July 18, 2014

Cameroon: Marine Litter Threatens Aquatic Life and Human Health

Edith Achamukong
July 18, 2014

Environment experts are warning of an imminent disaster as a result of the increasing amounts of wastes along the sea and beaches of Cameroon. They are now calling for an end to bad waste disposal habits.

Over the years, the activities of fishermen, traders and tourists along the coastline of Cameroon have put the health of sea birds, reptiles, fish and sea mammals and human beings in jeopardy.

On a daily basis, waste material generally referred to as marine litter is generated comprising plastic bags, plastic bottles, cigarette stumps, old clothes and abandoned fishing gear. Most of these items are non-biodegradable in nature and sometimes are washed into the sea from residential areas or simply disposed of by ships.

Litter at Down beach,  Limbe

Litter at Down beach, Limbe

Environment experts say consumption of plastic waste by aquatic animals could lead to entanglement, bloating, poisoning and death of such faunae.

Some of these sea creatures mistake plastic bags for jellyfish. The toxic contents of these plastics have been linked to the suppressed immune systems and reduced reproductive rate of sea creatures. Also, when contaminated sea food is poorly cooked and consumed by humans, the health implications are severe.

In a bid to tackle the problem of poor waste disposal and management on the beaches of Limbe, the City Council has recruited the services of a waste disposal company to meticulously clean this tourist destination. Besides, pro-environment Non-Governmental Organizations carry out regular beach cleaning campaigns.

Unfortunately, these efforts are sometimes thwarted by the unsanctioned habits of some tourists who fail to drop rubbish mostly plastics in garbage cans. Also some commercial fishermen upon return from fishing trips litter the shores with marine debris picked up by their fishing nets.

Litter on the Cameroon beaches

Litter on the Cameroon beaches

While talking to our reporter, a fisherman, Johannes admitted that ‘at times we go fishing and end up filling our nets with more dirt than fish. When we bring our nets to the sea shore, we take time to remove such dirt and drop here because we have people who clean the beach every day. They are paid to do that’.

These fishermen are entrapped in a vicious circle of ‘catching’ litter they previously dumped on the sea shores.

While the activities of fishermen and tourists contribute to the heaps of waste, the refuse disposal habits of slum dwellers greatly amplify the problem.

The Chief of Bureau for Maritime Transport in Limbe Moki Martin says most of the litter that ends up in places like ‘Down beach’ Limbe comes from nearby creeks.

‘Some people especially fishermen have illegally constructed their houses along the creeks in Limbe and Tiko and they dispose of their household waste in these creeks. When it rains heavily, the dirt is dragged into the Atlantic Ocean as the streams empty themselves,’ notes Moki

Fishermen spend time removing litter from their nets

Fishermen spend time removing litter from their nets

Asked to comment about the waste disposal habits of sea vessels’ occupants, Moki said ‘many people think it is ships that pollute the sea, this is not the case because our office works closely with ships and we control even their waste baskets and they know that the penalties are high if they are caught polluting’.

In line with the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), experts of the Divisional Delegation of Environment in Fako ensure the prevention of oil pollution through rigorous checks of ships that anchor in the West Coast. One of the officers in charge of environmental control, Tiwa Zacharie says ‘during our operations, we find out if kitchen waste is treated before being disposed of in the sea. We also control the waste oil in their slush tanks as well as the sewage. To ensure that the sea waters are not polluted by waste oil from their engines, ships that successfully anchor with such waste are hooked up to certified waste disposal companies’.

It is worth noting that each year thousands of sea turtles and sea mammals are harmed because of plastic waste and water pollution. Moreover, the human food chain is not spared as disintegrated plastics ingested by fish end up on dining tables.

July 18, 2014

Kenya: 10.7 Million Euro Injected In Developing and Conserving Mara River Basin

WaterSan Perspective Reporter
July 18, 2014

The Mau Mara Serengeti Sustainable Water Initiative has launched a new public-private-partnership of Dutch, Kenyan and German partners to develop and conserve the Mara River Basin.

The four-year programme has a 10.7 million Euro budget, with 75% provided by The Netherlands Embassy in Kenya and 25% by HSBC Bank and the partners themselves.

