World Wetlands Day Celebration
International World Wetlands Day 2nd February 2017, was held with the joint effort of Green Africa Global Foundation and Shakhes Pajouh Research Institute in slum area Riruta HGM primary school in Nairobi, Kenya. This event was to reflect on the importance of wetlands and sustain-able livelihoods, especially for local communities and schools as well as to sanitize the locals on their actions towards their environment.
The event was opened by the chairperson of Green Africa Global Foundation, Mrs. Hamideh Hashemi, who explained that The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. It is also known as the Convention on Wetlands. It is named after the city of Ramsar in Iran, where the Convention was signed in 1971. She mentioned, the convention entered into force in Kenya on 5th October 1990. Kenya currently has 6 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites), with a surface area of 265,449 hectares.
She added Every three years, representatives of the Contracting Parties meet as the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP), the policy-making organ of the Convention which adopts decisions (Resolutions and Recommendations) to administer the work of the Convention and improve the way in which the Parties are able to implement its objectives. The List of Wetlands of International Importance included 2,231 Ramsar Sites as of March 2016 covering over 2.1 million square kilometers. The country with the highest number of Sites is the United Kingdom with 170, and the country with the greatest area of listed wetlands is Bolivia, with over 140,000 square kilometers.
Then Mr. David Wandabi from Kenya organization of environmental education (KOEE), shared with the students his knowledge about what NGO’s are, how they operate and what is their main purpose of existence. He also talked about what kind of wetlands there are around Kenya and the ways in which they are being destroyed like waste (oils, plastic bags and bottles etc) dumping in and around these wetlands.
He also mentioned the frequency of disasters World wide has more than doubled in just 35 years, driven by climate and weather related hazards like flooding, tropical cyclones and droughts.
Mr. Raphael Omonid from World Animal Protection (WAP) explained in a very interactive and engaging way about the importance of wetlands and their correlation with wildlife and endangered species in and around Kenya, how these animal need the wetlands as watering holes to survive, as well as the types of resources we get from wetlands such as rice and fish. He emphasized on one of the best known functions of wetlands that is to provide a habitat for birds.
He also mentioned key points on how we need to change the environmental conditions in Kenya to better protect the wetlands and their surrounding by spreading the message to friends and family where ever they may be.
Dr. Mary Otieno from Regional Center Expertise Greater Nairobi also shared her knowledge and experience by explaining how all the rivers in Kenya make up part of the wetlands, how over time, rivers and streams meander to create wide, silted floodplains. If these are left intact with their related inland lakes and swamps, they can act as a giant reservoir.
Mr. Krimi the head of Riruta HGM primary school 4 K club, also shared the meaning behind the 4 K club which is Kufanya(to do), ku-ungana(to join), Kujenga(to build), Kenya. This club has 23 students where they do a lot of green activities in the school area.
He explained all the activities that they do with the 4 K club such as agriculture and fishing.