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Ugandan well to be named after President

A charity organisation has named a well in Africa after Michael D.Higgins.

Irish President Michael D Higgins speaking at his official residence in Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)

Níall FeiritearSunday World

A new well is being built in Uganda which will be named after the President of Ireland.

Michael D Higgins recently returned from a visit to Senegal and the announcement was made upon his return.

Whilst in Africa, Mr Higgins addressed the Dakar 2 summit on food sovereignty and sustainability in Africa.

The President discussed with a variety of leaders the different ways to overcome daily challenges experienced in Uganda and beyond.

Now, the Wells of Life -a charity organisation whose mission is to provide rural Ugandans access to safe, clean water through the installation of sustainable wells- will build a well in his honour.

The President of Wells of Life, Pete Callahan, described Higgins as a "well-liked and well-respected public figure" who was much more than just a politician.

"Our Board designated the funds for a well dedicated to President Higgins in recognition of the generosity of the many people in Ireland," said Mr Callahan.

Callahan added that the charity hopes the new well will help give international recognition to their work in the developing world.

"In Uganda, where Wells of Life operates on the ground, one out of five children dies before their fifth birthday because of lack of access to clean, safe drinking water, and 80% of the hospital beds in rural Uganda are filled with patients suffering from water-borne diseases," Mr Callahan said.

The charity has previously dedicated wells to other well-known Irish figures, including boxer Katie Taylor, Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume, and activist Vicky Phelan.

Last year, the charity dedicated a well to the victims of the Creeslough service station tragedy in County Donegal.

Wells of Life was founded in 2008 by Nick Jordan, an Irish schoolteacher who started the organization by raising funds to build five schools in Uganda.

Jordan recognized that while education was fundamental in rural Uganda, clean water access was of critical importance, prompting the organization to begin to drill wells all over the country.

It has grown astronomically over the past 15 years and drilled its 1,000th well at the end of 2022, achieving the milestone of bringing clean water to one million people.

Callahan said the charity will likely expand beyond Uganda in the future but added that, for now, its work in the country is far from done.

"Rather than scatter wells at random, we concentrate on a particular district in Uganda, aiming to meet the needs to achieve game-changing impact, while we simultaneously start our work in another district,” he said.

Nearly 90% of Ugandans live in rural communities, and two-thirds of these communities lack safe access to clean water.

Water-borne diseases and infant mortality are realities for many Ugandans.

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