RCE Eswatini - 2018

Sigwe Wetland Rehabilitation Project
Basic Information
Title of project : 
Sigwe Wetland Rehabilitation Project
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Eswatini
Contributing organization(s) : 
Swaziland Environment Authority and Swaziland National Trust Commission (SNTC)
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Swaziland Environment Authority (Focal Point)
Swaziland National Trust Commission (SNTC) (Affiliate)
University of Swaziland (UNISWA) (Affiliate)
National Curriculum Center (NCC)
Matsapha Town Council
Format of project: 
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
Education for sustainable Development Strategy, National Development Strategy, Swaziland Environmental Action Plan, Biodiversity strategy
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
Africa and Middle East
Address of focal point institution for project: 
P.O. Box 2602 Mbabane, H100, Swaziland
Target Audience:
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
Sigwe wetland, found in the Eastern region of Swaziland, covers about 1.82 hectares and with has a perimeter of about 0.62 km. The wetland comprise of a marsh dominated by Cyperus latifolius (Likhwane). At the mouth of the wetland, there is a pond and communal vegetable gardens where households grow vegetable crops and using water as intermediate good for vegetable production. Sigwe wetland makes substantial contributions to economic activity at a community level. Wetland resources support small scale income generating activities, for example, vegetables gardening and manufacturing of handicraft products. Decisions on wetland management, use and developments have been made on the basis of partial information without considering the economic value of the wetland. For instance, unplanned washing of clothes inside the wetland may alter the hydrological functioning of the wetland over time leading to modification and degradation.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
The land in and around wetlands falls under the Swazi National Land (SLN) which is under traditional system of governance, hence it is owned by the state. Property rights (private, common, public and open access) are not clearly defined. In principle, wetlands should have a management committee selected by the local users and responsible for controlling access, drafting a constitution, governing wise use of the wetland, enforcing rules or policies at communal level.
Property rights were not clearly defined and there was no appropriate management structure put in place for monitoring wetland use. Consequently, the wetlands were in particular threatened by livestock overgrazing and trampling, erosion and overharvesting. Wetland plants resources are often over-exploited, for example, medicinal plant species such as Hypoxishemerocallidea and Helichrysumrugulosum were harvested in large quantities due to their high demand in urban areas. Generally, ultimate (distant) causes of wetland degradation include: poverty, severe economic stress, lack of wetland policies or policy intervention failures, wetland conversion, demographic growth, urbanisation, market and information failures. On the other hand, proximate (direct and intermediate) causes of wetland degradation include: overexploitation, drainage, alien plant invasion, and groundwater pollution.
Activities and/or practices employed: 
Setting up of a management committee
Reporting of the project to traditional authorities
Development of rules for accessing the wetland
Development of a work plan and costing of the project
Fencing of the project
Monitoring of the project site
Development of schedule for harvesting the resources found in the wetland
Identification of markets for products made from the raw materials obtained from the wetland
Size of academic audience: 
The project was not academic but rather learning by doing
Households earn a living from the sale of handcrafts products from the wetland and vegetable and crop production along the periphery of the wetlands. Fibre accounts for approximately 36% of the monthly household income. The fibre species harvested specifically for production of handcraft products include: Cyperus latifolius (likhwane), Cyperus articulatus(inchoboza) and Miscanthuscapensis(umtsala). Vegetable grown along the periphery of the wetlands especially in Sigwe include: cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, beetroot, spinach and onion. Maize is also cultivated on the periphery of all three studied wetlands. Traditional healers get most the medicine from wetlands to sustain their profession or rather calling
Lessons learned: 
Its important to involve the whole community in the project so that those who did the work can not feel that the wetland now belongs to them. During the dry season the wetland rehabilitation initiative benefit all community members regardless of whether they participated in the rehabilitation on not which does not go down well with the people involved in the day to day operations of the rehabilitation process.
Key messages: 
Wetlands serve a very important function in the ecosystem and water supply during the dry season, notwithstanding the economic spin offs from the wetland resources
The Eswatini National Environment Fund funded the project and technical expertise came from government departments


File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon pic 1.jpg (1.36 MB) Sigwe wetland (Before) Sipho Matsebula
Image icon pic 2.jpg (1.39 MB) Sigwe wetland (After) Sipho Matsebula
Image icon pic 3.jpg (1.07 MB) Sleeping mats production Mbongeni Hlophe
Image icon pic 4.jpg (1.14 MB) Products made from the wetland raw materials
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 1 - End poverty in all its forms everywhere 
SDG 2 - End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture 
SDG 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages 
SDG 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 
SDG 5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls 
SDG 16 - Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels 
Disaster Risk Reduction 
Traditional Knowledge  
Plants & Animals 
Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development – Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 1 - Advancing policy 
Priority Action Area 3 - Building capacities of educators and trainers 
Priority Action Area 4 - Empowering and mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level