"The rise in Lake Victoria water levels has been catalysed by the community that pollutes and degrades lake-shores and its basin, plus river banks."
In a bid to fulfil its core mandate, the Lake Victoria Regional Local Authorities Cooperation (LVRLAC) has partnered with sports icons to promote community participation in conserving Lake Victoria through sports.
Through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by Vincent Kayanja, the Entebbe municipality mayor, who also doubles as the LVRLAC chairperson in Uganda, and Ronald Onzima the chairperson for Entebbe annual sports gala, both parties agreed on a five-year partnership of conserving the Victoria basin.
According to Kayanja, some community members are not aware that they are directly or indirectly responsible for the degradation of the lake.
"However, these people can easily be reached through areas of their interest like sports, so that we avert the fast-brewing catastrophe," noted Kayanja.
The Lake Victoria Sports tournament concept was developed by Entebbe annual corporate sports gala, where the corporate fraternity and local community are expected to engage in games and sports while practising social corporate responsibility like planting trees and cleaning lake shores.
"This event will kick off in Entebbe municipality through an awareness and outreach program. Being a launch, it will only include the local council teams and corporate organisations situated in Entebbe.
"In the proceeding years, the event is expected to expand throughout Uganda, and later other East African countries. This will give a deep and wider platform for the gospel of protection, preservation, conservation, maintenance and sustainable use and development of the Lake," explained Onzima.
Benjamin Ocha, a Uganda Cranes goalkeeper playing at Kenya's AFC Leopards, also emphasised that during every game played in the respective local authorities, tree planting, cleanup exercises and environmental management sensitisation shall be carried out.
"We shall request a local authority to allocate space for LVRLAC sports forest. We also plan to have an environmental management discussion during the participating team meetings. The best compliant teams shall also be recognised and awarded," said Ochan.
According to Mercy Ssebuliba, an academician and also a programmes coordinator under LVRLAC, the rise in Lake Victoria water levels has been catalysed by the community that pollutes and degrades lake-shores and its basin, plus river banks.
"These destructive acts range from tree cutting, poor methods of farming along the shorelines, pollution from industries among other activities. However, these can easily be reached through areas of their interest like sports," argued Ssebuliba. The new arrangement is expected to be effected when the lock-down is lifted.