“This public-private partnership is an excellent example of the Dutch policy transition from aid to trade”, Rose Makenzi from the Embassy explains, “and brings together a unique wealth of knowledge and expertise”.

The Mau Mara Serengeti (MaMaSe) Sustainable Water Initiative will support interventions leading to more water wise and environmentally sustainable economic development, while preserving the ecosystems and wildlife of the famed Mara-Serengeti landscape.

The MaMaSe consortium is led by UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, in close cooperation with WWF Kenya, and includes a wide range of experts from government authorities, private sector, knowledge institutes and NGOs from Kenya, The Netherlands and Germany.

The UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education is the largest international postgraduate water education facility in the world

The UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education is the largest international postgraduate water education facility in the world

Programme leader Michael McClain (UNESCO-IHE) is confident of achieving the common goal of improved water safety and security in the Mara river basin, “thanks to the strength and experience of the partners involved, the priority given to change on the ground, and the spirit of cooperation with other actors in the basin”.

Empowering the people of the basin and promoting self-reliance form the core principles of the Initiative. Activities are being planned in close cooperation with local stakeholders to address the basin’s
priority needs.

One of the identified priorities is capacity building of regional and community-based water authorities to improve integrated water resource management, a task that UNESCO-IHE and the Regional Water Authority Brabantse Delta will pick up.

The CEO of the Kenyan Water Resource Management Authority (WMRA) Philip Olum looks forward to the “assistance of the experts in the WRMA programmes, such as the revision and development of catchment management strategies”.

Furthermore, farmers in the headwaters of the basin are being helped to produce water wise and profitable products by SNV and Wageningen University and Research Centres. Key private sector partner Mara Farming Ltd connects local farmers to international markets, including major supermarket chains like Albert Heijn.

Most African countries struggle to provide access to water and sanitation to their people

Most African countries struggle to provide access to water and sanitation to their people

Also rangeland communities near conservation areas are supported by WWF Kenya to improve rangeland management and set up eco-tourism businesses. ITC-University of Twente supports this effort with new satellite-based monitoring tools supplying relevant information.

To ensure a sustainable change in the Mara basin, innovative financing mechanisms for water resources management are being developed in cooperation with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).

The lessons learned and new decision-support tools developed by MaMaSe will be adapted for wider use by Egerton University, Masai Mara University, UNESCO-IHE, ITC-University of Twente and Deltares.

“Together with all partners and stakeholders we will make the Mara River Basin a model of sustainability for Kenya and the world”, McClain concludes.

July 9, 2014

Uganda: Kitgum District Embarks On Keeping Water Sources Clean

Dan Michael Komakech
July 9, 2014

Kitgum district water department has embarked on a campaign for dismantling boreholes with filthy environs temporary in a bid to let the water users maintain proper hygiene and sanitation around them.

Kitgum district water officer Peter Oryem Okema reveals that the campaign will see the affected boreholes reconnected after their soak pits and fences are erected and environs maintained clean.

He says the motive isn’t ill intended but meant to ensure that water users maintain tidiness and avoid littering the water sources so as to reduce the spread of water and sanitation related diseases in the community.

“It’s quite unfortunate that 90 percent of boreholes in the district are left in a filthy state and hence we shall still continue with the campaign to ensure proper hygiene and promote appropriate rural sanitation and hygiene practices”, says Oryem Peter Okema.

A woman draws water as animals invade the borehole in Oget village Akwang sub county in Kitgum district

A woman draws water as animals invade the borehole in Oget village Akwang sub county in Kitgum district

Oryem Toomoi, the chairperson of Tee-Bil, “A” water source committee (a committees set up to monitor the boreholes and contact hand-pump mechanics if one breaks down) in Oget village in Mura parish in Akwang Sub County attributes the vice to village members who are hesitant to abide by appeals to keep the water source clean.

He also adds that other village members do not restrain their animals leaving them to roam unattended to as they access the water points.

“Some of these village members leave their Pigs, cattle, goats and other animals to drink water at the boreholes and these livestock pollute the water making people prone to water borne relate illnesses”, says Oryem Toomoi.

