February 27, 2017


 22nd February was The Nile day,it was an interactive and a very educative day.There was a healthy debate.a question asked by the common mwananchi is "why should Kenya be involved in matters on the Nile?"this is because the river Nile is not in Kenya!the fact is there is the river Nile and there is the Nile basin where Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi just to mention a few come in.So Kenya lies in the Nile basin!.The reason why we should be concerned is that the geo-politics around the Nile basin affect Kenya as a country. For example due to the agreement signed in 1959, Kenya is not allowed to practice irrigation using the water of lake Victoria. Only fishing is allowed hence increasing the chances of food insecurity around the lake region.More agreements might be signed and it will affect; that's why we should be concerened.(Abdirahman Hussein's Facebook post)

The running theme of the workshop: Our Shared Nile: source of food,water and energy for all was well covered as different speakers tackled separate aspects of the river. 

The morning session opened with representatives from 350.org(Prince Papa and AYICC-KENYA Phantus Wambiya giving a background of the Nile on its history and the topography associated with the river. It was an insightful opening moderated by Michael Musyoka
Landry Ninterestse at the workshop

Facts about the Nile:

• It is the longest river in the world(6670km long)
• There are two major branches of the Nile; they are the White Nile and the Blue Nile. The White Nile originates in East Africa, and the Blue Nile originates in Ethiopia. The two branches join at Khartoum (the capital city of Sudan located in North East Africa).
• The two major sources of the river are Lake Victoria which feeds the White Nile branch, and Lake Tana which feeds the Blue Nile branch. 

Unelker Maoga tackles the issue of the Nile as a potential source of prosperity for the region though faced with conflict on usage of the waters. In the article “The looming shadow behind River Nile” She writes:
It has now become apparent that unlike the 20th Century which saw oil cause global strife, the wars of the 21st Century will be over water, with the Nile, the longest river in the world, being the center of the conflict.

The second session was moderated by Rukiya Khamis. Paul Mutuku presented his piece titled “The Feeder of the desert” where he gave an in-depth view on the ecology of the Nile focusing on the biodiversity and the ecological importance it has. He dealt with the threats facing the Nile Basin among them pollution, climate change, construction and intense deforestation.
Paul Mutuku making his presentation
He discussed the opportunities around the
Challenges that the Nile faces:
• Awareness creation and investment in education and information sharing on the importance of the water resource
• Projects in the communities to alleviate poverty in the basin state communities
• Partner with governance and policy makers to formulate sustainable policies and ensure equitable allocation of the resource among stakeholders.
• Emulate good practices from other key players.  Act to restore forests and the quality of water in the basin.
Protect the wetlands from a state level to the regional level. E.g. L.Victoria (reduce the pollution, manage the alien invasive species etc.) Invest in research by partnering with institutions 
Edith Kemunto making her presentation

Edith Kemunto presentation titled “Our Shared Nile” was an eye-opener on the Nile basin repatriation and talked of all the treaties that had influenced the governance of the Nile.
She advocated for the importance of conserving mountain waters. R. Nile has its headwaters from high mountains hence a clear need to conserve mountain waters.
She gave solutions for conserving mountain waters:
• Secure boundaries of the catchment areas. Resolve any existing conflicts(learn from Mau complex water tower
• Develop an ecosystem management plan and institutional arrangements for its implementation
• Enhance capacity for integrated and participatory ecosystem management
• Restore the degraded ecosystem Identify and promote improved and sustainable livelihoods
• Enhance knowledge on ecosystem functioning for planning and management such as ecosystems assessment.
• Enforcement of criminal law with regards to mountain water management
panelists from  left: Prince Papa, Clifford Okwany, Benedict Kitonyi and Michael
Panelists from left: Prince Papa, Clifford Okwany, Benedict Kitonyi
The afternoon session which was moderated by Fredrick Ouma, started of with Clifford Okwany presenting on the political scenarios associated with the Nile. The Nile is potential source of conflict in the region as countries in the basin feel shortchanged on the usage of the water of the Nile as other countries build dams and have numerous development projects in their stretches of the river that threaten the survival of neighboring countries.
Ethiopia's current projects were a threat to the river existence as illustrated by Wangechi Kiongo in her piece on the International Rivers website. She debunks the myths from the facts about the projects especially the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance dam.
Benedict Kitonyi suggested means of how the river would be a means of adapting to climate change as long as it was conserved and it’s waters used sustainably.

Michael a youth from Siaya County showcased his initiative to harvest water hyacinth in Lake Victoria and use it to make various products such as paper, greetings cards and baskets .The process involves harvesting the hyacinth and boiling it then drying and making fiber out of the plant.

Group photo outside the Climate Change Dome of the Kenya Meterological Department
  the event was followed online using the hashtag #SaveTheNile and #NileDay

 It was an educative forum where attendees got a better understanding of the Nile River. The ecology, politics and Conservation of the river.

Venue courtesy of Kenya Meterological Department
Photo credits: Freddie McKay



  1. awesome piece. kudos ayicc-Kenya team

  2. This is excellent as it is informative. Keep up the good work.