Shocked, surprised and amazed.
“Bridging communities to prevent drowning.”
For a few days, I have been trying to express how I felt about what happened in the preceding days: shocked, surprised and amazed.
Shocked, by the number of people who die from drowning around the world, the number of mothers who lose their children, daily. I couldn’t imagine that in many poor countries there are more than 10 children who die every day due to drowning.
Surprised, with the number of people interested in water safety and rescue; more than 400 people of both genders attended the conference, you could clearly see their sorrow for the suffering that drowning causes.
Amazed by the number of topics and discussion sessions that were presented during the conference; more than 120 presentations on rescue, data, prevention, swimming & water safety, disaster, symposium and partnerships; more than 60 posters on drowning prevention, the experiences of countries that succeeded in reducing the rate of drowning, modern ideas for risk management and also plans to increase awareness on water safety. The hotel was like a beehive, the attendees moving among the conference halls, six sessions taking place simultaneously during the 90 minute sessions, each presentation ranging between ten to fifteen minutes and all of valuable content.
I must not forget the most important event in this conference: a two-day workshop that was organized and managed by the Royal Life Saving Society Commonwealth and was arranged in two sessions. The first, on the pre-conference day, to explain and discuss the functioning of the conference and how the participants benefit by achieving their goals from participating; on the final day after the conference was the second session about what were the outcomes and how were goals achieved. Finally, work-groups to plan projects to prevent drowning.
There is a Sudanese proverb that says “He who hears and sees other people’s calamities, belittles his own”.
Well, I say “He who hears and sees other people’s efforts, raises his aspirations”
The synopsis is that we (at Nile Swimmers) must prioritise the collection of data on the number of drownings, survivors, drowning deaths and the causes thereof which will improve the implementation of awareness campaigns and training programs that we are already running.
In the end I would like to express my thanks to God first, the WHO for the scholarship to attend the conference, to the Life Saving Society of Malaysia for their generous hosting, the International Lifesaving Federation for excellent organization, my friend Dan Graham, for his continuous efforts to make my stay more comfortable and more valuable and finally my colleagues at Nile Swimmers for their continued cooperation and support.
Watch out for more blogs from the Nile Swimmers team soon!