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Ugandan social business scoops international accolade

By Benon Ojiambo

Added 7th July 2016 04:05 PM

“By using modern water purification systems, schools no longer have to boil water for their drinking water needs."

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Turgesen (right) with Diana Konga, Impact Water's Senior Operations Manager (second right) with the award. Others are Ivan Suvanjieff, PeaceJam President (left) and Nobel Peace Laureate Rigoberta Menchú. (Courtesy photo)

Impact Water, a Uganda social business, was one of the winners of the prestigious 2016 Billion Acts of Peace Heroes Awards.

At a function held during the during the Monte Carlo TV and Film Festival in Monaco, France last month, Impact Water emerged the winners of Best Business Act after beating Kricket crowd-mapping aid, an app and web platform that highlights safe roots and helps to distribute food, water, and aid to refugees fleeing war-torn countries.

Impact Water offers modern water purification systems like the ultraviolet water purification system, preventive methods on credit terms to help make it possible for schools to have access to clean water in an easy, affordable and sustainable way.

“By using modern water purification systems, schools no longer have to boil water for their drinking water needs of their students leading to immediate time and money savings,” Mark Turgesen, Impact Water’s country director told the New Vision in a telephone interview.

“Many schools in Uganda are unable to provide safe drinking water to their students and because of this, many students are left to drink from unsafe water sources,” said Turgesen.

The organisation offers long-term financing options making it affordable for schools of all sizes to adopt their long-lasting water purification systems and preventative maintenance and repair plans.

The business that set up in 2012, is already servicing over 1,000 schools reaching about 500,000 students in Uganda with their sights set on expanding to 5,000 schools by 2018.

The Billion Acts of Peace Campaign is implemented by the PeaceJam, an organisation led by 13 Nobel Peace Laureates, including Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Rigoberta Menchú and others who have worked with the organization in mentoring over two million youths worldwide.

It invites peacemakers and community builders to address problems in their own community and to come together and try creative solutions.

He explained that having safe drinking water at schools is part of keeping students healthy and performing better in class and they are working closely with school associations and District Education Offices across the country.

“Access to safe water, along with hand washing with soap, proper sanitation and hygiene, is critical for student attendance and performance in school. Unsafe drinking water can transmit harmful bacteria, viruses and parasites, all contributing to waterborne illness and disease,” he added.

“We feel honoured to get such international recognition for our efforts and the impact we are creating in society. Children are the future of the country and our aim is to strengthen their future too,” he also said.

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