World Wetlands Day 2005 -- Kenya

15/02/2005

LAKE JIPE CONSERVATION INITIATIVE: CO-ORDINATION OF THE UNDP/GEF/SGP SUPPORTED PROJECTS, TAVETA DIVISION, TAITA TAVETA DISTRICT

WORLD WETLANDS DAY REPORT

SUBMITTED BY THE
EAST AFRICAN WILDLIFE SOCIETY
TO
RAMSAR CONVENTION

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

The East African Wild Life Society would like to acknowledge the following people and institutions for their excellent support during the World Wetlands Day celebration.

1. Tugurane Womens Group for convening the event.
2. All CBOs and the local administration for their representation and participation.
3. Dr. Edgar Kaeslin from UNDP for his attendance.

LIST OF ACRONYMS
UNDP United Nations Environment Programme
GEF Global Environment Facility
SGP Small Grants Programme
CBO Community Based Organisation
EAWLS East African Wild Life Society
NGOs Non Governmental Organizations


1.0 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This report presents the proceedings and outcomes of the world wetlands day celebration, which was held at Mata Center in Jipe location on the 2nd February 2005. Tugurane Womens Group convened the event, in conjunction with East African Wild Life Society. This is one of the CBOs involved in the Lake Jipe conservation initiative, which received funding from the UNDP/GEF/SGP, and is in charge of Advocacy and governance issues. One of its key components is Education and awareness in the community. Some of the CBOs and NGOs represented include Jipe Farmers Association, TRUE Kenya, Jipe Lake Youth Group. Also present were members of the administration and heads from different schools. A representative of from UNDP was also in attendance. 50 community members attended the event.

The event provided the attendants with an interactive forum to meet, talk and discuss about the significance of the World Wetlands Day.

Education and awareness was transmitted through use of flip charts, videotapes, lectures and posters.

During the event the EAWLS Deputy Director, Mr. Hadley Becha, gave a brief introduction regarding the World Wetlands Day and later all the participants introduced themselves. There was a video presentation, an introduction on the meaning and importance of wetlands as well as entertainment from the Tugurane Womens Group.

2.0 EVENT PROCEEDINGS

The event covered the following
1. Event introduction
2. Detailed introduction per participant
3. Opening remarks
4. Video presentation
5. Entertainment from The Tugurane Womens Group
6. Vote of thanks

2.1 Event Introduction
The event began with a word of prayer from a member of the Tugurane womens group.

2.2 Detailed introduction per participant.
Participants in the celebrations took this opportunity to introduce themselves and institutions they represent to necessitate better discussions.

2.3 Opening Remarks
The EAWLS team facilitated this session.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Hadley Becha thanked the participants for making time to attend the event. He then gave a brief history about the Ramsar convention on wetlands of international importance, which was created in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar where a number of governments signed an international treaty, the convention on Wetlands, with the purpose of promoting conservation and sustainable use of these habitats. Kenya became a signatory to the convention in 1990. He went ahead and explained the theme of this years World Wetlands day which is "Biological and Cultural Diversity of Wetlands" and the slogan is "There is Wealth in Wetlands Diversity do not lose it".

The facilitators explained the meaning of the word wetlands according to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International importance. Participants were also informed about the importance and significance of wetlands.

2.4 Video presentation
At this time participants watched three different videotapes, each with a different theme:

1. The joy of partnership - This video tape shows presentation of cheques to selected CBOs and NGOs by UNDP/GEF/SGP and also emphasizes the importance of collaboration among the administration, NGOs and CBOs
2. The Ramsar Convention on wetlands - This videotape emphasized on the importance of wetlands, as a source of water, food, economic development, biodiversity social and natural assets. It also explained the threats facing wetlands and possible solutions to ensure proper use and management of wetlands.
3. Wetlands Water and Sustainability - This video shows features on different wetlands around the world, which have been restored, and also those that have received Ramsar conservation awards. These include Lake Naivasha, Danube river basin, Banrock station and Chilika Lake. By watching the video the participants feel encouraged that efforts to restore lakes are being carried out worldwide and also seeing restored wetlands gives them more hope and encouragement.


2.5 Entertainment from Tugurane Womens Group
Members from the group sang two songs emphasizing the importance of environmental conservation.

2.6 Vote of thanks
Mr. Brown Kazi acknowledged the fact that they did not know about the world wetlands day and they would mark it on their calendar of events. He thanked the participants for attending the celebration and closed with a word of prayer.

3.0 CONCLUSION

The importance of the EAWLS celebrating the world wetlands day at Mata sub location was to create further awareness on the significance and importance of wetlands due to the presence of Lake Jipe, which is highly threatened by human activities such as deforestation, land clearing and extraction, poor farming methods, irrigation and overstocking. By creating awareness and educating the community members a change in attitude and perception is expected and thus a change in behaviour and practices, which endanger the wetland resource, will be reduced. It is important for community members to realise that wetlands support a myriad of cultures and therefore need to be well looked after.

"There's wealth in wetland diversity
- don't lose it!"

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