National lessons learnt consultancy on wetlands component activities
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National lessons learnt consultancy on wetlands component activities, June 2005
This report presents a critical review of activities carried out by LVEMP Wetlands Component in the last seven years of the project with a view of coming up with lessons learnt form interventions implemented in the entire basin. The thirty-day exercise was based on both primary and secondary data. Various methodologies were used to collect information from project implementers, beneficiaries and other relevant stakeholders including structured and unstructured interviews. Desk review was also carried out on reports accumulated by the wetlands component, literature from libraries of research institutions, universities, government departments and local and international NGO’s. Field visits were made to selected sites where randomly selected beneficiaries were interviewed and investments inspected. Some information was also obtained through direct observation, workshops and informal interviews. Findings show that the component used appropriate methodologies like PRA’s to find an entry point into the communities. Rapid assessments, inventories and market surveys were also conducted to identify and prioritize activities that would best answer problems faced by the community and the wetland resources. In some cases, the beneficiaries were adequately exposed by sponsoring them to various exhibitions and exchange visits. Membership of all the groups was relatively low, some with no experience in the implementation of such projects which compromised their performance. Supervision and intensity of extension services and training were the major contributing factor in the performance of the group. Most of the activities in the buffering capacity subcomponent were performed by a consulting firm. The study contributed very well to our understanding of the buffering role of wetlands in the upper catchment. A gap however, still remains on the role played by the littoral lakeshore wetlands. The overall achievement of the objectives by the component is satisfactory. This is attributed to numerous constraints including the fact that wetland management is a relatively new area and most concepts not easily grasped by a cross section of stakeholders. Others include staffing problems, inadequacy and poor flow of funds, lack of policy framework, inadequate networking and sharing of resources among components.Survey of other institutions within the basin involved in wetlands research, conservation and management revealed the existence of enormous information which could augment the work being done by the component. Establishment of institutional linkages is recommended to help the component exploit the information and benefit from human resource in wetlands and related disciplines. Among the lessons learnt over the project lifetime includes the importance of using appropriate tools and involving the local communities right from the beginning of the projects. The need to emphasize wise use of wetlands, and the immense potential in the use of wetlands and their products to reduce poverty, increase food security and improve standards of living of local communities. Significance of the buffering role of wetlands and the need to integrate wetland conservation issues with provision of alternative livelihoods if we have to protect our wetlands.