The role of communication in environmental management and conservation in Kenya: a case study of Nyanturago water catchment area in Kisii county
Menge, Stephen N
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The purpose of this study was to find out the role of communication in environmental management and conservation at Nyanturago Water Catchment in Kisii County. This was because, out of 22 water springs at the wetland, four had dried up forcing the residents to travel long distances in search of the precious commodity. Eucalyptus trees have been criticized for consuming a lot of water draining the wetland and reducing water volume at Nyanturago River prompting its rehabilitation. The study engaged 40 farmers in FGDs from four sub-locations of Nyamecheo, Kabos, Kiemenyinga and Kirwa and examined their knowledge on environmental conservation especially about eucalyptus trees. Six key informants from NEMA, KEFRI, WRMA, KFS, Agriculture and the Chairman of the rehabilitation program were interviewed to ascertain their knowledge on environmental conservation and how they passed the information to the affected area. They were selected through purposive sampling because they had the required information for the study. The study found out that NEMA implemented the rehabilitation project without fully engaging other actors such as KFS and Agriculture departments. There was therefore, lack of coordination among relevant actors towards the rehabilitation project to restore the wetland. Top- bottom approach was used by the implementers of the rehabilitation project which the study found unacceptable to the beneficiaries. Implementers employed casuals to cut down the eucalyptus trees and purchased recommended tree seedlings for them. The study revealed that the tree seedlings were planted on the affected farms by casuals who did not do it well. Farmer.s were not given time to internalise the idea before acting on it. The study was guided by two theories namely the two step- flow theory and the diffusion of innovation theory as knowledge on environmental conservation and management was crucial in effecting the desired change in the community.