Africa Water Experts to Speak at Duke

Two experts who lead responses to water supply and sanitation problems in Africa will speak at Duke University on Thursday, Nov. 1.

Duke alumnus Bai-Mass Taal, the executive secretary of the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), and Spera Atuhairwe, head of program effectiveness at WaterAid, Uganda, will speak at 5:30 p.m. in room 05 of Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy.

The event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow.

Taal will discuss water security issues in Africa, focusing on the critical importance of water for growth and providing examples of a new framework for climate-resilient development created by AMCOW. Atuhairwe will discuss WaterAid’s approach to supporting water and sanitation initiatives in many parts of Uganda.

Taal earned his master of forestry degree at Duke in 1978 and is now a well-known advocate for Africa’s people and its ecosystems. In his role at AMCOW, he focuses on promoting cooperation, security, socio-economic development and poverty eradication through the management of water resources and provision of water supplies. Previously, he served as a cabinet minister in Gambia, first as secretary of state for Fisheries, Natural Resources and the Environment, and then as secretary of state for Fisheries and Water Resources.

At WaterAid, an international nonprofit organization operating in Africa, Asia and the Pacific region, Atuhairwe is responsible for enhancing the scale and quality of the organization’s work and ensuring quality documentation and communication. Prior to WaterAid, Atuhairwe spent eight years as a thematic programme officer with Concern Worldwide in Uganda, an international development and relief agency focused on health, education, livelihoods, HIV/AIDS and emergencies in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.

The event is co-sponsored by the Sanford School of Public Policy, the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the Duke Africa Initiative.