Capacity Building in Nigeria through the AEWA Small Grants Fund

Bonn, 20 November 2019 - The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has successfully completed a project on enhancing capacity and raising awareness for waterbird conservation, implemented over the period 2018-2019 with support from the AEWA Small Grants Fund (SGF). Project activities included, among other things, the conduct of waterbird monitoring training sessions and waterbird counts, the development of a schedule for planning waterbird monitoring at identified sites and the establishment of Site Support Groups (SSGs) to sustain future waterbird and habitat conservation activities.
Training activities focused on four target sites in different parts of Nigeria: the Hadejia-Nguru wetlands, Maladumba Lake, Sokoto Rima and Manga (Bal) oasis, where members of neighbouring local communities received training on waterbird counting and identification as well as monitoring of birds and wetlands. The training sessions included lectures and field exercises and also allowed for exchange of information and awareness-raising on the threats to waterbirds and their habitats, which were observed during the field exercises. In addition to local community members, among them farmers, fishermen and youth volunteers, training was also delivered to government representatives from the Nigerian National Parks Service, as well as representatives of local government in the Jigawa State Department of Nature Conservation and the Forestry Departments of Bauchi, Sokoto and Yobe States. In order to maximize impact, the training sessions were delivered in the local language (Hausa). 
To further sustain the outcomes of the training and strengthen local capacity for promoting and conducting future activities for the conservation of waterbirds and their habitat at the target sites, three new SSGs were established at Lake Maladumba, Bal Oasis and Sokoto Rima Basin. The guidelines established for the functioning of the SSGs will help them organize themselves to effectively conduct their activities.

In the framework of the International Waterbird Census and with the help of members of the local community and the SSGs, the project also supported the conduct of waterbird counts at the four target sites in the period of January - February 2018 and 2019. A total of 326,252 birds were counted in 2018, and 543,664 in 2019. The waterbird count results were communicated to different stakeholders from federal government, which are charged with the conservation of these sites, including the Nigerian National Parks Service and the Federal Ministry of Environment, as well as to local government stakeholders and non-governmental institutions. The exercise also revealed the extent of the existing threats to waterbirds, including traps used for poaching and the spread of the invasive typha plant. Other threats to be addressed by the local communities include poisoning of waterbirds with chemicals and the indiscriminate felling of trees.

A stakeholder meeting convened under the project resulted in the establishment of a work plan and schedule of activities for future waterbird monitoring at the target sites.

In addition, the AEWA SGF funding contributed to the organization of World Wetlands Day (WWD) and World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) events, which took place in February and May 2018 in Nguru, in the north-eastern State of Yobe. The events were attended by representatives of local communities as well as national and local government and local NGOs and associations, both from Nguru as well as from the other three target sites. They included field trips to the Dogona waterfowl sanctuary and Nguru Lake, as well as awareness-raising presentations on the value of wetlands and migratory waterbirds. 
The UNEP/AEWA Secretariat would like to congratulate the Nigerian Conservation Foundation on the successful completion of this project and hopes that the positive impacts of this project can be sustained and broadened in the future. 

Further information:

Nigerian Conservation Foundation

Established in 1980, the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) is one of Nigeria’s major conservation NGOs with a wide array of activities relating to nature conservation and sustainable development. NCF is a Partner of BirdLife International. 

AEWA Small Grants Fund

The AEWA Small Grants Fund has so far benefited some 20 governmental and non-governmental organizations in 17 African countries by funding a wide range of conservation projects promoting AEWA implementation in developing countries and countries with economies in transition. The AEWA Small Grants Fund is currently suspended, pending funding. Funding opportunities, when available, will be posted on the AEWA website.  

Last updated on 20 November 2019

News item
Species group: