Namga-Kokorou is a very productive wetland complex surrounded by semi-arid and arid areas of the Sahel. This biodiversity oasis, surrounded by sand dunes and located in an ancient valley of a former tributary of the Niger River, consists mainly of marshes and floodplains.
There is a tremendous amount of biodiversity in the area’s flora and vegetation density, resulting in a mosaic of natural habitats suitable for a range of migratory waterbirds. In spite of these attributes, the area is nonetheless a very fragile ecosystem, especially prone to sand deposition and other drought-related impacts.
The Wings Over Wetland Project is contributing to the sustainable use of the Namga-Kokorou wetlands, through the development of the participatory community-based management plan. The plan will help benefit local livelihoods and the way wetland resources are utilized by different user groups in the community. By investing in the community itself, the project is creating a foundation to address wetland issues in a more systematic and coordinated way in the future.
Maintaining the health of the wetland complex is vital to the entire Namga-Kokorou community because it maintains ground and surface water quality, and is the basis of a number of livelihood options including, agriculture, fishing and pastoralism. “In the past, we have approached problems individually to address natural resource use" says the Major of Kokorou village, "Before the wetland changes forever, it is better for us to learn to live next to it.”
Until recently, natural resources and user rights have been addressed on a case-by-case basis within the community and conservation projects carried out by a variety of agencies when funding was available.
The Namga-Kokorou Complex Community Management Plan is the first attempt in Niger to combine sustainable resource management and biodiversity conservation in a freshwater wetland in a coordinated and participatory manner. The focus of the plan is to restore participation of the local community, including all user groups and women, in resource management on the one hand, while at the same time introducing sustainable forms of management, and habitat restoration activities.
In consultation with the local community through a series of public meetings, WWF, the Ministry of Environment in Niger, and Wetlands International’s Africa Office, via GEF funding, have developed a blueprint that will contribute to the sustainability of the wetland for years to come.
For more information please see: WOW Demonstration Project: Namga-Kokorou Complex, Niger