Namga-Kokorou is a complex of wetlands located in an ancient valley of a former tributary of the Niger River. The wetlands comprise pools, marshes and floodplains and are separated by sand dunes. The high diversity of flora and vegetation density, results in a mosaic of natural habitats suitable for a range of Afrotropical and migratory waterbirds. It is also a very productive system, especially in the context of the surrounding semi-arid and arid areas of the Sahel.
The area is nonetheless a very fragile ecosystem, especially prone to sand deposition and other drought-related impacts. Local farming communities are putting pressure on the ecosystem through extensive use of wetland resources. Together, grazing, watering of livestock and agricultural expansion by deforestation are undermining the integrity of the wetlands.
“In the past the community had to approach problems individually and through the mediation of the village chief. The community management plan will help benefit local livelihoods and the way wetland resources are utilized by different user groups.” - Abba Mahmoudou, Project Manager.
Through the WOW project, the local community had access for the first time ever to a legislative framework guiding the better management of the area’s natural resources. Basis of this framework was the Namga-Kokorou Complex Community Management Plan, which combines sustainable resource management and biodiversity conservation in a freshwater wetland through a coordinated and participatory approach. The plan’s aim is to let the local community take the lead in resource management, while at the same time introducing sustainable forms of management, and habitat restoration. In spite of its abundant biodiversity, the area is especially prone to sand deposition and drought, both of which threaten the mosaic of marshes and floodplains - hosts to a rich and varied flora and fauna, including many migratory waterbirds. Ensuring the good health of the wetland complex is vital to the entire Namga-Kokorou community because it maintains ground and surface water quality, and supports agriculture, fishing and pastoralism. Through consultations with the local community and via a series of public meetings, local partners developed a blueprint that contributes to the sustainability of the wetland for years to come.
This demonstration project in the Namga-Kokorou complex was jointly been executed by Wetlands International Africa Programme, the local WWF office and the Direction Nationale de la Faune Pêche et Pisciculture (DFPP) in Niger.
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