Launch of the Megafloat 2
2009 will see the launch of the Megafloat 2. In early 2008, Irish industrial designer, Sam Russell joined National Lake Rescue Institute (NLRI) as part of a partnership formed between NLRI, Norwegian NGO Norsk Form and the International Maritime Rescue Federation. Sam¡¯s role was to assess the existing Megafloat, investigate ways in which it might be improved and then implement those changes.
After nearly a year of hard work the project came to an end. The result was the development of a new and greatly improved Megafloat (2) that can still be produced within communities across Uganda or, indeed, the entire developing world. The new model offers more comfort than its predecessor, a greatly improved production process and reduced production costs ¨C meaning that NLRI are able to produce more life jackets and more of the educational programmes necessary to introduce them into the communities that need them the most. Production of the Megafloat 2 will start in Feb 2009 and the price will remain at UGX20,000 (approx. $10). Buyers will be entitled to all the same benefits.
Opening of Wanseko station
2009 has also seen National Lake Rescue Institute open a new station. The new rescue station in Wanseko, at the northern end of Lake Albert, is NLRIs third in Uganda and second on Lake Albert. Much like the original station in Kaiso, the Wanseko station was possible thanks to a successful partnership between NLRI and Tullow Oil Uganda.
The latter part of 2008 was spent carrying out an extensive recruitment and training process for the new seven employees that would form the Wanseko team. The majority of the training was led by Scottish volunteer SAR trainer Chris Anstock who, following a spell with NLRI at the end of 2007 returned to spend three months training new staff, carrying out top up instruction for existing staff and advising on all things related to boats!
Once the recruitment process had been completed, the construction process began. This was carried out be Construction & maintenance supervisor Richard Ojok, a couple of other HQ team members and the newly recruited Wanseko staff. Working in difficult conditions (particularly the heat!!!) the construction of the new site took a little over a month but thanks to everybody¡¯s hard work was finished on time.
The beginning of the New Year meant the beginning of NLRI operations in Wanseko. Initial work has been to collect baseline data on issues such as Life jacket use, local accident rates and local attitudes towards water safety. As part of a comprehensive M&E plan, this data will help NLRI assess the success of its work within this area in months and years to come. Once data has been collected within local landing sites the team will begin the job of introducing the MFC, WAZ and WEG programmes.
We would like to wish the Wanseko team the best of luck with this important work and promise to keep you updated in the months to come.