The rural base of many Africans implies that their livelihoods are directly supported by natural resources. The availability, access to and control of these resources are critical if these livelihoods are to be sustained. Sustainable livelihoods, however, also involve the relationship between people and nature, and, in most African societies culture and the environment are closely linked. Rivers and the attendant resources that they carry are more that water to the Africans. Almost half the African population suffers from one of six major water related diseases. In 2025, 50% of Africa.s people are predicted to face water stressand scarcity. Freshwater fish provide 21% of protein intake in Africa. Only through integrated river basin management can governments and local people work together to provide the water needed to sustain both people and the environment. This paper identifies the role of culture in sustainable livelihood programme in (Wamburi) Kenya and (Ijaws) Nigeria. The study shows that the community eco-cultural forum consists of council of elders, key resource-user groups (stakeholders), indigenous institutions and experts and representatives of facilitator (development) organisations in both countries. Results show that through culture, the communities are able to create, innovate and develop new knowledge, skills, and techniques within its own riverine environment. It was evident that local communities especially in Kenya are able to take charge of their natural resources by using their indigenous systems, knowledge, wisdom and skills.