Peter Oryem Okema faults the village water source committees for being negligent in observing that the water points are kept and maintained clean, and for not sensitizing the community on the importance of personal hygiene and tips for keeping water clean.

He also argues that statistics indicate that communities that do not keep their water points clean have been linked to increased cases of water borne related illnesses that include diarrhea and malaria.

Animals at an unprotected water source in Kitgum district

Animals at an unprotected water source in Kitgum district

The Kitgum district secretary for works and technical services Tabu Geoffrey supports the move saying access to a clean water sources and maintaining cleanliness at the water sources in their vicinity would reduce instances of water borne diseases.

He advises village communities to own the water sources and change attitude of thinking that maintaining, repairs and ensuring cleanliness of the water sources should be done by government.

“Lack of ownership is to blame for the vice because locals think that the responsibility for maintaining the water point lies on government other than the community”

July 9, 2014

Malawi: Pupils Rescued From Using A Grave Yard As Toilet

Ali Kalichero.
July 9, 2014

While other children attain good education from nursery and primary schools that have all necessary facilities for education, there are other pupils whose zeal to attain proper education and become productive citizens get hindered by lack of proper school blocks and other facilities.

Such was a pathetic story of pupils at Kang’oma Primary School in the area of Traditional Authority Tsabango in the central region of Lilongwe district in Malawi.

The head Teacher for the school Ernest Kafulatira Maliseni explained in an interview that pupils at the school were using a nearby grave yard whenever they wanted to relieve themselves from the ‘call of nature’ a situation that escalated the spread of diarrhea diseases and early pregnancies among girl pupils.

“The number of pupils at this school declined due to the challenges this posed… we had a large percentage of girls who were dropping out of school due to pregnancies as the graveyard was also posing as a meeting place for the girls and men” said Maliseni.

A water Kiosk in Ndirande Malawi. In places without access to clean water children and women walk long distances, use dirty water from ponds and rivers or they are charged large amounts of money by water sellers.

A water Kiosk in Ndirande Malawi. In places without access to clean water children and women walk long distances, use dirty water from ponds and rivers or they are charged large amounts of money by water sellers.

One pupil who identifies herself as Chimwemwe Mwase in standard seven, says in an interview that the challenge posed a great problem for girl pupils, who used to get absent from school as they were not comfortable to stay in class at a school that has no toilets and water.

“I was one of the pupils who used to make frequent absence from school…..as you know we girls, we always need privacy when answering the call of nature, I could not bear the idea of getting to the grave yard every time I need to go to the toilet” said Chimwemwe.

Through a project called Kang’oma Primary School Water and Sanitation Project, the Glabal Hope Mobilization (GLOHOMO), in January this year, started constructing six toilets and a bore hole at the school, which according to the headmaster Maliseni has served the situation.

“Education is the key to success. Every child needs to attain proper education and become one productive citizen in the future.

In achieving proper and good education for children, facilities like school blocks, toilets, and potable water are very important as they help to facilitate and motivate children to attend school,” says Caleb Sithole, GLOHOMO Executive Director.

Speaking during the handover ceremony of the toilets and a borehole, Sithole said it is sad to note that many schools in the country lack hygiene and sanitary facilities thereby contributing to the dwindling of education standards in Malawi, as many pupils and students drop out of school.

Boreholes offer the cheapest technology option for safe water supply in most rural areas of Africa

Boreholes offer the cheapest technology option for safe water supply in most rural areas of Africa

Kang’oma Primary school has a total of 2, 466 pupils and is located in the area of Traditional Authority Tsabango in Lilongwe district. This is an iceberg of many primary schools in Malawi that have no proper facilities and are in dire need of such, if education is to be uplifted in Malawi.

June 23, 2014

Dunster House Provides Sanitation Solutions for Africa

WaterSan Perspective
June 23, 2014

Up to 2.2 million deaths per year are caused by sanitation related illness and diseases, with a high percentage being children under the age of 5. It is because over 2.5 billion people – roughly 36 per cent of the world’s population – still lack what many people take for granted: access to adequate sanitation.

