The training which is a nationwide campaign, is aimed at minimising drowning incidences in Uganda
Over forty youths qualified as international aquatic lifesavers on an international level, after undergoing an intensive training in survival swimming, aquatic rescue and disaster management.
The ten-day intensive training was conducted at Kaazi scouts centre, Busaabala in Wakiso district, spearheaded by Swim Safe Uganda, a non-governmental organisation which advocates for water safety in the country.
While passing out the 44 candidates who successfully made it to the top, Moses Kalanzi, the executive director for Swim-safe Uganda said, the training which is a nationwide campaign, is aimed at minimising drowning incidences in Uganda.
"This round, we gave priority to swimming pool and beach attendants working at different beaches and hotels because we found out that most of them actually cannot save a drowning person and yet there is no law which enforces this," said Kalanzi while handing over certificates to qualified candidates on Friday.
Kalanzi further revealed that the certificates issued to trainees are international accreditation that allows them to work as lifesavers/guards at any water body in the world. "Many people may know how to swim, but very few know how to save a drowning victim, hence this training campaign," he noted, adding that over 5000 people die annually in Uganda as a result of drowning.
The Swim Safe partnered with Pacific Lifeguard Academy from New Zealand. Tim Jago, one of the two instructors from New Zealand, said all those who were trained, are to act as ambassadors who will in return have to train others.
"Some of the participants never understood a single word in English and we were only using sign language, but they qualified," Jago said.
The campaign started in 2014 with the focus on people who live on islands and those around water bodies. In September this year, over 152 residents from the island district of Buvuma were enrolled in the programme where the biggest number was given lifesaving tips.