Minister Fergus O’Dowd launches the ‘Water is Life: Amazzi Bulamu’ - Lar Boland photo exhibition in DkIT

Fergus O'Dowd TD, Minister of State with Responsibility for the NewEra project officially launched the Lar Boland photo exhibition in the Muirhevna Building on 15th December 2011.

Lar Boland is an Irish photojournalist who secured funding under the Simon Cumbers Fund in a joint application with the DkIT-based Water Is Life project. Lar travelled to Uganda in April 2011 with the WIL project team and documented the project through photos (both in Uganda and Ireland) the work that the project is undertaking. The Simon Cumbers Media Challenge Fund promotes more and better quality coverage of development issues in the Irish media and the work of Irish Aid. It was established by Irish Aid in 2005 in memory of the late Irish journalist and cameraman, Simon Cumbers. The themes of this fund cover global development issues and reflect Irish Aid priorities and the partner countries in which we work. Irish Aid's overarching goal is the eradication of hunger and poverty.

Launching the exhibition, Minister O'Dowd made reference to the excellent research which is being carried out by the Water Is Life project in Uganda under this Irish Aid funded project. He also mentioned the tradition and links that exist between the North-East region of Ireland and sub-Saharan Africa, in particular, he made reference to his brother (Councillor Michael O'Dowd) who recently visited the MMMs in Makondo in Uganda and was greeted at the entrance of their compound by someone wearing a DkIT t-shirt!

Prof. Eli Katunguka-Rwakishaya (Director, School of Graduate Studies, Makerere University) spoke about the strong partnership which has been established as a result of this inter-disciplinary project and the importance of the involvement of the community on the ground to the success of this initiative. Despite abundant rain during the rainy season in Uganda, people are still without access to this basic human need. He also mentioned the MMMs and the importance of their work to the community in Makondo where clean and safe water supplies remain a major issue.

Dr Suzanne Linnane, project lead and Director of the Centre for Freshwater Studies at DkIT addedthat in addition to the research which is being conducted, the project also aims to involve the local community in Uganda through local education initiatives and training programmes. She also mentioned that a Volunteer Society has just been established here in Dundalk Institute of Technology which aims to engage DkIT students and staff in contributing to poverty reduction in the developing world.

The photos are still on display in the Muirhevna Building, DkIT.