In order to contribute to sustainable biodiversity conservation in general and crane conservation in particular, we have provided training to the local community and provided material support for nature conservation club office construction in school compounds in Jimma area of Ethiopia.
Trainings: We have proved capacity building trainings on wetland and cranes conservation to improve local community participation in conservation activities. The training participants were drawn from wetland users, farmers who have land adjacent to wetland habitats and school nature conservation club members. A total of 132 community members (62 from farmers, and 70 from students) participated in this training program. The training was provided at various times in different places and focused on activities that enhance both conservation and income generations (livelihood). The core theme of the training includes;
• Ecological, economic and social values wetland habitats. Example, flood control, climate change and drought adaptation
• Ways of community involvement in wetland conservation and restoration
• Wetland based socioeconomic activities contributes both for sustainable conservation and income generation. For example: fish rearing, source of water for livestock in dry season, bee keeping in buffer zones, fruit trees planting in buffer zone, cutting grass (papyrus) for different uses, city park development
Material support to club: in order to strengthen environment and nature conservation clubs at schools we have provided material (e.g. 62 roof tins – 31 for each) support for club office construction in two school compounds. In one school, the office was constructed and in the other materials was supplied. The offices are supposed to be used by club members to conduct meetings and store materials for conservation advocacy work in their respective community.
Field monitoring: for proper monitoring for crane population, wetland grazing pressure and breeding grounds two students from nature conservation club were recruited for data collection at breeding sties. We have engaged students intentionally to inspire and to improve their understanding on crane and wetland situated near their schools. After providing adequate orientations on data collection processes, the students undertook data collection for the last five months.
The field monitoring result on crane population showed crane population is decreased during prolonged dry seasons while livestock population graze on wetland highly increases.
Finally, we would like to extend our thanks to The Rufford Foundation for financing this work.
Article by Abebayehu Aticho