THE ORIGIN OF COSMER-LAV
COSMER LAV is set against a backdrop of unprecedented development challenges, problems and issues in all fronts, which variably threaten Lake Victoria as an ecosystem. Such problems include but not limited to Poverty; Pollution and waste Water disposal; Degradation of water quality, Poor ecological sanitation and domestic rain-water and well-water management systems; Poor land use management systems; Degradation of wetlands, Over exploitation of fisheries resources; Eutrophication resulting in increased algae production and spread of water hyacinth and other weeds; and Lack of adequate institutional and technical capacities.
COSMER-LAV phase I was implemented between 2005 and 2008 in collaboration with partner organizations in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania with financial support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). It had the following components:
1. Industrial waste management and pollution control
2. Ecological sanitation
3. Capacity building
The above problems and challenges facing Lake Victoria basin are not any different from what they were a decade ago. However the role of OSIENALA has become even more critical now and will remain so in the coming years. As a result of new knowledge and strategies for addressing the problems, OSIENALA, through the COSMER-LAV programme, intended to provide interventions that will assist in restoring the Lake Victoria environment and ensure sustainable utilization of its resources. OSIENALA implemented some components of COSMER-LAV in collaboration with partner organizations that are legally registered and operating in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. OSIENALA, as the lead organization, coordinated all activities and shouldered the overall responsibilities (financial management, accountability, supervision and reporting).
1. Growing number of people using ecological sanitation facilities in the region. The community and households are slowly accepting and are willing to adopt ecosan and utilize its products for farming activities. Over 60 masons and other community members were trained as ecosan artisans in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The trainees are using their knowledge to promote ecosan and transferring skills to other artisans at the community level.
A community member with a locally constructed ecosan toilet in Nyamasaria, Dunga, Kenya
Community members viewing the locally built ecosan in Dunga, Kisumu, Kenya
Rainwater ferro-cement tank constructed at Rachuonyo
Wetland constructed by ACFC in Muhoroni
3. Establishment of Village Environmental Committees (VECs) that have encouraged local farmers to use industrial and ecosan by-products for improved agricultural productivity.
Banana crop improvement through use of ecosan product in Mwanza, the left banana has been grown without any manure while the one on the right ecosan products have been used
Tree grown using ecosan products in Rachuonyo, KenduBay, Kenya by a members of Tang’lweti Women Group
Collection of the manure ready for use in the farm
Members of the households at the demonstration plot.
4. Improvement of the capacities of CBOs and NGOs to efficiently manage their organizations and effectively run their programmes
Participants at the official opening of the fourth NGO training session that was officially opened by Dr. Tom Okurut, Secretary General, Lake Victoria Basin Commission
5. Increased community awareness on the need and how best to protect the environment.
6. Enhancement of environmental education in Schools
Students on an education tour board MV Nyanam (left) and learning about the charcoal cooler (right)
7. The ability of households to generate additional income through the sale of water and vegetables so as to supplement their household needs can easily be achieved. In Dunga and Nyamasaria in Kenya, households were able to raise Ksh 300 per week through sale of vegetables.
Dr. Obiero Ong’anga Executive Director OSIENALA and Prof John Shiundu- Board member OSIENALA inspecting a water Kiosk in Makindye, Uganda
8. The programme has enabled linkage of the community with other stakeholders such as researchers, technical staff from other CSOs as well as from government departments.
9. The programme has not only brought the various partners in the programme to work together but has also enabled the collaboration of the partners with other stakeholders not directly involved in the implementation of the programmes activities such as National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) in Uganda; Mwanza City Council in Tanzania; Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), SANA International in Kenya
10. Increased HIV/AIDS awareness and reduced stigma associated with HIV/AIDS through airing of HIV/AIDS radio programmes on Radio Lake Victoria. The radio has a reach of over 3 million people around the lake region.
11. The programme offered scholarships at the postgraduate (PhD and masters level) and on various short courses. Scholarships offered were one PhD, 3 masters and 9 short courses in local universities and colleges.
However, though OSIENALA has achieved national, regional and international reputation for it efforts, these activities have not reached a self-sustaining stage and so more effort should be made to make sure that the gains are not lost. For this reason, the second phase of COSMER-LAV will endeavor to realize these goals.
COSMER-LAV: PHASE II
PROGRAMME SCOPE AND OBJECTIVES
Due to the importance of Rwanda and Burundi as catchment areas, COSMER-LAV II will include these countries therefore cover all five East Africa Community countries.
“Restoration of the Lake Victoria Basin and sustainable livelihoods of communities residing therein”.
The Purpose is “Reduced environmental and ecological degradation and sustainable management of natural resources by empowered communities”
COSMER-LAV II, is designed to deliver three specific outcomes that collectively cover the overall purpose. These are:
1. Strengthened environmental management practices and protection of the Lake Victoria Basin by communities and other targeted institutions.
