Written by Willie Brens Wambedde
It was time for joy, jubilation and gratitude during the commissioning of a water project at Panyandoli Hills Primary School in Panyandoli Sub county, Kiryandongo district for the 2010 Bududa landslide victims.
The 6 months water project that saw the construction of 10 boreholes was funded by the proceeds of the November 2012 Kampala Marathon organized by MTN a telecommunication company in partnership with Uganda Red Cross Society. (URCS).
URCS was the implementing agency of the project which was also funded by Vision Group, Huwei Uganda and Rwenzori Water Bottling Company.
The colorful ceremony was graced by Musa Ecweru State Minister in charge of disaster preparedness, Chief Executive Officers of MTN Uganda, Vision Group, Huwei Uganda and Rwenzori Water, Members of Parliament, and Resident District Commissioners, and was well attended by beneficiaries of the project and other neighboring communities.
Drama, dance, poems from the Panyandoil Red Cross Youth Link and presentations from other different groups were organized and successfully managed to put smiles on everybody’s face at present.
The thankful LCI Chairman Panyandoli village Isaac Matanda in his opening remarks said the water project was a good shot in a safe direction and timely intervention that marched the needs of the 1st March 2010 Bududa mudslide victims.
He recounted the hard times from the mudslide occurrence in Bududa, the time they were in camps and the time they had just been resettled to Kiryandongo district with hardly any basic needs and said had it not been for URCS, government, other humanitarian actors and well wishers then making it in life to date would have been mystery.
He thanked government for delivering on the construction of 101 houses for the beneficiaries and MTN for 10 houses but challenged government to scale up on the construction of the remaining 502 houses left since the pledge covered all the 603 households. In the same way requested that government delivers the latrine slabs it promised the landslide survivors.
The Chief Executive Officer MTN Uganda Mazen Mroue explained that the November 2012 Kampala Marathon had fetched 308 million involving over 20,000 participants from Uganda and East Africa and was delighted that all the invested money had met its value.
“As MTN we are committed to enhancing communities’ well being in areas where we are doing business and social responsibility is at strength of mind.” Mroue said. He enthralled URCS for the good work done in implementing the water project and called for more collaboration and partnerships pledging that with enough skills in marketing the Kampala Marathon would soon turn a global event and this would directly impact positively on communities.
He announced that the next Kampala Marathon would be held on 24/November/2013 and called on members to participate so as to be able to help another would be selected community. URCS Under Secretary General Operations Richard Amadro expressed his satisfaction that the long talk of water had finally been delivered to the people who had survived the March 2010 Nametsi landslides in Bududa and are now resettled in Panyandoli, Kiryandongo district.
“Absence of water leads to disease, hunger, malaria and death. With the delivery of clean safe water is light given to life of these people and indeed we have every reason to celebrate today.” the sounding and happy looking Amdro said.
The CEO Vision Group Robert Kabushenga urged members of the community to work hard since they had acquired the basics of life as land, housing, water and urged them to take their children to school. Musa Ecweru the State Minister for Disaster who was the guest of honor said he is always happy whenever there is any development in the survivors’ area of the 2010 Bubuda landslide.
The reason he highlighted was that he has a special relationship with these survivors. “The most pressing challenge I have faced since I became minister was to resettle the Bududa landslide victims to Kiryandongo. The cultural disparities of these communities were sighted and having managed to do this I find it a success. Whenever there is anything related to these people I am called upon and this has created a special relationship between me and them.” the excited Ecweru explicated. The minister was humbled that the Red Cross had implemented the water project as expected and promised that other government pledges would follow suit. URCS also gave out jerrycans, wheel barrows and hand tools to the beneficiaries.
He announced that the government would construct more 50 houses next year for the victims and that vigilant monitoring would be done to ensure quality, adding that the construct would be done in phases but challenged beneficiaries to be patient as the government with budget increments will expedite the house construction process. He said much as you have suffered, God has saved u for a purpose. He eaplained that government had plans of putting up a vocational school in the area since the many victims’ education had been affected during the time of disaster. He also promised that the land titles on which they were requesting would soon be delivered to them. Having been swept off by the presentation the Red Cross Youth Link, the minister promised to take the group on an exchange visit to Teso for a learning visit. He also promised 2 bulls and maize flour to the victims for the forth coming independence celebrations.