Having that in mind, Dunster House Ltd, a leading manufacturer of timber garden buildings in the UK, has designed new sanitation solutions for humanitarian aid and international development.

The company has recently got involved in a charity project in cooperation with Oxfam and has already started launching its Raised Latrines and Latrine Superstructures to Sudan and Central African Republic.

A raised Latrine Superstructure designed by Dunster House Ltd

A raised Latrine Superstructure designed by Dunster House Ltd

Dunster House Director Chris Murphy believes these products could provide potential solutions for many other communities across the globe. “Our latrines offer full privacy and security that allows individuals to have access to a dignified toilet facility.

They are ideal for domestic and communal use during the interim stage following an emergency situation”, he said.

Dunster House Raised Latrine has been designed for built up urban areas and locations with rocky ground or high water table. It features stairs which can be positioned from the front or side.

The raised platform and waste collection tanks present a stable construction for multiple cubicles – Latrine Superstructures which can be also securely positioned on top of a 800mmx1200mm Squat Plate or Trench Latrine.

Latrine Superstructures can be also used to replace previous toilet facilities that have been damaged during a crisis. The construction is light weight and easily transported.

A pit toilet at a public school in Mbarara, Uganda. Up to 2.5 billion people -- one in three people in the world -- do not have a toilet or access to sustainable sanitation

A pit toilet at a public school in Mbarara, Uganda. Up to 2.5 billion people — one in three people in the world — do not have a toilet or access to sustainable sanitation

Chris Murphy explained: “We are continuing to work hard on our new humanitarian solutions, to help to tackle the sanitation crisis.

Our mission is to help resolve as many sanitation issues as possible. That’s why we keep expanding our range – to suit different needs and requirements”.

Dunster House ltd, established in 1994, is the UK’s largest Garden Building Company, one of the largest UK Timber Climbing Frame Companies and produces many other successful and diverse product lines.

June 23, 2014

Uganda: Kitgum Residents Share Water Points With Animals

Dan Michael Komakech
June 23, 2014

Residents of Toboi in Lolwa parish Orom Sub County in Kitgum district have resorted to sharing contaminated rain runoff water that collects on rock inselbergs with animals due to scarce water points in the vicinity.

The resident explain that they survive on dirty unprotected water from Lela Toboi inselberg because of the far distance of over three to seven kilometers that one has to trek in search of clean drinking water in the neighboring villages of Wipolo and Tikau and Karekalet river spring.

The situation has rendered residents particularly the most vulnerable elderly, disability and children to opt for nothing other than runoff water from contaminated sources which makes them exposed to water borne diseases and death.

“If it rains we utilize rain runoff water that gathers on these inselberg and if it dries off we trek to Wipolo aor Tikau where we are charged 2000 shillings (nearly one US Dollar) per 20 litre jerycan”, says Rose Acan.

Acan fetches water from an Inselberg in Kitgum

Acan fetches water from an Inselberg in Kitgum

Rose Acan says that despite having placed several appeals before the relevant authorities about the problem; nothing is being done to help the over 400 affected households in his village.

Orom Sub County Chairperson Quirino Olum says the problem has been persistent because of the inability to drill boreholes in the area due to the rocky topography and appeals government and other stakeholders to help the community by hastening the Orom gravity water flow project.

“I challenge the district and the central government to implement the project so that the locals can have access to clean water for domestic use and production.”

Gravity Water Flow Scheme

Plans are underway to commence the construction of a 25 billion shillings (about 100 million US Dollar) gravity water flow scheme that will involve tapping piped water from the Karakalet and Lakilepa natural water springs that flows atop Orom hills in Kitgum district.

Kitgum district water officer Peter Oryem Okema says the project, if completed will improve the access to safe water in villages with low safe water coverage due to in ability to drill boreholes for domestic use and production.

A water point in Kitgum guarded with dry branches of trees to prevent animals from access it

A water point in Kitgum guarded with dry branches of trees to prevent animals from access it

Okema notes that Orom lies along areas in Kitgum with the poorest ground water potential due to rocky topography and geology which makes it inability to drill borehole and hitting dry wells adding that the scheme has the capacity to benefit the Sub-counties of Orom, Mucwini, Namokora, Omiya Anyima, Lagoro and Kitgum Matidi.

