A DkIT research project was given a national launch by Joe Costello TD, Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Minister Costello officially opened the' Water is Life' project workshop at the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin and was joined by the Ugandan Minister for Water and the Environment, Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu.
The project is part of the Irish Aid Programme of Strategic Co- Operation which was launched in 2006 and which aims to promote innovative research across a range of subject areas in support of Irish Aid's mission and to develop the capacity of the higher-education sector in Ireland and Uganda for developmental research.
Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) is leading ' Water Is Life: Amazzi Bulamu', a large multi-disciplinary partnership of Irish higher education institutions - which also includes: NUI Maynooth (NUIM), Dublin City University (DCU), Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), University College Dublin (UCD) and Queen's University Belfast (QUB) - with Makerere University in the Ugandan capital Kampala; and various non-governmental organisations such as the Medical Missionaries of Mary and the Ugandan Water and sanitation Network.
Dr Suzanne Linnane, project lead and Director of the Centre for Freshwater and Environmental Studies at DkIT said that the 'Water Is Life: Amazzi Bulamu' is developing technologies and activities in the area of water resource sustainability.
The research is also monitoring impacts on community health, gender and poverty through a combination of PhD research and direct community engagement.
The project is aimed at reaching the local community in Uganda through local education initiatives and training programmes.
'As the project is focusing on the provision of safe water in rural Uganda the research will be of considerable and measurable value at a time when water was never a more pressing issue in Uganda and other African countries.
The eight PhD researchers funded by the programme are in the final stages of their doctoral research at DkIT in disciplines such as science, engineering, geography and sociology.