March 22nd, World Water Day, is when several thousands of organizations and people around the world celebrate water. It’s an opportunity to learn more about water-related issues, to be inspired, and to inspire others to take action that makes a difference.
Here at Surge, we are especially excited about this year’s theme of water and jobs. The theme focuses on how enough quantity and quality of water can change workers’ lives and livelihoods — and even transform societies and economies.
Through our global work, we have met many wonderful local leaders and workers who dedicate so much of their time towards addressing this global water crisis. They are the true heroes in this fight toward water and sanitation for all. So today, we’d like you to join us on a journey around the world — to meet these amazing people — who we are honored to partner with!
Meet Florence Ringe; Kaberamaido, Uganda. Surge Partner Organization: Prince of Peace for Orphans and Widows (POPOW)
Q: When did you get started working with water and why?
A: In 2000, I took the lead for a consortium of organisations that were partnering together to support the local communities of Northern Uganda that were affected by the armed conflict caused by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Seeing so many children and women dying of preventable, waterborne diseases, poor hygiene, and sanitation in the internally displaced people camps made me realize that I could contribute towards ending morbidity and mortality associated with contaminated water.
Q: Why is water important to you?
A: Like the adage goes, “Water is life.” Just imagine if you didn’t have water for a month! Imagine what life in the world would be like during this month of total drought. The food we eat requires water; we derive energy from the water we drink; and we derive 10% of the oxygen needed in our body from water. Water accounts for about 60% of our body weight. Water plays an important role in nourishing our bodies’ cells, and water forms nearly 100% of the intracellular fluid in which our bodies’ cells bathe. This is why water is important to me.
Q: In your opinion, how does water transform a community?
A: Water is the best center of interest in the transformation of communities. A memorable level of transformation occurs in the lives of a family when they go from drinking water from a previously contaminated well to drinking water from a fully rehabilitated, protected, and safe water source. There is a reduction in the number of preventable diseases, and children are able to grow up healthy, regularly attend school, and support their families in domestic work, which increases the level of transformation.
Q: What is your favorite memory of working with Surge? Do you have any comments about Surge’s support of your work?
A: My favorite memory of partnering and working with Surge was when my board members and I, in partnership with the Kaberamaido district local government, hosted two teams from Surge (Surge USA in November 2015 and Surge Dubai in February 2016). The communities, and myself, recall the moments of happiness, tears, and passion that the teams had during their visits. The Surge teams helped construct and rehabilitate water sources as well as helped clean the streets of Kaberamaido, which left a very big examples to the the businesses of the community. To date, that street is the most clean and well-managed street! The Surge teams were so inspiring, encouraging, empathetic, and kind. I was equally touched by their feelings towards the poor communities and for loving POPOW! Thank you, Surge!
Q: Tell us more about yourself: What are your hobbies? Your interests?
A: I love to make a difference in the lives of the poor and vulnerable, especially women and children, and to create a conducive environment for them. I will always do the best I can to support them by lobbying and advocating for their support.
I also love exploring and discovering new things, as well as learning new things. I enjoy touring with friends, going on boat rides, reading newspapers, and praising and worshipping God. I am married and have four children — 1 handsome, kind, and humble boy and 3 beautiful, passionate, loving, and kind girls. I love to joke, laugh, play, and sit under the mango tree and converse with my parents, children, and friends.
Compiled and written by Executive Director Shilpa Alva and Ashley Quinlan, Field Program Development Intern at Surge for Water.