Uganda is a landlocked country located in Africa’s great lakes region found on the Eastern part of Africa; west of Kenya, south of South Sudan, east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and north of Rwanda and Tanzania. It is in the heart of the Great Lakes region, and is surrounded by three of them, Lake Edward, Lake Albert, and Lake Victoria. Uganda is 241,551 sqkm of which 41,028 sqkm is covered by natural bodies of water.
For the last 5 years, Swim Safe Uganda has been involved in ensuring that there is focused effort towards reducing the numbers involved in drowning. Moses Kalanzi is the Director of Programs for Swim Safe Uganda.
Moses and Swim Safe Uganda has created a strategy to provide a massive awareness campaign through the country on aquatic survival by passing information about water safety inside of the school system. Water safety education will be a part of every school’s curriculum beginning in 2017.
Starting with the school teachers who will be certified at that level as Trainers of Trainees, the program is expected to be rolled out in such a way that at least four trainers are capable of handling 50 trainees to fully achieve the goals of the project. This is expected to be broken into 6 phases over a period of 2 years until the entire country is covered and a study will be carried out thereafter to establish the awareness levels or identify any challenges that will still be in place so that possible solutions are suggested and implemented accordingly.
Many of the risk factors included in the World Health Organization’s Global Report on Drowning describe many of Uganda’s unnecessary drownings. Citizens of Uganda don’t have plumbing so they must visit a natural water source to obtain water to drink, to cook, to clean, and to wash. Traveling over rivers is commonplace and very dangerous. Life jackets don’t exist in Uganda.
There is much to do but Moses and Swim Safe Uganda are not only up to the challenge but are already making a very big impact. Working with the Ministry of Education and Sports to create a water safety curriculum is proof of this.