For Himid Omary (23) respecting the human rights to water and sanitation is not just fodder for a sloganeering activist, but a matter of life and death.
This graduate of the University of Dodoma in Dar es Salaam recognises the indispensable nature of water in advancing healthy ecosystems, communities, business, agriculture, and commerce.
Omary is studying for a Bachelor’s Degree in Petroleum Engineering. He has set his sights on mobilising support for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 – that by 2030 governments should have ensured the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
He is also involved in public awareness campaigns promoting hygiene through proper hand washing techniques. “Everyone needs access to safe water. This is not a matter for just one community, but the survival of humanity as we know it depends on this. We should do what we can, each in their corner of the world, to achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations,” Omary says.
Since 2008 he has been involved in volunteering work around the human right to water and sanitation. In 2011, his passion and leadership role at the secondary school in environmental and health issues saw him receiving an award. In high school he was also a member of a charity organisation raising funds for needy learners, people admitted to hospitals and orphans. He has also served as president of his university chapter of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and that of the College of Earth Sciences, respectively. His duties saw him reporting to the Society of Petroleum Engineers Africa on regional activities. His task was to strengthen the professional bond between member students and players in the oil and gas industry.
This entailed initiating and supporting technical and career advancement events that provided competitive knowledge and strengthened awareness of new innovations in the petroleum technology sector.
This saw Omary kickstart a project linking students with professionals, whilst raising funds for the installation of water tanks to overcome water scarcity issues at residences. “I am encouraged by the active participation of young people towards the realisation of SDG 6. We also engage government and the private sector to put in place concrete plans for water stewardship,” Omary says.
He adds, “Realising the need that water stewardship is a matter for us all, I started an initiative called wash255initaive.org, to engage in solving water, sanitation and hygiene crises in Tanzania through awareness creation and providing solutions.”
His advice to young people is, “Keep going on no matter what obstacles you face. The world needs innovators, change makers, and social entrepreneurs to shape it into a better place. It is us who must be in the frontline of change, so we shall never stop trying and never stop doing.”