Robert Apunyo (Uganda)
Program Manager (Research - Public Policy and WASH)
Kabano Research and Development Centre, Uganda
Master of Integrated Water Management
2013/14 IWC Alumni Ambassador (Uganda, Rwanda and Sudan)
Since he was a boy, Robert has been passionate about environment and water. He chaired Wildlife Clubs Uganda at high school and took on extra study in environment at university. Robert researched HIV/AIDS and other topics at Makerere University in Uganda and also volunteered in rural programs to help communities address environmental problems.
When I returned to Uganda after completing my Masters program, I had a very busy work schedule which sent me to all regions of my country to conduct an annual survey that we do for the World Economic Forum based in Switzerland. Thereafter, in late May 2010, I went to Cape Town for some training and I was deployed to Zimbabwe for one year.
I am now in Zimbabwe working for an organisation developing the capacity of Zimbabwean parliamentarians to perform their roles. We work to restore harmony among political leaders and their electorates. In 2007/08 Zimbabwe underwent turbulent political and economic breakdown. At one time this brought urban water supply to a halt, sparking the cholera epidemic that ravaged especially the urban areas in 2008. Urban water supply has remained intermittent since, and water rationing is used as a water demand management strategy. Generally IWRM has suffered tremendous drawbacks and the situation is not likely to improve in the near future.
In Zimbabwe, I spent the first five months working in the governance area. However, in December 2010 we organised exchange visits for the two major city councils to promote reciprocal learning. IWRM, and in particular water supply and conservation, ranked as the major concern of both urban authorities which are desperately looking for solutions to fix their water supply deficiencies.
The water sector is lacking current data to guide sustainable reforms because of lapses resulting from the country’s terrible experience. We are therefore designing a study of Harare City’s water supply situation to highlight the current problems in the sector and inform policy and institutional review. I am optimistic this will lead to the development of a water demand management strategy for the City. Certainly the IWC MIWM training is applicable to this situation, particularly the problem-based learning project which focused on analysing the South East Queensland water grid and water demand management.