Combating environmental degradation in Chania watershed within the Aberdares
In Partnership with Crédit Agricole Suisse Foundation, Green Belt Movement (GBM) is undertaking a project aimed at addressing environmental degradation in Chania watershed within the Aberdares.
The objectives of the project include: supporting rural communities to conserve and restore 150ha of natural ecosystems, provide alternative sources of income and secure future food production.
We have successfully achieved the first and second quarter of the project by mobilizing, educating and informing communities within Chania watershed in Kiambu and Nyandarua Counties about the need to conserve their environment.
During the first phase of the project implementation, GBM successfully mobilized 33 tree nursery groups who have started raising seedlings for planting as one aspect of the project. This has been made possible through awareness creation and community meetings held at 11 sub locations by the project team and hastened by constant follow up by an Extension Officer on the ground. The tree nursery group members have been empowered in advocacy skills and sustainable livelihoods so as to actively participate in project. Majority of the groups have begun raising seedlings in their personal nursery beds in an effort to raise more seedlings for rehabilitation of Chania watershed.
In an effort to strengthen the community’s capacity to manage and conserve their environment, GBM undertook an empowerment and environment education awareness workshop on participatory forest management, farm forestry and good governance. During the training, members of the community first raised their expectations – this acted as a guide for the training sessions. By so doing, the trainers better understood the environmental challenges faced by the community and the team was able to link those challenges and the effects to the environment.
The project team has held separate meetings with different government agencies within Chania watershed so as to enhance collaboration between the community and the agencies to sustainably rehabilitate and conserve the watershed.
During the third and fourth quarter of the project, GBM’s Geographic Information System (GIS) department will undertake a GIS baseline survey to provide satellite imagery of the watershed. This will enable the project team to establish the current status of the ecosystem and to closely monitor rehabilitation activities. The baseline survey will also identify and characterize vegetation types as well as map out the boundary of Chania watershed within Lari, South Kinangop and Gatundu North Constituencies in Nyandarua and Kiambu County. Additionally, this survey will map and assess the distribution of trees, identify the various tree species and the types and extent of vegetation cover in the region so as to establish the vegetation biomass. This data will be used to measure project impacts.
The two-year project will directly impact 2,500 households within the Chania watershed and 200,000 locals dependent on the ecosystem will benefit from improved water quality by December 2016.