Assessment of Effectiveness of Community Participation in the Management of Ondiri Swamp, Kiambu County.
Ondiri wetland has experienced multiple pressures from various anthropogenic activities. This study therefore, sought to examine the effectiveness of community participation in the management and conservation of Ondiri wetland in Kiambu County. This included: assessing whether the community members utilize Ondiri wetland sustainably; whether the community is involved in its conservation, finding out the conservation efforts put in place by the community members to protect Ondiri wetland; and based on the results propose sustainable approaches on utilization and management of Ondiri wetland resources. Primary data was collected by means of structured questionnaire, key informants interviews, community based organization leaders and government institutions. The secondary data included perusal of government documents from Kenya Wildlife Service, National Environment Management Authority, University libraries and other existing databases. The probability sampling technique used in this study was stratified random sampling and simple random sampling. In total, 98 households were selected from the four villages by applying (Nasuirma, 2000) model. The study established that Ondiri wetland has been affected by anthropogenic activities such as overgrazing, encroachment for settlement and agriculture, siltation, dumping of wastes and overharvesting of papyrus. For instance, 71.4% of the villagers abstract water from the Ondiri swamp for farming, 14.3% grass harvesting, 7% papyrus reeds harvesting and 2% fetching of firewood. At the same time, 55.1% of the community members were directly involved in conservation activities. These activities include: tree planting, building of gabions to reduce soil erosion and cutting down of eucalyptus trees. On the other hand, 44.9% admitted that they were not involved in any conservation efforts reason being that they were not aware of any activity or were not contacted. Despite the conservation efforts the local community put, there were challenges that hampered with their efforts like inadequate funding and lack of community cooperation hence minimal impact on the ground. Therefore, the study sought to suggest public awareness on the importance of wetlands, introduction of alternative livelihood improvement projects such as fish farming and dairy farming, afforestation exercises and adoption of a clear institutional and legal framework for the management of the wetlands. The study further recommends that NEMA to work with the local community and other stakeholders and come up with a management plan for Ondiri swamp. The research also recommends sustainable management approaches on utilization and conservation of Ondiri ecosystem.
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