Ground breaking ceremony for the Kafue River and Rowing Centre | WWF
Ground breaking ceremony for the Kafue River and Rowing Centre

Posted on 18 December 2020

Construction can now begin on river research and rowing center in Zambia
The first hole has been dug on the spot on the banks of Zambia’s Kafue river that will eventually become the state-of-the-art Kafue River and Rowing Centre (KRRC), a flagship project under WWF and World Rowing's global Clean Water partnership.

The groundbreaking ceremony brought the Minister of Sport and other senior government officials as well as the leadership of WWF-Zambia to the site, where the long-awaited centre will be constructed.

"This initiative is a product on a ongoing pioneering partnership between WWF with World Rowing,” said Nachilala Nkombo, Country Director WWF Zambia during the ceremony.

“This is the official start of construction of a world-class ‘water leadership centre’ on the banks of the Kafue river, where communities, scientists, conservationists and decision-makers from Zambia and around the world will come together to better understand, manage, sustainably use and enjoy the freshwater resources they depend on,” added Nkombo.

The Kafue river mirrors the challenges facing many rivers around the world and WWF and World Rowing will use their global reach to share the output and benefits of the project far beyond Zambia and inspire others to create change in their own communities.

The goal of the Kafue River and Rowing Centre will be to connect freshwater experts and researchers from across Africa and the world, who will use the Centre to study freshwater challenges and find solutions.

"Unfortunately, many people today don’t have access to fresh water even though it’s a basic human need. Therefore, it’s crucial that we tackle the problem as early as possible because, if not, in the future people will suffer even more,” said Kafue River & Rowing Centre Ambassador Roman Roeoesli of Switzerland.

The KRRC centre will be a regional hub to boost research, funding and freshwater conservation expertise and contribute to sustainable water management in the Zambezi River Basin. It will Contribute to educating Zambia and southern Africa’s next generation of water experts and serve as a hub for water stakeholders to advance good water management.

The Centre will also support improved decision-making for local communities and water users – from utility companies and heavy industry to farmers, fishers and recreational users – through its programme of training, awareness-raising and problem resolution.

“This centre will advance excellence in the field of water resources research, which will support more effective response to water-related climate impacts on the economy and biodiversity,” said Nkomobo.

The centre will create a permanent base for the development of the sport of rowing in Zambia with outreach to southern African countries. Local schools and universities will use the Centre for an innovative curriculum of environmental education and water-based sport, building lasting connections with the river they rely on.
Design of Kafue river and rowing centre - a project under the global WWF & World Rowing partnership
© WWF / World Rowing
Zambia Minister of Sport speaking at groundbreaking ceremony for Kafue river and rowing centre
Kafue Flats wetland in Zambia
© Sarah Black / WWF
Kim Brennan, former World Champion from Australia and supporter of the Kafue River and Rowing Centre
© FISA / Igor Meijer