2. HIV/AIDs infected/affected people living in dignity
3. Strengthened capacities of NGOs/CBOs and other institutions working in the L. Victoria Basin.
The above outcomes will be realized through activities that are grouped into the following four broad categories:
1. Ecological Sanitation (lobbying for policies, construction of ecosan toilets, training of artisans and promotion of use of by-products)
2. HIV/AIDS (education through information dissemination and field visits)
3. Strengthening of VECs and other targeted institutions (formation of more VECs, Training of VEcs, establishment and support of tree nurseries, information on and rehabilitation of degraded land, VEC-based industrial desludging groups, lobbying for suitable laws)
4. Network Capacity building (NGO capacity building training, Environmental education materials, VEC meetings, cross visits, scholarships and steering committee meetings)
Advocacy and lobbying for policies that will enhance environmental protection, judicious exploitation of resources and poverty reduction are integrated in all the activities.
PROJECT OUTCOMES AND ACTIVITIES
The programme activities will be implemented under a multidisciplinary partnership approach. Specifically the programme will implement the following activities under each outcome:
Outcome 1: Strengthened environmental management practices and protection of the Lake Victoria Basin by communities and other targeted institutions.
The following will be the activities under this outcome:
• Formation of VECs in areas that are prone to or affected by soil erosion, mining activities (sand, soil, minerals etc) to address soil degradation and other related issues as outlined herein.
• Support to VECs to establish community-based industrial waste management activities such as desludging, utilization of industrial wastes.
• Development of artificial wetlands.
• Control of soil erosion on slopes by building stoppers across already identified degraded lands.
• River bank management to control soil siltation (run-off bankers etc) by protecting and developing wetlands in the vicinity of river banks.
• Afforestation on degraded land (e.g. establishment of community tree nurseries, on-farm forestation, quarries)
• Awareness creation on impact of artisinal mining including sand and stone quarrying and brick making within the lake region;
• Collection of data in collaboration with reputable institutions on the extent of this activity in the lake region.
• Development, protection and management of natural water points such as springs and wells.
• Production and dissemination of promotional and educational materials such as documentary video films and regular news bulletins.
• Provision of temporary ecosan facilities at annual events such as religious festivals, agricultural shows or any other event in the region.
• Training of ecosan artisans and provision of opportunities for them to be engaged by communities.
• Extensive cost-sharing installation of ecosan toilets in homes, churches, schools, colleges, fish-landing beaches and slum areas in urban and peri-urban settlements.
• Diversification of the use of ecosan by-products e.g. for energy generation, soil conditioning etc.
• Detailed economic analysis of ecosan and the study of the impact on food production and general community welfare.
The outputs expected form these activities are the following;
• Improved ecological sanitation practices.
• Improved land, river and water resources management.
• Reduced soil erosion.
• Improved pollution and waste management practices.
Outcome 2: HIV/AIDs infected/affected people living in dignity
The level of awareness on possible causes of AIDS is reasonably high in the region but the steps that need to be taken after infection are still not well understood by most people and still not clearly informed on the social responsibility and re-integration of those respectively affected and infected. The activities to deal with these issues will be:
• Radio programmes on HIV/AIDS.
• Integrating HIV/AIDs within the other components of the programme including personal interaction and involvement between social workers and these groups.
The expected outputs from these activities are:
• Reduced stigma associated with HIV/AIDS
• Enhanced incomes for HIV/AIDs infected people
• Enhanced nutritional status for HIV/AIDs infected people
• Enhanced hygiene and sanitation for HIV/AIDs infected people
Outcome 3: Strengthened capacities of NGOs/CBOs and other institutions working in the Lake Victoria Basin
The specific activities under this task will include the following:
• Organization of regular NGO capacity building training courses.
• Awarding of scholarships given to employees of partner organizations to pursue the proposed special postgraduate programme at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST).
• Establishment of environmental education programme for student visitors from schools and colleges and also information dissemination through radio programmes, regular bulletins etc
• Coordinated lobbying and advocacy for harmonized natural resource management policies in the region.
• Formation and facilitation of COSMER-LAV’s regional steering committee meetings
• General VECs meetings and regional cross visits (learning visits) involving communities, industries and partners
• In order to cover the new East African Community member states of Rwanda and Burundi, OSIENALA will identify at least two partner organizations in each of these countries to implement various projects under COSMER-LAV II.
The expected outputs from these activities will be:
• Improved planning, implementation, M&E capacities of NGOs/CBOs, education institutions in environmental projects.
• Improved networking and collaboration efforts amongst NGOs/CBOs in environmental issues.
• Enhanced collaboration and coordination in lobbying and advocacy for issues pertinent to the L. Victoria Basin by NGOs/CBOs.
Linkages with other regional initiatives
COSMER-LAV II is to be implemented as an additional support to other initiatives that are also addressing environmental problems facing Lake Victoria suach as Lake Victoria Environment Management Project (LVEMP II). OSIENALA will work closely with institutions such as, the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC). OSIENALA’S COSMER-LAV activities are designed to not only supplement and support these initiatives but also to bring the grassroots communities to actively participate in the whole process.