Teaching, communicating, awareness creation, campaigning and training, these are all different strategies that have been employed in the fight for the conservation of wetlands and their resources. People living in proximity to wetland communities are often faced with the temptation to encroach and grab the lands in the wetlands for their own economic gains, not giving any consideration to the flora and faunal diversity in the wetlands and destruction of their habitats.
Among all those people, you occasionally come across the conscious few, the people who take a step back and look at the ecological foot prints that they leave behind with their anthropogenic activities in the wetlands. It is these few individuals that are the stepping stone to making a real difference in the communities, in terms of perception and conservation efforts.
This is a story of model farmers, who act as village hubs for alternative livelihoods innovation. Charles for instance, is a Mzee in Dunga wetland community, when the opportunity to make a difference and to be a part of an impacting educational process to his fellow villagers came along, he grabbed it and is now a successfully established model farmer. He is a very proud owner and ambassador of a heavy plastic biogas digester and an ecosan toilet for composting donated to him as an incentive for the conservation of the papyrus wetland.
Charles hosts different visitors on his farm and homestead and is very enthusiastic about communicating the value of conservation to them and practically showing them how they can use their own excreta and that of their cattle for composting to get better yields in their farms and for clean, environmental and health friendly energy for cooking. showing them how they don’t have to farm in the wetlands and subject their farms to trampling and destruction by wild animals and cutting down trees in the wetlands and their surrounding for cooking for them to be able to support their families.
Most importantly, how adopting these strategies will go a long way towards reducing encroachment in the wetlands and this will be a win win situation for both parties because reduced encroachment will reduce destruction of wildlife habitats and this will inturn help curb human wildlife conflicts.