23.12.2011 - Natural Sciences Sector

Rotary and UNESCO-IHE join forces to educate water professionals

The global humanitarian organization 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 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. "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. Andras Szollosi-Nagy, UNESCO-IHE's Rector.

According to the World Health Organization and UNICEF, about 2.5 billion people worldwide do not have access to improved sanitation facilities. Waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, and dysentery, claim nearly 2 million lives a year, most of them children under age five.

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. 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 owned by the member states of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. Its mandate is to help meet the water-related capacity-building needs of developing countries and countries in transition.

More information | Full press release

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