By Our Reporter
Prior to 2010, it was survival for the fittest to access water from a borehole in Kiryandongo district where over 2000 people relied on only 2 functional boreholes.
Kiryandongo district which houses survivors of the Bududa landslides in Mbale is also the host community for refugees in the refugee resettlement camp.
As Julius Weleka, the chairman LC 1, Panyadoli A village as well as chairman of the Bududa community narrates, the water situation was so bad that it led to fights between themselves and refugees.
“The relationship between us and the refugees was very bad because people were fighting for water. Sanitation was also very bad because people did not have water. The number of people getting sick was also high,” he recounts.
There was a sudden twist of events when MTN set up 10 boreholes in the area which has since let out a sigh of relief having attained significant accessibility to water.
The boreholes which were an initiative of the MTN Kampala marathon stemming from the proceeds in 2010 have led to increased hygiene in the region especially amongst the children and youth.
“When MTN came in and gave us those boreholes, life changed. Up to today, we don’t have a big problem of water. The boreholes have come to the rescue of more than 4000 people including the refugees who are bordering the village. Now people can cook and bathe which has greatly improved our sanitation,” the 47-year old Weleka says.
Bududa is a disaster prone area with many people affected by the perpetual landslides.
Multiple efforts not only from government but also private sector have gone towards ensuring those affected in Bududa have a second take at a better life.
Wim Vanhelleputte, the MTN chief executive officer, recognizes that the role that the private sector must play in the country’s socio-economic development.
He says that MTN Uganda is greatly proud to have contributed to the restoration of livelihood in the community that was plagued by unprecedented natural disasters.
“The rationale behind directing the proceeds towards Bududa landslide survivors was to ensure that those that had survived enjoyed safe water services and are safeguarded from diseases,” he says.
One of the pillars of the marathon is to enable disadvantaged communities have access to and benefit from social services ensuring that no one is left behind.
In the spirit of togetherness and leaving no one behind, MTN has for the past 16 years undertaken initiatives with the aid of close to UGX4billion collected in proceeds.
MTN Kampala marathon proceeds include all
Born in 2004, MTN Kampala marathon has dedicated millions of shillings of the proceeds to providing mama kits to expectant mothers in internally displaced people’s camps.
MTN Uganda and partners have also used the proceeds to renovate and equip maternity wards at Health Centre IVs in various parts of the country.
Between 2015 and 2016, MTN installed state of the art toilets embedded with biogas digesters for clean energy in 10 public schools around Kampala city including Kitante primary school among others.
The marathon proceeds have also drawn water into various districts of northern Uganda including Amuria and Nakapiripirit to mention but a few through the setup of multiple boreholes.
“The boreholes enable us to get clean water and also the distance is not far. Prior to the setup of boreholes, we used to fetch water from water ponds, rivers and the bush which was very dangerous for us since sometimes it would be late in the evening,” a beneficiary from Kotido where one of the boreholes was set up says.
Cognizant of the importance of water in life, MTN prioritized provision of clean water services to disadvantaged communities to mitigate spread of disease and dehydration.
MTN Kampala marathon in which the telecom partners with Stanbic Bank Uganda, Huawei, Vision Group and Rwenzori Mineral Water is the epitome of a successful crowdfunding vehicle.
For the 16 years, the marathon has realized a collection of UGX4billion from runners around Kampala, all of whom indulge for various reasons.
The turnout has also registered tremendous increase as more than 20,000 people took part in the run in 2019.
What runners are saying
Over the years, Ugandans from different area codes have got together clad in shimmering yellow shirts, sharp and shooting for the number one position at the MTN Kampala Marathon.
The run has brought together vast numbers of people from different corners of the country, background, cultural, spiritual and religious affiliation for a just cause.
Wilfred Agaba from one of the media publications runs and visits the gym periodically prior to the run.
The lean gentleman along with his friends practice ahead of time in anticipation of a competitive run come November during the MTN Kampala marathon.
“In 2019, I ran and even received a medal for participation meaning I really came close to winning. I defeated all my friends this year. I feel good because I know I earned it,” he says.
He also admits that the element of charity empowers him to take part in the run.
“Not all of us are privileged to have what we need, so I pay to run because at the end of the day, I know that I am helping someone else,” Agaba explains.
Like Agaba, other participants view the marathon as an opportunity to get together for a similar cause, be it competing, exercise or charity.
Athletes on the other hand attribute part of their career success to the run saying it has been pivotal in their path towards attaining international recognition as Olympic winners.
“I am excited to return to the MTN marathon where I last ran in 2010. I would like to thank MTN for bringing up new comer runners and others can get sponsors from here,” Jacob Kiplimo, half marathon world champion says.
“MTN marathon built me to become an Olympic champion,” Stephen Kiprotich, Olympic gold medalist says.
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