He further notes that initially there was a plan to utilize the gravity flow scheme for an irrigation scheme but they opted to change it domestic use other than farming and production.

Senior engineers from the Uganda’s Ministry of Water and Environment have already conducted a feasibility survey to get a consultant to design the scheme and bid documents to secure a contractor to commence the implementation of the project.

May 31, 2014

West Africa: Research on Menstrual Hygiene Management in Offing

WaterSan Perspective
May 31, 2014

WaterAid’s West Africa office, in conjunction with WaterAid country programmes in Nigeria and the region, plan to conduct a research to help develop strong programmes on Menstrual Hygiene Management and reinforce our work for more impact, especially in schools.

The research, slated for this year, will also identify key actors for collaboration, capacity building needs for civil society and local government partners, and areas for advocacy.

On any given day, more than 800 million women between the ages of 15 and 49 are menstruating. Yet menstruation remains a taboo subject.

A woman in Kanzilu village in Mutomo, Eastern Kenya cuts cassava stem

A woman in Kanzilu village in Mutomo, Eastern Kenya cuts cassava stem

UNESCO estimates one in 10 African girls miss school during their periods, leading to a higher dropout rate.

In many countries, menstruation is surrounded by a lot of myths including banishment from the family home to an outdoor shed during each cycle. These myths range from harmless to extreme and even though, in many cases, they date back to ancient times they continue to persist even now.

Clarisse Baghnyan, Coordinator of WaterAid’s Regional Learning Centre for Sanitation said:

“We need to make a shift in our thinking and attitude and bring an end to the stigma that still surrounds menstruation. For the sake of our girls and women, it’s time to start talking about this issue. The myths and taboos around periods can and do take a heavy toll on the health of our girls and women, especially in developing countries such as Nigeria. We must ensure that our girls have decent and separate toilet facilities in schools otherwise their health is put at risk and they are likely to miss or drop out of school rather than face the humiliation of finding somewhere private to change. By talking about periods, we can help normalise this natural process and help girls and women live healthier and more dignified lives.”

WaterAid works in more than a dozen countries across Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia to teach women and their families how to care for themselves properly during their periods.

School projects range from building private, gender-separate toilets and taps for washing to creating hygiene clubs where girls learn how to sew washable, reusable sanitary towels.

This four stance latrine belongs to a public school in Kashari Mbarara. Instead of toilet papers, pupils use leaves

This four stance latrine belongs to a public school in Kashari Mbarara. Instead of toilet papers, pupils use leaves

Last week on Wednesday, 28 May 2014, organisations including WaterAid, WASH United, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Save the Children, declared the first-ever Menstrual Hygiene Day.

May 31, 2014

Nigeria: WaterAid Supports UN’s Call to End Open Defecation

WaterAid and WaterSan Perspective
May 31, 2014

WaterAid has welcomed a new UN campaign championed by UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson to end the practice of open defecation.

Over one billion people around the world relieve themselves in bushes, in fields or at the sides of roads or railway tracks for lack of even a basic, shared pit in the ground. This is 14 per cent of the world’s population, or one person in seven.

A latrine in rural Uganda.  The world remains behind in providing universal access to safe and hygienic toilets.

A latrine in rural Uganda. The world remains behind in providing universal access to safe and hygienic toilets.

Where there is open defecation, pathogens spread quickly, causing diarrhoea, cholera, bilharzia (a freshwater worm) and other diseases.

In a country like Nigeria, recent WHO/UNICEF JMP figures indicate that about 122 million Nigerians do not have access to improved sanitation and a staggering 39 million (23 per cent of the population) practice open defecation.

Based on these figures, indications are that at present rates of progress, Sub-Saharan Africa overall will not become open defecation free until 2063.

WaterAid is campaigning for everyone, everywhere to have access to safe water and basic sanitation by 2030. Some 748 million people in the world are without safe water, while another 2.5 billion are without adequate sanitation.

