Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) recently in November 2017, played host to five member Team of Hwange Sanyati Biodiversity Corridor (HSBC) project in north western Zimbabwe working on the GEF/World Bank funded project on sustainable land management and conservation. The Team was in Nigeria to share the NEWMAP experience of Land degradation remediation and Catchment management.
The knowledge exchange visit tagged: “Look and learn” was occasioned based on the appreciable achievement recorded by NEWMAP in the area of SLM activities which has made the project “a flagship project” in 4.5 years of its existence. This bring to fore the fact that, NEWMAP appreciable achievements has become noticeable with many projects in West Africa and the Continent in general eager to visit the Project to Learn its unique approach to sustainable land management.
The overall objective of the exchange visit was to enhance participants knowledge in appropriate physical gully reclamation structures; matrix of complementary biological and chemical amelioration actions for gully reclamation; cost effective chemical and biological strategies to complement the physical work; as well as sustainable land management practices for sodic soils in the wider catchment that will reduce the rate of Land degradation and ultimately deter gully formation.
Speaking on behalf of the Team during the mission, Debra Magwada, an environmental specialist with HSBC expressed satisfaction with NEWMAP concept and noted that, “a lot of technical work has been done in terms of planning, investigation as well as implementation.” According to Debra, “one of the lessons learnt centres on the practice of Community participation, -one of the integral best practices of NEWMAP. This is because any project that addresses community need is very largely to be successful and NEWMAP as a developmental project is addressing this need. NEWMAP is an icon project to Nigeria” she stressed.
The Team met with various specialists at the Federal Project Management Unit (FPMU) and visited Cross River state where they went of field visit to treated and emerging gully sites. At the end of the visit the Team commended federal and states government efforts’ as well as the focus and commitment of NEWMAP project staff given the enormity of addressing catchment management from the source; this was summed up by Alleta Nyahuye, Director Environmental Management services and HSBC Team co-lead “from what we have seen, the NEWMAP Project is doing a lot in terms of ecosystem restoration as well as providing alternative livelihood for the affected communities. From the four sites we visited, most of our expectations have been met and we hope to see more in future.”