To celebrate the successful collaboration between the University of Westminster and the Busoga Trust (a charity supplying clean drinking water to rural areas of Uganda) guests from the Ugandan High Commission joined Westminster Business School (WBS) MBA graduates, staff, students and business leaders at a reception on Tuesday the 26th of November at Marylebone campus.
Coker, Kumar Gaurav and Iuliana Undangiu
The guest of Honour was His Excellency Mr Peter Moto (red tie), the Ugandan High Commissioner to the UK. He was joined by his deputy Mr John Mugerwa. Mr Moto delivered a presentation on effective partnerships in Uganda and the future for Africa.
Other speakers included Miss Lydia Slack – representing Busoga Trust – and Professor Malcolm Kirkup, Head of Westminster Business School. Malcolm gave an introductory speech praising the MBA programme at Westminster Business School for producing ‘responsible, compassionate and progressive graduates. All of which are able to operate in complex and risky (VUCA) environments. Similarly, Dr Katalin Iles, Associate Head of College (External Relations) echoed this in her speech. In addition, Head of the School of Organisations, Economy and Society, Dr Vincent Rich also spoke. He highlighted the alignment of this project with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.
Dr Anthony Agbobu, project leader and a practising Physician and Rheumatologist at Dorset County Hospital, together with Mrs Taiwo Coker, gave a keynote presentation. Other members of the MBA project team were Miss Esther Isaac, Mr Kumar Gaurav and Miss Iuliana Udangiu.
Dr Agbobu provided a report on the outcomes of the project which focused on an investigation of the accuracy and cost-efficiency of self-reporting approaches of water sources in rural Busoga, Uganda (presentation available to watch here). In these villages, water is normally accessed via shallow hand-dug water hand pumps. They frequently become partially functional and then non-functional, resulting in massive costs of repair or replacement.
As a result, the MBA team identified the need for weekly checks using a checklist which they had devised themselves, as well as highlighting the importance of effective governance in enforcing these checks. Other solutions included women’s education, bank deposits for maintenance funds and the use of cheap mobile technology. More broadly the project required the MBA team to test a series of hypotheses and how these aligned with the reality on the ground, to demonstrate adaptability to changing circumstances, awareness of and empathy with the local cultural context and, most importantly, the need for effective collaboration to build lasting solutions that ensure legacy.
In conclusion, this intervention builds on a number other projects over the last few years that have seen over 65 University of Westminster Masters/MBA students working with the Busoga Trust to support rural communities in Uganda on issues of clean water access and sanitation.
The event closed with a buffet dinner reception where attendees had the chance to network with each other.
Thank you to Dr Anthony Agbobu, project leader and MBA Alumnus, for writing this blog piece.
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This is a well thought out project and an interesting one.
Water is so vital in the developing world and to find a good means of getting safe clean drinking water in the remote villages of Africa is huge challenge.
I congratulate you all for giving us a window view of needs in this area. Well done
Thank you for your comments. The project is an ongoing one and with time we will see the effectiveness of our solution. It was a great team effort and I am once again grateful for appreciation.
Dr Anthony Agbobu
It’s been a long time, my old friend.
You might remember me from Southampton Medical School.
Congratulations on your important charity work.
Drop me a line on my email, if you get this message!
Just looking at this reply now.
Hope you and family are well.
Drop me an email sometime and lets exchange contacts.