Dr. Michael Ojo, Country Representative of WaterAid Nigeria, said: “It is time for a drastic change to the status quo. It is hard to believe that in this day and age, people must still risk their health and dignity for the lack of a basic toilet. It’s even more difficult for girls and women who risk danger and harassment every time they go in search of a private place to relieve themselves. Safe water and basic sanitation has to be a top priority in effectively tackling extreme poverty. We call upon our leaders to take action.”

Without basic toilets, girls are more likely to drop out of school, and adults are less able to care for their families or to work, exacting huge social and economic costs.

Several people living in such places are not aware that poor sanitation may cause lots of diseases

Several people living in such places are not aware that poor sanitation may cause lots of diseases

The new UN campaign to end open defecation is expected to last till the end of next year, as the UN develops a new set of development goals to replace the original Millennium Development Goals.

Among the goals were pledges to cut in half the proportions of people without safe water and sanitation, respectively. Though the overall universal target on water has been met; some individual countries, especially developing countries like Nigeria, are yet to meet those goals and those still without safe water are the hardest to reach. The target on sanitation remains the most off-track.

Recently, in April this year, Nigeria joined 44 other developing countries at the Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting and committed once again to achieving universal access to water and sanitation and eliminating open defecation nationwide by 2025.

Up to 1,400 children die every day from diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation.

May 27, 2014

African Water Week: New Map Shows That the Goal of All Africans Accessing Clean Water by 2030 “Realistic and Achievable”

May 27, 2014
WaterSan Perspective

A new interactive map http://www.wateraid.org/africawaterweek published by the international development charity WaterAid has been launched online showing that 14 African governments are on course or within touching distance of reaching the historic mark of everyone in their countries having access to clean drinking water by 2030.

The map has been released on the day that African water ministers and delegates arrive for the start of African Water Week conference in Dakar, Senegal for crucial talks as to whether they should back a proposed new global Sustainable Development Goal for universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene by the year 2030.

A new interactive map showing that 14 African governments are on course or within touching distance of reaching the historic mark of everyone in their countries having access to clean drinking water by 2030

A new interactive map showing that 14 African governments are on course or within touching distance of reaching the historic mark of everyone in their countries having access to clean drinking water by 2030

WaterAid are lobbying minister and delegates at the conference for the outcome communiqué to include such a commitment.

Nelson Gomonda, WaterAid’s Pan-African Programme Manager said:

“This map shows that a new water, sanitation and hygiene Sustainable Development Goal that puts Africa on track to everyone having access to these essential services by 2030 is realistic and achievable.

“Many African countries are already on course to achieve this historic milestone at current rates of progress, and most others can get there with relatively modest improvements in levels of access.

“Ministers at Africa Water Week conference should grasp this opportunity to set in motion a happier, healthier and more prosperous future for everyone on the continent.”

The map is understood to be the first online interactive data representation project produced with a predominantly African audience in mind, which is increasingly online and social media savvy.

According to the International Telecommunications Union, around 177 million African’s are now internet users, while over 50 million African’s have Facebook accounts.

The African Water Map shows that on average, 28 million people are gaining access to water each year across Africa, but that if this increased by an extra 17 million people, that everyone everywhere across the continent would have access to clean water by 2030.

Most African countries struggle to provide access to water and sanitation to their people

Most African countries struggle to provide access to water and sanitation to their people

Currently over a third of African’s, 325 million, lack access to clean drinking water, while over 70%, 643 million, go without basic sanitation.

A lack of access to these services costs sub-Saharan Africa over $50 billion USD every year in health care costs and lost productivity, more than the continent receives in aid.

Nearly half a million African’s (481,000) die every year because of diarrhoea diseases attributable to a lack of access to water, sanitation and hygiene. A lack of access to these essential services is also understood have a substantial impact on the prevalence and mortality associated with pneumonia, and under-nutrition on the continent.

The UN has estimated that half the hospital beds in developing countries are filled with people suffering from diseases caused by poor water, sanitation and hygiene.

April 27, 2014

Rotary, UNESCO-IHE Announce the First Graduating Class from a Scholarship Program to Improve Water and Sanitation in Underserved Communities

WaterSan Perspective
April 27, 2014

The first class of five Rotary sponsored scholars has graduated with Master of Science degrees in water education from the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education. The graduates now will apply their education to water and sanitation projects in their home countries of Argentina, Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Ghana.

