Management Authority and other well-wishers who include Nile breweries and Coca-Cola.
 
 
Each association is comprised of 25 members, who are tasked with educating and sensitizing their communities on how best to protect the environment. They also report to the authorities community members involved in environmental degradation and seek reinforcement. Now, the association boasts of having successfully managed to restore Nyakambu wetland which drains into River Rwizi after it was turned by residents into a farmland.

 
 
Joseph Kaijuka is a member of Nyakambu wetland management association. According to Kaijuka, following their sensitisation campaign residents decided to abandon their activities in the swamp. He says that they received support from the National Environmental Management authority, Nile breweries and Coca cola. He discloses that they also received over Shillings 13 million, which they currently disburse to community members in forms of soft loans to set up income generating activities and boost their earnings.
 
 
Hassan Niwajuna, the chairperson of Katwe Wetland management Association, says the beginning was not easy but people started appreciating their efforts after realizing that a small group of residents were depleting the natural resources at the expense of the entire community. He says they approach those found encroaching on the protected areas and ask them to vacate voluntarily.
 
 
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Niwajuna says it is unfortunate that authorities in the neighboring Mbarara district have not taken up the initiative yet River Rwizi benefits communities in both districts. Jeconious Musingwire, the focal person National Environmental Management Authority in Ankole sub region, says residents are playing a big role in protecting the environment.
 
 
According to Musingwire, there are plans to extend the initiative to Mbarara district where the protection Zone for River Rwizi is being threatened by human activities. During his visit to Sheema District on Tuesday last week, Sam Cheptoris, the Water and Environment Minister, said it is important to extend the initiative to other districts especially Mbarara.
 

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Tagged with: environment

About the author

Anthony Kushaba
For Anthony Kushaba, journalism is not just a job; it is a calling. Kushaba believes journalism is one of the few platforms where the views of the oppressed and margainalised can be heard. This is what his journalism aims to do: bring to light untold stories.

Kushaba is the Mbarara region URN bureau chief. Mitooma, Ntungamo, Bushenyi, Sheema, Isingiro, and Kiruhura districts fall under his docket. Kushaba has been a URN staff member since 2012.

Kushaba is a journalism graduate from Uganda Christian University Study Centre at Bishop Barham College in Kabale. Before joining URN, Kushaba worked with Voice of Kigezi (2008), Bushenyi FM (2010) and later on to Voice of Muhabura.

Kushaba's journalism interests centre on conflict, peace and electoral reporting. Kushaba occasionally writes on tourism, health, religion and education. He describes himself as highly driven and will pursue a tip until it yields a story.