Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mara River Water Users Association, 2013 Thiess International Riverprize Winner!

Congratulations to the Mara River Water Users Association (MRWUA) on winning the 16th annual Thiess International Riverprize!

The Mara River Water Users Association (MRWUA) is a community-based water resources management organization, with the primary objectives of 1) promoting the protection and conservation of the Mara River Catchment area, 2) supporting the sustainable and efficient use of water, and 3) assisting relevant authorities with water resources management and issuance of water use permits and water conflict resolution. Their primary office is based in Mulot, Kenya, on the banks of the Amala River, but there are a number of sub-catchment groups located throughout the basin. The MRWUA has worked closely with Kenyan Water Resources Management Authority, WWF, USAID, Songoroi Ltd., and other NGOs and partners in the region to accomplish an impressive amount of conservation activities, including protecting 40 km of riverbank, educating 1,000 farmers about land and water conservation, and protecting 40 springs.

The Thiess International Riverprize is awarded by the International RiverFoundation. They have been awarding this prize for 15 years, but the Mara is the first African river to receive the award! Stuart Bunn, a member of the judging panel, said,

"With a clear vision and in anticipation of potential conflict arising over scarce water resources, the community based Mara River Water Users Association overcame significant challenges and successfully collaborated with farmers, community groups, NGOs, consultants and many other stakeholders to implement the Mara River Environmental Management Initiative."

The prize not only comes with international recognition for the incredible work the MRWUA has done in the basin, but also a large grant for the MRWUA to continue and build upon their work. It also includes a grant for a "twinning" project, in which the MRWUA can help start up and mentor a river conservation project in another country.

We are so proud of the MRWUA and all their accomplishments, and we look forward to sharing more of their story with you!
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