My name is Anthony Kadoma and I am a third-year Post Graduate Research student with the University of Glasgow. I am a Ugandan and a Mutooro by tribe. My current research topic is on understanding stakeholder perceptions on wetland ecosystems services to support conservation and restoration activities. While working with the Sustainable Futures in Africa he engaged in a number of socio-ecological research activities which increased his desire for nature conservation matters.

Nature conservation is very close to my heart and this started way back in my early years of life and schooling. While growing up in the rural district of Kyenjojo, I clearly saw how my community depended on the natural environment for survival whether they were crop farmers or cattle keepers. There were communal grazing grounds where most households would bring their animals for grazing and for water. Resources were distributed much more equally because there was access with no or limited hindrances. But as the population increased, people started carving out private farms and fencing them off which meant that some of the community members could no longer graze their animals at those places. This reduced the size of grazing areas and thus many of the cattle keepers encroached on the land meant for crop growing, thereby causing conflicts between the cattle keepers and the crop farmers.

The reduction in land for both crop and animal farming has led people to invade the formerly unwanted and not thought of areas such as wetlands and forests for crop and animal farming. These are now massively encroached on and dangerously degraded. This means that wetlands and forests can no longer serve the purposes they used to, such as storage of groundwater, wind-breaking, flood control, and provision of certain types of food. This negatively affects humans, animals and nature. People and communities need to be prepared to live without wetlands.

This photograph shows cattle farmers grazing their animals in the wetland which used not to be the case in the past.

I relate to my target audience for my research from many angles. I am a Ugandan born and raised in a rural setting and now as an adult live and work in an urban setting. I am aware of the issues in the rural as well as in the urban areas when it comes to environmental conservation. My current research is done in the same district where I live and thus I will not be talking to my audience as an outsider. I am able to use the language that people understand or relate to. In this, I leverage the skills acquired during my bachelor’s degree in adult and community education from Makerere University. Not working with any government agency makes my engagements with community members more acceptable and lowers their expectations of monetary gain, in favour of aiming towards practical knowledge that will enable them to find some solutions to their current challenges as well as enhancing co-existence with nature.

Crop farmers are now encroaching the wetland deep where they cut, dry and burn papyrus so as to get where to plant vegetables

owever, I envisage a challenge of how to effectively and efficiently communicate my nature conservation message to my target audience. For instance, I need to use communication channels that are accessible to them, such as holding community meetings, producing and sharing brochures written in the local languages, producing education and information materials with photographs, publishing in the local dailies, communicating through religious and traditional functions. All these are aimed to bring about a change in behavior of the people regarding how we relate and benefit from nature today and for future generations. Sadly, I don’t know how easy it will be for me to have my planned outputs accepted and published in academic journals!

Anthony Kadoma

Anthony Kadoma is a current Post Graduate Researcher with the University of Glasgow focusing on Environmental Sustainability. His research study is on understanding stakeholder perceptions on wetland ecosystem services to support conservation and restoration activities in Wakiso district, Uganda. He also holds a Master of Arts Degree in Applied Community Change and Peacebuilding (October 2013) from the Future Generations Graduate School WV, USA and a Bachelors Degree of Adult and Community Education 2nd Class Upper Division (2006) from Makerere University, Kampala Uganda. Anthony has since 2007 had consistent work experience in areas of consultancy with various reputable INGOs, NGOs, CBOs, Government Ministries and Departments, mainly in monitoring and evaluations, baseline surveys, mid-term, end line studies and qualitative research. Over the years, he has acquired practical skills in designing, planning, supervising, management and conducting of research studies and other forms of surveys using both qualitative and quantitative approaches. In the course of his work and study Anthony has traveled to India, Haiti, Kenya, Rwanda, Qatar, the United States of America, the United Republic of Tanzania and the United Kingdom. His career objective is to contribute to the body of knowledge where innovation, creativity and growth are given room to flourish in a global community with an emphasis on the use and development of human energy which is a universal resource to all mankind.