The final conference of the Water is Life Programme (Amazzi Bulamu) and the Launch of the Community Water Improvement Programme for Makonda, Masaka District, Uganda was held at Makerere University Feb 19-21st, 2014. The Maynooth University researchers on this programme Prof. G Honor Fagan (Sociology), and Dr Alistair Fraser attended and presented papers along with Maynooth University recent doctoral graduates Dr. Richard Asaba (Sociology) and Dr. Mavuto Temba (Geography). Professor Martin Downes also attended as the Maynooth University member of the Management Committee.
Image 1: The image above shows conference delegates from the Partner Higher Education Institutes: Maynooth University, Makerere University, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin City University and Dundalk Institute of Technology and RCSI.
Mr. Dónal Cronin, Chargé d'Affaires, Embassy of Ireland in Uganda addressed participants and lauded the work of the eight doctoral researchers, two of whom are 2013 Maynooth University doctoral graduates. Mr. Dónal emphasized how the programme had involved community engagement, a necessity in all efforts geared towards development. “Evidence shows that when it comes to development, local solutions, anchored in local realities and supported by strong leadership, work best,” he said. He called upon the PhD beneficiaries to continue proposing solutions to the problem of clean water provision in the country.
During the conference, Professor G. Honor Fagan launched the Baseline Socio-spatial survey carried out in Makonda, Masaka District and the Maynooth University doctoral graduates researchers had the opportunity to disseminate their findings and recommendations to an audience of community representatives, academics, a selection of NGO’s and the Director of the Ministry of Water, Uganda among others. Each of the research projects by the eight students was on water in the case-study area, with a special focus on interdisciplinary inspired solutions to technical, social and health problems relating to water provision, access and governance.
Image 2: Maynooth doctoral graduates Dr. Mavuto Temba and Dr. Richard Asaba, with their supervisors, Dr. Alistair Fraser, Dr Consolata Kabonesa (MAK) and Prof. G. Honor Fagan at the Launch of the Community Water Improvement Programme (CWIP) in Makonda, Masaka District, Uganda.
The output from each of the eight research strands will form the basis of various postgraduate academic programmes as well as community based education and training. It will also help to actively inform policy at national government level. The programme also supported the design of a Masters in Development Studies programme that awaits approval.
The Water is Life Programme (Amazzi Bulamu), a five year research programme, was funded directly through the Irish Aid / HEA Programme of Strategic Co-Operation. It aimed to promote innovative research across a range of subject areas in support of Irish Aid's mission and to develop the capacity of the higher-education sector in Ireland & Uganda for developmental research. It is a multidisciplinary 4th level educational action project which aims to build research capacity in Ireland and Africa by conducting research that supports sustainable water resource management as a catalyst for sustainable economic and social development in rural Uganda.