Posted by: Wasrag | December 14, 2011

Ugandan Minister Launches Uganda Rotary Water Plus (URWP)

On Thursday, October 20th, in front of a packed hall of Rotarians, government officials, representatives of a number of NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) and the media Her Excellency the Minister of Water and Environment, Maria Mutagamba, formally launched the Uganda Rotary water Plus program.

This is an imaginative program, coordinated by  all 61 Rotary clubs in Uganda, to help the country achieve its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of enabling 77% of the people in rural regions an villages gain access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene by 2015. Sanitation and hygiene are the “plus” in the program.

It is also a big program. It means helping about 5 million people gain access. The Rotarians are not alone in this initiative, stated PDG Chris Mutalya.  Collaboration with a large number of NGOs is critical to success. Already discussions have been held with World Vision,  WaterAid,  Water for People and a large number of local and national NGOs. Another key to success and sustainability will be close working relationships with the District Water Officers in all 120 political districts in the country.

The initial stages of the program will be scaling-up of current Rotary WaSH projects in the country. Host  clubs will seek ways of expanding their projects-within a county or to adjacent counties. International partner clubs will be encouraged to strengthen their relationships with host clubs, expanding from a one-year project to a multi-year program extending through 2015.

The program has the active support of RI Director Sam Owori, PDGs Mutalya, Stephen Mwange, DG Kimani and DGN Emmanuel Katongole.  The on-the-ground team is led by Michael Ojok with support from many others including Margaret Mungherera,  the Country Chair, Sam Mutono, George Sizoomu, Grace Kamuhanda  and representatives from clubs around the country.

In 1980, Rotary districts in the Philippines launched a pilot program to demonstrate that Rotarians could eradicate Polio. The pilot was a success. In 1988 at the International Convention in Philadelphia Rotary clubs everywhere committed to eradicating Polio—with the outstanding success we are all witnessing. A key factor in this program has been the ability of Rotary to team with international organizations in this quest, The World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control and the United Nations Foundation helped to mobilize global support.

Can Rotarians lead the world in addressing Goal #7 of the MDG’s-“to halve by 2015 the prortion of peole without access to safe water and sanitation”? Time will tell but this country-wide program in Uganda is the opportunity for Rotary clubs everywhere  to show that the confidence gained in eradicating Polio, and the ability to lead collaboration with governments, agencies, the private sector and foundations will not fade away.

Please become part of this exciting new program. Help to demonstrate, once again, that Rotary has incredible ability to address the world’s greatest humanitarian need. Contact Michael Ojok or Ron Denham.

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