“The center’s activities will be to provide practical experiences to students and local communities in the area of irrigation, geographic information system (GIS), and water testing,” says Lugujjo.
Ndejje University has opened a water research and development center where students and local communities are to benefit.
This was revealed on Tuesday by the University vice chancellor Eliab Lugujjo in Luwero during the rolling out of the three year BWS plus project, a short-term exchange programme for Baden-Wurttemberg- Stipendium University, Germany with its partner university.
Lugujjo said the center's core research will be to engage communities on how to harvest rain water to complement the available water for irrigation, solar irrigation and drinking water supply.
"The center's activities will be to provide practical experiences to students and local communities in the area of irrigation, geographic information system (GIS), and water testing," says Lugujjo.
With this partnership with the University of Rottenburg, the university is looking forward to finding lasting solutions to the water problem in the communities around.
"We are aware that they are people in the communities around the university who do not know some of these measures of how to collect water with the few water sources we have in place, therefore, this way, we shall engage them and sensitise them on issues to do with water storage, since we have partners like water AID And National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC),"he adds.
Eight million people in Uganda do not have access to safe water, according to the 2015/16 report released by water Aid, an international organisation.
It further revealed that 45,000 children under five years die due to diarrhoea as a result of poor water and sanitation. However, many Ugandans, especially in rural areas, still have to walk long distances to access water, share water sources with animals or generally do not have safe water.
Lugujjo also said the water research and development center which will commence early next year is targeting over 10,000 people in communities around the university.
Prof. Matthias Friedle from the University of Hochschule fur Forstwirtschaft, Rottenburg Germany said this is an opportunity to help people in Uganda access safe water.
"Some people do not know that it is their right to have safe water for personal and domestic use. More to this, few people know the measures of taking safe water free from micro-organisms and chemicals that may lead to health hazards," says Friedle.
Friedle also notes that later students who will have gained enough experience from the field will be given an opportunity to visit Germany communities for two weeks where access to safe water is still a challenge.
Paul Matovu Luganda a lay reader at Ndejje Christian Community says the biggest challenge in communities around Ndejje University has been environmental degradation and developments that have occurred in the past.
"With the developments which have occurred in Luwero in the past years, we have seen most of the water sources being destroyed, therefore the few water sources which are in place are shared with animals," Luganda says.
Luganda adds that Bombo especially villages like Mawu, Kisooba,Namusansula among others have no piped water and these depend on water from wells and streams.
"These communities depend on the few streams in the area some of which the water does not flow well, therefore with this water research and development center, communities will be availed with skills on how to harvest water and how to keep it safe for use, "he says.
On the other hand Luganda says those with water sources like bore holes do not know how to maintain them.
"Those few communities which have boreholes do not know how to maintain them when they break down. Sometimes they wait for people (NGOs) who donated them to repair them, which is big challenge," Luganda adds.