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The team visited different sites during the mobilization

In effort to support initiatives for sustainable integrated river basin management, UNDF member organizations are working with Uganda government and other stakeholders to save flood affected communities. This was Kick-started with mobilization and sensitization activities along the Lake Victoria shorelines from 3rd to 8th May 2021.

The activity is in line with the NBD objective to support Nile communities for equitable utilization and sustainable management of the Nile basin resources, improve communication, knowledge and information management.

Profile of activity Implementation team

The entire team was composed of the Uganda Ministry of Health - Malaria and Vector control departments, Kampala Capital City Authority, Office of the Prime Minister, Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH), Uganda Police Force – Marines Unit, Uganda Red Cross Society, and NBD member Organisations Swim Safe Uganda (SSU) and CEPARD Global in collaboration with several other stakeholders.

SSU and CEPARD Global have had several achievements over the years. These include lifeguard trainings for aquatic bystanders (constituting water safety education, survival swimming, and lifesaving, rescue and CPR skills) since 2011 producing over 400 lifeguards.
In 2017 the partnership carried out  a Water Safety out-reach which benefited 121 adults and 300 children in Ssese Island, in 2018 the training benefited 126 adults, and 240 children in Buvuma Island, and 79 people around Lake Bunyonyi - Kabale community.
In 2019, Kasensero - Kyotera Community Water Safety Out-Reach training benefited 200 adults and 400 children, and in 2016 at Butuntumula - Luwero, an Aquatic Survival programme was conducted benefiting 207 children and 306 parents. In the year 2018, a "Learn to Swim Programme" was conducted - benefiting 105 scouts and 174 children.

Problem and Rationale for the activities/project

Lake Victoria is a huge trans-boundary body shared by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda with about 23 rivers that bring water into the lake. Some of these rivers originate as far as Rwanda and Burundi and therefore when it rains in Burundi, water finds its way into Lake Victoria. There is however, only one exit through River Nile at Jinja. The current rise in water levels for Lake Victoria has also attracted regional and international attention since this water flows through South Sudan, Sudan, and through Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea.

The rising water levels and associated floods within Lake Victoria basin and other areas of Uganda are already having negative impacts on the people and developments including Hydropower generation, Water transport and bridge construction, Water sanitation and health, Settlements and establishments. It has also created worsening conditions of water bone diseases, malaria and reduced the health access and seeking behavior of communities.

Lake Kyoga is projected to exceed the highest historical water level of 13.2 meters and as such its shorelines, swamps and flood plains will experience high water levels. Several settlements and essential facilities in the districts surrounding the lake including health facilities, schools, roads, water supply and sanitation facilities are vulnerable to effects of flooding. Although Lake Albert is not expected to reach critical flooding levels some areas in the surrounding districts of Hoima, Buliisa and Ntoroko will be affected.

Upon a directive by His Excellency the President of Uganda, to remove all encroachers on wetlands, shorelines, river banks and government forests, Uganda's Water Ministry is working with the Ministry of Local Government and other relevant government agencies to evict people living within 100 meters of river banks, 30 meters of wetlands and 200 meters of lake shores, in forest reserves, and stop cultivation on steep slopes in order to reduce erosion and high run-off from the hilly areas.

Among other things Government has put in place structures and systems to combat this crisis including setting up an Inter-ministerial Committee under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister, comprising 14 Ministries and 7 Agencies to implement government response to this disaster. A multi-sectoral Technical Task Team chaired by the Ministry of Water and Environment provides technical support to the Inter-ministerial Committee and has already started on emergency work on three (3) key fronts; ensuring safety of Hydropower dams, protection of lives and property and monitoring and surveillance of water resources and floating islands.

Goal and Objectives

The Overall goal; Building community based prevention, mitigation, rescue/response and resilience capacity for sustainable water safety and drowning prevention initiatives.
Objectives:
  1. Do a rapid assessment on the impact of floods in different flood spots
  2. Increase sensitization and awareness creation to abide by government directives while preventing, mitigating and adapting to flood challenges along the Nile Basin.
  3. Offer short term responses to affected communities like waste vector management

Long term Objectives
  1. Promote water safety and first aid skills through training youths and adults teams in and around Nile water bodies
  2. To train and accredit 500 community water safety facilitators, and 100 community water safety instructors
  3. Acquire training, first aid and rescue equipment and avail them to water based communities.

Expected outcomes

The plan started with short term objectives of data collection, mobilization of communities and sensitizing them but the main outcome of all this is to have increased water safety in the Nile Basin of Uganda and beyond beginning with Lake Victoria basin communities.

Uganda Nile Discourse Forum (UNDF) will work with member Organizations to implement the objectives of this programme through promotion of collaboration and partnerships between member CSOs and other stakeholders.

Target Areas

Through assessment and through use of information from the media and other sources, at least ten high risk flood areas will be targeted for activities across the country. Those include : Gaba, Masolya (Mayuge), Namayingo, Kalangala, Buvuma, Kaseese, Kasensero, Bindibugyo, Nakasongola and Amolatar.


Author:
Mathias Mulumba
National Technical Support Expert - Uganda


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