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News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, director,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

08-17-06

Contacts:

Brian Meyer, College of Agriculture Communications Service, (515) 294-0706, bmeyer@iastate.edu

John McCarroll, University Relations, (515) 294-61387, jmccarol@iastate.edu

Donations fund new wells in rural Uganda

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University President Gregory Geoffroy, Gerald A. and Karen A. Kolschowsky, and College of Agriculture Dean Wendy Wintersteen attended a dedication for two new wells in Uganda on Wednesday.

Iowa State's Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods helped plan and build the wells, which will provide water to 700 elementary school children and irrigate vegetable gardens in the rural Kamuli District. The Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods, which was established in 2003 with gifts from the Kolschowskys, is partnering with nongovernmental agencies in Uganda to help developing nations increase food security and farm incomes.

"I would like to acknowledge the role of two very important people in making this day possible. Jerry and Karen Kolschowsky are dedicated citizens of the world and are committed to ensuring the continued progress and prosperity for the people of the world," Geoffroy said. "We are truly grateful to them for their leadership in creating the center."

A service-learning project allowed six Iowa State students to intern in Uganda for four weeks and help with development of the elementary school garden in Namasagali. The school-garden project was developed with cooperation from Makerere University of Uganda and Volunteer Efforts for Development Concerns (VEDCO), a local nongovernmental organization, and the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods.

At the dedication Geoffroy thanked the community members for inviting Iowa State students and faculty into their community.

"I want to thank you for your friendship to our students and faculty who have worked side by side with many of you and the students from Makerere University in developing this new garden," Geoffroy said. "It is important for our students to gain a broad understanding of the world as part of their education, so they will be more conscientious global citizens."

Geoffroy is leading the ISU group, which is in East Africa to learn how the center has improved the lives of Ugandans. The U.S. delegation also includes Robert Mazur, director of the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods; Lorna Michael Butler, the Henry A. Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture; other donors and Iowa State students.

The Kamuli District, which is about three hours from Kampala, Uganda's capital city, is among the poorest and least developed areas of the country. More than 80 percent of Kamuli households depend on subsistence farming for their livelihood.

Community members previously had to walk four miles to fetch water to carry back to their homes. The opening of the wells will provide safe drinking water, reduce women's labor, improve sanitation and provide irrigated water for the gardens.

The Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods, which may be the only program of its kind at a U.S. university, was created in 2003 in Iowa State University's College of Agriculture to strengthen the capabilities of rural people in developing countries to utilize agriculture and natural resources and achieve food security and improved nutrition and health. The center applies science-based and indigenous knowledge to promote sustainable rural livelihoods in developing countries.

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"I want to thank you for your friendship to our students and faculty who have worked side by side with many of you and the students from Makerere University in developing this new garden. It is important for our students to gain a broad understanding of the world as part of their education, so they will be more conscientious global citizens."

President Geoffroy