Posted by: Wasrag | August 16, 2014

The first graduating class from the Rotary/UNESCO-IHE scholarship program has returned home to improve water and sanitation in underserved communities

The first class of five Rotary sponsored scholars graduated in April 2014 with Master of Science degrees in water education from the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education. The graduates have returned home and are applying their education to water and sanitation projects in their home countries of Argentina, Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Ghana.

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.”

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.

Another graduate, Temesgen Adamu, 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.”

For more information on the Rotary UNESCO-IHE students, please visit the Facebook page for the scholarship program: http://www.facebook.com/RotaryScholarshipProgramUnescoIhe or contact Henk Jaap Kloosterman, the Rotary Host Area Coordinator (HAC) for the UNESCO-IHE Scholarship Program henkjaapkloosterman@gmail.com

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