Rotary International Logo

Rotary International Logo

Established in 2011, the partnership between Rotary and UNESCO-IHE — the world’s largest graduate water education facility — addresses the global water and sanitation crisis by increasing the ranks of trained professionals critically needed to devise, plan and implement solutions in countries where communities lack access to clean water and safe sanitation.

Rotary provides scholarship grants that enable local Rotary clubs and districts to select and sponsor eligible students to the program. Rotary members mentor the students throughout the program, building positive relationships that continue after graduation.

“We’re proud of the Rotary and UNESCO-IHE partnership and especially proud of our first class of Rotary water scholars, who will now use their expertise to develop sustainable water and sanitation solutions in their home countries,” said Rotary Foundation Trustee Stephen R. Brown.

“The mentoring of the students by Rotary clubs and Rotary members – during their studies at UNESCO-IHE, as well as after they return home – is essential to the success of the scholarship program. These relationships and networks will enable students to effectively implement their skills in their own local communities. Their work to improve water and sanitation conditions will have a positive, lasting impact around the world.”

His sentiments are echoed by UNESCO-IHE Rector AndrásSzöllösi-Nagy. “I am confident that as these young professionals return home, they will continue to play a vital role in managing our water systems in a sustainable way for future generations,” he said. “As alumni, they will remain part of the largest network of water professionals and become part of an extensive network of fellow Rotary scholarship recipients and Rotarians worldwide.”

For example, graduate Bernice Asamoah, of Ghana, plans a hygiene project that will use solar power to disinfect water for communal toilet facilities. Graduate Kenechukwu “Kaycee” Okoli, of Nigeria, knows the value of public education, especially to empower children to become change agents. “The objective is to visit schools and to teach children and adolescents basic sanitation habits,” he said.

Andras Szollosi-Nagy, the Rector UNESCO-IHE

Andras Szollosi-Nagy, the Rector UNESCO-IHE

Another graduate, TemesgenAdamu, of Ethiopia, points to the World Health Organization’s statistics indicating that about 2.5 billion people worldwide do not have access to improved sanitation, and over 783 million people lack access to clean drinking water.

“In my home country, the water quality is poor, safe water and sanitation facilities are inaccessible and water based diseases widespread,” Adamu said.

Graduate Gonzalo Duró, of Argentina, said he learned the critical importance of “cooperation between partners, institutions and professionals” in developing solutions to water and sanitation issues, while Uganda’s Godfrey Baguma appreciated the practical nature of the studies.

“I am now able to address water and sanitation issues in a more integrated and technical manner,” Baguma said, adding that his interactions with Rotary members helped make Delft “a home away from home.”

Building on the success of the first class, the second class of students – 16 in total – began graduate studies in October 2013 and will graduate in 2015. Applications for the scholarship program can be found here: http://www.unesco-ihe.org/node/15630

The UNESCO-IHE graduates become part of a vast network of Rotary Foundation alumni, consisting of 120,000 leaders and change agents around the world. Since 1947, more than 43,000 students and fellows have received Rotary scholarships supporting studies in a variety of disciplines representing a total investment of more than US$557 million.

The students’ thesis focused on various fields as indicted below:
– TemesgenAdamu (Ethiopia), thesis: “Impact of Climate change, land use changes and water resource management on the hydrology of Rib-Gumera Catchment, Ethiopia”
– Godfrey Peterson Baguma (Uganda), thesis: “Pathogen removal in a low-coast AnammoxDwonflow Hanging Sponge reactor”
Kenechukwu “Kaycee” Okoli (Nigeria), thesis: “Hydraulic Modelling: Uncertainty Estimation and Comparison”
– Bernice Asamoah (Ghana), thesis: “Disinfection of greywater from communal toilets using UVA enhanced with TiO2 after pre-treatment with slow sand filter” and
– Gonzalo Duró (Argentina), thesis: “Bar formation in channels with varying width: numerical analysis and practical engineering implications”.

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