The people's river

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A man stands in a field, holding a staff and smiling toward the camera.
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Copyright © 2019
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Bobby Neptune for Winrock International
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Subject: Gordon Mumbo
Location: Mara River, Kenya
Date: July 10, 2018

Gordon Mumbo is team leader for the Sustainable Water Partnership (SWP), USAID’s flagship water program along the Mara River. According to Mumbo, this knowledge-sharing exercise is a two-way street; SWP educates communities on water risk and conservation, while the communities provide invaluable local perspective. It’s not just the atmosphere of transboundary cooperation that sets SWP’s work apart. It’s also the sense of ownership Mumbo and his team are cultivating in the people of the Mara, from community members to government officials to private sector representatives. “The river belongs to the people who live along it,” Mumbo concludes. “They understand the river better than anybody else. They will be able to own it and work with you at sustaining it. If you want to manage the river, you must involve the people.”

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Kenya

Sustainable fishing on Colombia's coast

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Three boats float on deep blue water, with seabirds flying above the boat occupants' heads.
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Copyright © 2019
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ACDI/VOCA
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A group of artisanal fishermen in Bahía Solano, along Colombia’s Pacific coast, learned how to improve their livelihoods while mitigating overfishing through Emprende Pacífico, an initiative implemented by ACDI/VOCA and the Ministry of Labor, in 2016. They learned sustainable fishing techniques, such as ending the practice of dragging large nets that catch all sorts of marine life and limiting the size of fish they capture. The initiative helped reduce conflict, as fishing communities experienced better livelihoods and fewer incentives to turn to informal work, such as drug trafficking, illegal mining, and other illicit activities that continue the cycle of violence.

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Colombia

Preserving land in Niger

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A man shovels sand in a desert area with sand dunes visible in the background.
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Copyright © 2019
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Michael Stulman/Catholic Relief Services
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In Djetkoram village, Catholic Relief Services is distributing cash as part of a Cash-for-Work project, which is helping people from the local community, as well as those who have recently been displaced by Boko Haram violence in Niger. The majority of displaced people are seeking refuge in local communities, putting a strain on already vulnerable host families coping with the affects of climate change and poverty.

Adam Bassaí, 49 years old, works to prevent fertile land from transforming into desert in September of 2016. He and other community members from the village construct barriers along sand dunes using dried plants. In exchange for this work, they receive cash from CRS in Niger. The cash provides an injection of resources that can be used to address a range of needs. With support from USAID-OFDA, this project is helping more than 6,000 households in Diffa, the region of Niger most affected by Boko Haram violence. The cash distributions are also supported by Global Affairs Canada in partnership with Development and Peace (CARITAS Canada).

Photo Country: 
Niger

Building educational trails in Virunga National Park

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A group of men with tools poses for the camera and stands in the shade of a tree.
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Copyright © 2019
Photo Credit: 
Olivia Freeman, U.S. Forest Service International Programs
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The trail rehabilitation crew pose for a photo before heading out for a day of work on the Nyiragongo Volcano trail in Virunga National Park in April 2018. The U.S. Forest Service International Programs, supported by USAID’s Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment, is working with Virunga National Park and local communities to improve tourist hiking trails as well as create a more accessible educational trail up the volcano. This new trail has a low gradient, which will allow local school groups to climb the volcano to promote environmental stewardship. In addition, due to its route, the new trail will also help rangers dissuade illegal charcoal and poaching operations in the park. Building capacity of national park staff to promote ecotourism not only improves visitor experience and creates economic opportunities for neighboring communities, but also puts the park on track for long-term financial stability, an essential step in the long-term protection of these landscapes, and the preservation of the forests within them.

Photo Country: 
Democratic Republic of the Congo

Supporting Ecotourism Development in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo

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In a heavily forested area, three men and one woman huddle together to look at a notebook.
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Copyright © 2019
Photo Credit: 
Olivia Freeman, U.S. Forest Service International Programs
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In May 2018, the U.S. Forest Service International Programs, in partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society and supported by USAID’S Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment, held a birdwatching training to train guides from Kahuzi Biega and Virunga National Parks in bird watching with the aim to diversify tourism activities to attract new types of visitors. Building capacity of national park staff to promote ecotourism not only improves visitor experience and creates economic opportunities for neighboring communities, but also puts the park on track for long-term financial stability, an essential step in the long-term protection of these landscapes, and the preservation of the forests within them.

Photo Country: 
Democratic Republic of the Congo

Supporting Sustainable Tourism Development in Central Africa

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A group of people walk on a heavily forested trail, and the man closest to the camera studies a GPS receiver.
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Copyright © 2019
Photo Credit: 
Eva McNamara, U.S. Forest Service International Programs
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Trail expert Matt Woodson, left, directs the team creating a new trail up Nyiragongo Volcano in Virunga National Park in April 2018. The U.S. Forest Service International Programs, supported by USAID’s Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment, is working with Virunga National Park and local communities to improve tourist hiking trails as well as create a more accessible trail up the volcano. This trail has a low gradient, which will allow local school groups to climb the volcano, and due to its route, will help rangers dissuade illegal charcoal and poaching operations in the park. Building capacity of national park staff to promote ecotourism not only improves visitor experience and creates economic opportunities for neighboring communities, but also puts the park on track for long-term financial stability, an essential step in the long-term protection of these landscapes, and the preservation of the forests within them.

Photo Country: 
Democratic Republic of the Congo

A farmer in Palabek Ogili, Northern Uganda, harvesting greens for an evening meal from her garden

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A female farmer leans over a crop of low plants to harvest some and place them in a metal bowl.
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Copyright © 2019
Photo Credit: 
African Women Rising, Photo by Brian Hodges
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A farmer in Palabek Ogili, Northern Uganda, harvesting greens for an evening meal from her garden.

July 2018. Palabek Ogili, a host community for Palabek Refugee Settlement, Northern Uganda. Incorporating the Resilience Design methodologies of the USAID TOPS/SCALE program.

A host community for refugees from South Sudan, Palabek Ogili has seen pressure on the natural resource base of its community dramatically increase since the opening of Palabek refugee settlement a few years ago. Recognizing that competition for scarce resources between refugees and host community members can lead to even greater conflict and environmental degradation, African Women Rising’s Resilience Design field crop program helps farmers conserve precious water and soil resources as they continue to grow food to feed their families.

Participants in African Women Rising’s agricultural programs learn skills to conserve and manage rainfall, use locally available soil amendments to build soil fertility, and design cropping systems that can provide food and income well into the lean hunger and dry seasons ahead.

Deep soil preparation, proactively ‘banking’ rainwater in the soil through contour swales and berms, mulching the landscape, drought tolerant crop varieties, perennial crops that bear food in the dry season- these are all techniques that help protect key water and soil ecosystem services in the face of a shifting environment.

For more information: https://www.africanwomenrising.org/about-us/agriculture/

Photo Country: 
Uganda