Rotary and UNESCO-IHE join forces to educate water professionals
New partnership will bolster rans of experts needed to stem the water and sanitation crisis killing millions in the developing world
EVANSTON , Ill. (Nov. 28, 2011) — Rotary and the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education are teaming up to tackle the world’s water and sanitation crisis by increasing the ranks of trained professionals critically needed to devise, plan, and implement solutions in developing countries that bear the brunt of the problem.
Through this new strategic partnership, The Rotary Foundation will provide grants to Rotary clubs and districts to select and sponsor eight students each year for scholarships to any of three 18-month Master of Science degree programs at UNESCO-IHE, a United Nations institute in Delft, The Netherlands, that is the world’s largest postgraduate water education facility. The school’s scholarship-eligible programs are Municipal Water and Infrastructure; Water Management; and Water Science and Engineering.
"This strategic partnership with UNESCO-IHE enables Rotary to work with a globally-recognized leader in the training of water professionals at a time when such experts are desperately needed in many parts of the world,” said Rotary Foundation Chair William B. Boyd. "By identifying high-quality, high-potential candidates for these scholarships, Rotary clubs will help the countries most impacted by the water and sanitation crisis increase their capacity to identify and implement solutions. It is a strategic, long-term investment with long-term benefits.”
"We are delighted to have this new cooperation with Rotary. The task ahead is no less than training the next generation of water leaders to be equipped to deal with the enormous water challenges ahead in the coming decades," said Prof. András Szöllösi-Nagy, UNESCO-IHE's Rector. "The water crisis, compounded with climate variability impacts, is looming. The cooperation with Rotary is an important milestone in the large scale, global capacity-building required to tackle this crisis.”
According to a joint report by the World Health Organization and UNICEF, about 2.5 billion people worldwide do not have access to improved sanitation facilities. About 884 million obtain water for drinking, cooking, and washing from unprotected sources. Waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, and dysentery, claim nearly 2 million lives a year, most of them children under age five. The continuous task of fetching water keeps millions of people, especially women and girls, from going to school and holding productive jobs. Improved water and sanitation is key to achieving all eight Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations.
The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, under its new Future Vision plan, seeks to forge strategic partnerships with established organizations with expertise in Rotary’s six areas of focus, one of which is water and sanitation. The other focus areas are peace and conflict prevention/resolution; disease prevention and treatment; maternal and child health; basic education and literacy; and economic and community development. The foundation grants support major international projects with sustainable, high impact outcomes. UNESCO-IHE scholarship grants are available only to clubs in the 100 Rotary districts piloting Future Vision until the plan is fully implemented July 1, 2013.
UNESCO-IHE is a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization “category I” institute and is owned by all the UNESCO member states. Its mandate is to strengthen and mobilize the global educational and knowledge base for integrated water resources management, and contribute to meeting the water-related capacity building needs of developing countries and countries in transition.
ABOUT ROTARY: Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders who provide humanitarian service and help to build goodwill and peace in the world. There are 1.2 million Rotary members in 34,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Rotary clubs have been serving communities worldwide for more than a century. The first Rotary club was founded in Chicago in 1905. For more information, visit rotary.org.
ABOUT UNESCO-IHE: UNESCO-IHE is the largest postgraduate water education facility in the world and the only institution in the UN system authorized to confer accredited Master of Science degrees and promote PhDs. Since 1957 the Institute has provided postgraduate education to more than 14,500 water professionals from over 160 countries, the vast majority from the developing world. More than 95 PhD candidates have been promoted, and numerous research and capacity building projects have been carried out throughout the world. For more information, visit unesco-ihe.org.