Olds Rotary helps provide clean water in Uganda


A Rotary club member from Uganda stopped in Olds last week to tell about the successful partnership between Olds and his club to provide clean water to area children affected by the AIDS epidemic.

Joseph Mutajjululwa, a member of the Rotary Club of Kyotera, told Olds members at their last meeting on Wednesday that the partnership begun three years ago has been extremely successful, but that there is more work to do in providing more water tanks to area schools and households — many of them headed by children.

“There are a lot of orphaned children. The last registration, there were 78,000 orphans registered in the … district and these were coming from 933 child-headed households,” he said.

Adding to the difficulty, there is a lack of electricity in rural areas, leading to no piped water, which means that the children must get their water from wells, ponds and springs. It is often contaminated, leading to a lot of illness from water-borne diseases.

In Uganda, women and children are tasked with procuring water, but since children head many households, the need to procure that water often affects academic performance.

Since the Rotary Club of Olds began providing water tanks at schools, the rate of water-borne illness has decreased, Mutajjululwa told members.

“I’m here to thank you for the work you did, but there’s still work to do. The more we can do, the more we can improve the lives of the children,” he said.

The Olds Rotary Club has provided tanks at 13 schools thus far, but there are 62 schools in the area.

“There is a need for water both at the school level and the household level,” Mutajjululwa said, adding that the next project, if accepted by the Olds club, would provide tanks to 10 more schools and 15 families, helping out more than 400 children in their homes.

Mutajjululwa said the partnership between the two clubs shows the power and the reach of Rotary.

Greg MacIntyre, president of the Rotary Club of Olds, said the club in Olds was informed about the project by Robin Knudsen, who in addition to being a member of the club in Olds is also president of Medic Canada, which does development projects throughout the developing world through providing micro-credit loans to entrepreneurs.

“We decided to get involved in the project. We followed it through to completion and with great success,” he said.

MacIntyre said the club in Olds is eager to discuss the details of the Kyotera club’s latest proposal.

“I believe we will be working with (the Kyotera club) because we like to work (on) projects, especially at an international level, with people that we know and trust, and we know Joe, we trust him,” he said.