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Kenya

Wasini Island

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Conservation benefit: Protection of 1,236 acres of mangrove forests for a minimum of 10 years

Community benefit: Repair and construction of water collection and storage tanks

Date Approved: 06.2008

Mangroves

This project protects mangroves, which trap more CO2 than any other kind of forest and as a result, slow global warming.

Wasini Island, approximately 53 miles south of Mombasa City, Kenya, has approximately 2,500 inhabitants. The island has extensive mangrove forests covering 1,236 acres. The mangroves provide some protection to the nearby Kisite Marine Park as well as to the surrounding Mpunguti Marine Reserve. Both of those protected areas include extensive coral reefs with myriad ecologically significant fish, as well as seven species of dolphins, humpback whales, whale sharks, water birds, and turtles. But increasing demand for land, to build on or to farm, threatens the mangrove forests.

The island has no natural source of freshwater. As a result, the residents subsist on brackish water or water brought in containers from the mainland, which is very expensive. Seacology will fund the rehabilitation of three concrete water collection and storage tanks, and construction of two new tanks. In return, the communities will demarcate, protect, and manage a 1,236-acre mangrove forest, in partnership with the Kenya Forest Authority.

 

Project Updates

August 2019

Seacology personnel visited the site this summer. The Seacology-built cistern is used daily by members of the community and is in good condition, though the roof is showing signs of age. The roof Seacology funded for the existing cistern is in excellent condition. The mangrove forest remains well-protected and local merchants have set up shops along the boardwalk there to sell handcrafted items to visiting tourists, generating a source of income for the community.

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January 2016

In 2015, Seacology approved a maintenance grant for urgent repairs to the water tanks and catchment basin, which were cracked. Repairs to the water tanks have now been completed.

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June 2011

According to East Africa Field Representative Dishon Murage, a draft management plan has been produced covering the mangrove forest, as well as an extended marine area, which now includes a closed and sustainable fisheries area. The total protected area is now bigger because the community decided to include the marine waters around the island as part of the protected area with additional funding support from another source. Both the mangrove forest and the marine area are now incorporated under a draft management plan produced through consultations with the community, government and other relevant stakeholders culminating in a stakeholders workshop held in early March. Dishon visited the project on April 6 to evaluate the performance of the Seacology-constructed tanks, particularly since Kenya has been experiencing a prolonged drought. The tanks had performed exceptionally well, being the only source of fresh water for the community for most of the early part of the year after all the other tanks exhausted their supply in November. However, the tanks were empty by the time of Dishon’s April visit. The community mentioned that since the construction and rehabilitation of the new cisterns, the number of new infrastructural developments has gone up, evidenced by several multi-storied building coming up in the village, with ensuing demands for fresh water.

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January 2011

The water tanks are all full following recent rains and currently being used by the community. This year the community did not need to purchase fresh water for home consumption and they believe the new tanks, together with the rehabilitated ones, have enough storage for eight months. Through the women’s group, the community has also initiated efforts towards establishing an apiary within the forest to generate income through conservation efforts, and so far a total of 150 bee hives have been purchased. It is noteworthy that this could not have been achieved if the forest had not been established as a community forest.

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July 2010

Field representative Dishon Murage reports that the Wasini community received funding from the Japanese government Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Securities Project to build additional water cisterns for nearby Mkwiro Village. This funding was only made available to the community based on the performance of the Seacology funded project. In addition, sign posts were installed on all the Seacology funded water cisterns to recognize the support provided by Seacology to Wasini Village for assisting them solve the perennial freshwater shortage.

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December 2009

Rehabilitation and construction of the water tanks funded by Seacology was successfully completed. The tanks were inspected by officers from the Ministry of Water and a certificate of completion was issued. Currently the surrounding mangrove forest covering five square kilometers remains protected, and various meetings were held in the village in September, October and November to define the process of forming a Wasini Community Forest Association to manage the forest.

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June 2009

As of April 2009, the rehabilitation of existing tanks is 100% complete, including the construction of a catchment area, security wall and gutters; construction of the new tank is 75% complete and the rehabilitation of the Wasini Womens Eco-Tourism Boardwalk is 40% complete. The mangrove forest remains protected and various meetings have been held in the village by the Assistant Chief to inform villagers that no harvesting or cutting of the mangroves is allowed. In addition the initial commitment by Seacology to protect the fragile coastal resources of Wasini Island has enabled leverage for additional funding from the government on a larger scale to protect both coastal and marine resources for islands in the south coast. Development Director Susan Racanelli will visit this project in June 2009.

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January 2009

The project began in September 2008. As of November 2008, the community had formed a Project Implementation Committee, identified the site for a new water tank, replaced asbestos roofing with safer roofing materials at the existing water collection and storage tank area, and hired a contractor to begin work on the new water tank construction and existing tank rehabilitation.

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