Before the end of the year thanks to the support of donors, construction work will commence on the joint project of the International Rowing Federation, FISA, and the World Wide Fund for Nature titled the Kafue River & Rowing Centre (KRRC). TECHO as a partner of the project contributed revenue from a fundraising event organised to support the project and also undertook to provide a donation in kind in the form of interior furnishings for the new centre with a value of several million crowns.
Bridge over troubled water
The waters of the Kafue River are in serious trouble. And so are its people, wildlife and species that depend on it for survival. Over half the people of Zambian live within the Kafue River Basin. Pollution from urban waste, mining, industries and agriculture are threatening the existence of this majestic river. Overfishing and introduction of invasive species are also making it difficult for the river to thrive.
The Kafue Flats are one such area of the Kafue River that faces a multitude of threats. The Flats are home to the largest sugar plantations in the country, highest concentration of livestock (Beef) and home to two hydropower dams that provide electricity for domestic and industrial use.
Not to mention that the Kafue Flats provides drinking water to over 3 million people.
WWF and its partners are trying to address these threats by building the Kafue River & Rowing Centre, on the banks of the Kafue River. The Centre will be a meeting place to co-create and build solutions to the many problems faced by the Kafue River.
The unique and innovative building will be a place where women, children, adults, managers, business executives, community leaders and politicians can meet to solve the environmental and problems that the Kafue River faces. The KRRC will have a research laboratory, classroom/ conferencing, meeting area, boat-house and a gymnasium.
The site of the Kafue River & Rowing Centre is of utmost importance to WWF Zambia. It is situated to the South-East of the town of Kafue, adjacent to the Kafue River and is the perfect location for studying the demands on Zambia’s most important resource: water. It is also situated just 200 metres from a local school, which will use the rowing equipment as a part of their physical education programme.
Rowing to save the Kafue, the Blue Heart of Zambia
We strongly believe that people can only save a river if they are connected to it – so it’s our dream to connect communities, school going children, university students and the wider public to this very important river by introducing them to a sport well known for its respect for water. This innovation will be the first of its kind in Zambia that will bring Education, Sports and Conservation under one roof.
The KRRC aims to establish infrastructure and staff which can support these activities, together with partners, WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature), FISA (World Rowing Association), and UNESCO-IHE Institute of Water Education. The three pillars of the Centre include Research, Capacity Development, and Education and Outreach.
WWF and World Rowing have been partners for Clean Water since 2011. In 2014, they decided to take action on the global freshwater issues that threaten our planet, and identified the lower basin of the Kafue River as a place in which all these challenges are faced. This was to be coupled with a then, newly introduced Water Stewardship programme that uses the influence of companies in the basins to deliver change.
The KRRC will:
- Establish a regional hub for enhancing freshwater conservation expertise on the Kafue River, which is part of the Zambezi River Basin - a WWF global priority area.
- Contribute to the more sustainable use of freshwater in the Zambezi River Basin, in particular the Kafue River and Kafue Flats. It will also serve as convening location of the different types of stakeholders to advance good water management.
- Contribute to educating Zambia and southern Africa’s next generation of water experts
- Attract funding for freshwater conservation in the Zambezi basin through the activities of the Centre
- Create a permanent base to facilitate the development of rowing in Kafue, in Zambia and with outreach to neighbouring countries, and raise the profile of the sport in southern Africa
- Showcase the power of the “World Rowing - WWF Partnership for Clean Water”.