Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) in collaboration with the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) hosted an international training workshop to build the capacity of professionals working in water resource management and environmental conservation from the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) countries to assess water flow and environmental pollution.
This training began on September 19, 2022, in Mbarali District, Mbeya Region, and was officially opened by the district commissioner Hon. Reuben Mfune.
During his speech, he urged those who received the knowledge to ensure that they teach others in the organizations they come from so they can achieve the goal and objectives of the training, which is clean and safe water flowing from rivers to sea all year round.
"People who live near the river should be aware that their destructive activities damage the ponds that go to sea with mud and affect the ecosystems of rivers, lakes, and seas", said Hon. Mfune.
He pointed out that there are many human activities carried out along the rivers and water sources, such as cutting down trees and animal husbandry that do not consider the size of the area. He urged all citizens to support the government's efforts by complying with the laws and regulations set to protect rivers and the environment for the benefit of both the present and future generations.
"The water is very important for the entire nation, consider the Nyerere power dam which is currently being built, if it fails to work due to the lack of water, it means that the government will waste its money, we also have the Mtera and Kidatu power dams, if either of them fails, it will be harder to achieve Tanzania's industrialization aspirations " he stated.
Hon. Mfune congratulated SUA and WIOMSA for organizing the training, which is in line with the government effort to restore the health of rivers and mitigate the effects of environmental pollution in rivers, saying it was a good idea and would be a great help to the nation.
Mbarali District Commissioner Hon. Reuben Mfune
Speaking about the training, Researcher and EFLOWS project leader, Professor Japhet Kashaigili from SUA said the primary objective of the training is to provide professionals with the skills necessary to assess water flow and environmental pollution.
"It is a capacity-building program with practical components. They will be able to view the environmental protection-related actions that are carried out, the circumstances that led to their implementation, as well as the fundamental justifications for the need for environmental flow assessment and the associated activities and after that, each one will do it alone" Prof. Kashaigili remarked
Prof. Kashaigili continued by saying that the assessment of water flow and environmental pollution will make it possible to relate the effects resulting from the various activities undertaken and the degree to which they have an impact on the entire sea area in order to be able to know the heart of the problem, the stage it has reached, the effects it has, and how to solve it.
"This will help the country implement the National Water Policy along with the Water Resources Management Act 2009 which has specified in the sharing of water that the priorities are for the use of Humans, the Environment, and for other activities, so water for the environment was a part that lacked expertise and there was no how to do it without building capacity for professionals. Now the expertise is there, so we must now produce many other experts ", said Prof. Kashaigili.
Prof. Japhet Kashaigili
On his part, the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) manager, Dr. Mathias Igulu said that there is a great relationship between the sea and the rivers, but this matter has not been talked about much, that is why WIOMSA has considered it good to start a discussion by bringing together experts and other stakeholders for the wider interests of the conservation of the sea, rivers, and environment.
"In collaboration with the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) which we all know has talented professionals and experts in the areas of Agriculture sciences, water, environment, fish farming, and other related sciences, therefore, it is the right time to collaborate with them to gather all stakeholders who are present in Tanzania and abroad for this training," said Dr. Igulu
He added that all matters related to the sea and rivers touch people's lives every day, and society needs to use water to produce, so it is an important area that must be looked at carefully for the benefit of all the countries involved.
Dr. Mathias Igulu
One of the participants of the training who is an Assistant Researcher from the Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI) Ms. Wendo Lukwambe said that the training is very important for them because it will help them to know more about the flow of water and how to take care of the water and the environment.
"We are working hard to find out pieces of knowledge related to the flow of water and the environment because it will help us in the fishing area. There are some species of fish that tend to extinct due to the way the environment has changed, if you come to look at the source you will find that it comes from the Water and the Environment pollution, so if we preserve the water source well it can help us", said Ms. Lukwamba.
Participants in the training following the opening speeches and the presentation of various topics
Dr. Winfred Mbungu gave a word of thanks to the official guest immediately after opening the training
The five-day training (from 19th – 24th September 2022) involves professionals working in water resource management, environmental conservation, Government entities such as the ministries of water, environment, agriculture, and river basin organizations, as well as non-governmental organizations, research institutions, and community development organizations from the Western Indian Ocean countries which include South Africa, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia, Comoros, and Madagascar who participated via the Internet (Zoom)
Story credits: Amina Hezron - SUAMEDIA
Photo credits: Calvin Gwabara - SUAMEDIA