Caroline Mwebaza is a Wetlands Youth Ambassador for NET Africa representing Uganda.
Lubigi wetland is the largest remaining wetland in Kampala city and drains into river Mayanja in the Lake Kyoga basin. The Lubigi wetland forms an irregular semi-circle around the city of Kampala on 7.02km to 15km average, starting at around Kisaasi to the north, stretching westwards, passing through Bwaise and Kawaala, then stretching southwards through Busega. The swamp has feeder arms that stretch along the Kampala–Mityana Road towards Buloba, along Kampala–Masaka Road towards Kyengera, along Kampala–Hoima Road towards Nansana and along Sentema Road that stretches from Mengo to Sentema. The geographical coordinates of Lubigi wetland are 0°19'12.0"N, 32°31'12.0"E (Latitude: 0°19'12.0"N; Longitude: 32°31'12.0"E).
Lubigi wetland is a very important water catchment area, serving the city of Kampala and the surrounding areas of Wakiso District. Rainwater from the northern and western suburbs of the city drains, via underground aquifers and surface run-off, into the swamp, where it supports unique wildlife, including over 200 species of birds, one of which is the crested crane, the national bird. The predominant flora is papyrus grass.
Ugandans use wetlands often called the country’s “granaries for water” to sustain their lives and livelihoods. They rely on water for construction materials, firewood, hunting, and fuel. They also use the wetland for farming, fishing, and to graze livestock. The Lubigi wetland is one of many wetlands that supply direct or subsistence employment for 2.7 million people; almost 10 percent of the population in many parts of the country, wetland products and services are the sole sources for livelihoods and the main safety net for the poorest households for job opportunities. Sustainable management of Uganda’s wetland is thus not only sound economic policy; it is also a potent strategy for poverty reduction. The activities around Lubigi wetland include crop cultivation and settlement, brick making and sand mining, fishing, grazing and collection of the other wetland resources like fodder, water, medicines, fuelwood, vegetable building, for house building materials and craft materials among others.