Following the tragic mass drowning incident in August 2018, Nile Swimmers team visited Al Manaseer area in September to carry out a community risk assessment using our DRAT toolkit. The aim of the assessment was to understand the risk factors related to drowning deaths within these communities and to assess the communities’ needs so that we could propose locally appropriate solutions to improve water safety at Kanbna and Kinaisa communities, where the drowning incident took place.
Al Manaseer area extends 170 km along the River Nile, with communities residing along the east and west sides of the river corridor. There are 14 islands within Al Manaseer; 12 of which are inhabited. The area is deprived of many basic infrastructural services including electrical supply, clean potable water, health centres and roads. The nearest towns to Al Manaseer are Kareema and Abu Hamad.
Residents rely on wooden boats for their transportation to everyday facilities and services; including health clinics, shops, markets, and other social trips. There are more than 700 boats in use within Al Manaseer area. They are often overcrowded, poorly maintained and lack safety equipment.
The DRAT exercise showed that the communities are in dire need for a pack of interventions which constitute the following:
- Awareness to school children on water risks and water safety measures.
- Safety awareness campaigns to community members.
- Workshops for boat operators to educate them on safe loading techniques.
- Training community members on CPR, and first aid procedures.
- Creation of a local committee to be responsible for the safety enforcement measures and monitoring of boat operators.
The interventions visit was carried out by Nile Swimmers team on 12th to 17 October 2018.
- Water safety awareness messages were delivered to Kabna primary schools’ children. A total of 217 boys and 225 girls received the water safety awareness, and posters illustrating the water messages were supplied to each school.
- Secondary schools children: a total of 422 boys (172 attending the daily school and 250 at the dormitory) and 150 girls received training on life saving techniques and CPR, in addition to water safety awareness.
- Boat operators (108) at the two targeted communities and at the largest local market have been educated on safe boating techniques, safe loading, essential safety regulations and basic rescue techniques. A maximum loading capacity for each boat (15 adults or 20 children) has been set at Kabna and Kinaisa villages.
- Community members have been made aware on how to be safe in and around water, safe behaviour on boats, risk reduction procedures, basic rescue techniques, drowning prevention measures, protecting children from drowning and other water health and safety aspects.
- Children at the two communities have been trained on the use of basic life saving techniques; such as ropes and plastic water containers, and were encouraged to go back into water to regain their confidence in interacting with water.
- A local committee, made up of a group of four local members, has been set up to be responsible for the safety enforcement measures and monitoring boat operators to ensure they abide with the safety practices.