The St Andrews Prize for the Environment

University of St Andrews

ConocoPhillips

2001 Winner

Lake Victoria Community Education

Lake Victoria Community Education

Combatting the environmental hazards that affect Lake Victoria

Representatives from the University of Nairobi, Kenya developed a community education project to combat the environmental hazards that affect Lake Victoria, the world’s second largest fresh water lake, and threatening the livelihoods and health of the four million people who live around it.

After winning the Prize, the project was launched in the main Lake Victoria town of Kisumu as part of its centenary festival.

Popular theatre techniques of song, dance and drama were used to raise awareness in the rural communities of Lake Victoria of the threat to their health and livelihoods and ways in which they could become involved.

What Happened Next

Although the challenge of the ‘Water Hyacinth’ choking the world’s second largest fresh water lake still persists, the seeds for incremental progress for overall socio-economic development around Lake Victoria were sown thanks to the St Andrews Prize.

Protracted activism brought environmental issues to the fore of serious international attention, resulting in the three East African governments establishing an intergovernmental body specifically to study the lake environment.

Contributing to the mobilisation of a rural community by informing them of the long-term and harmful consequences of environmental degradation, and getting them collectively involved to do something about it, was the most far reaching consequence.

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