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The Rise of Nuba Wrestling in Sudan
Khartoum
By Ashraf Idris
16 Feb 2015

February 6, 2015
Khartoum, Sudan

Nuba wrestling, a traditional sport practiced by tribes in the Nubian mountains, is gaining huge popularity throughout Sudan. The aim of the contest is to slam your opponent to the ground. Similar to sumo wrestling, there is no boxing system and any strikes are essentially part of the grappling.

Traditional wrestling is an integral part of life for tribal communities in Sudan. It is a chance to show your virility and strength. These forms of wrestling are known throughout the country and are now becoming increasingly popular in the capital Khartoum.

As Numeiry Koukou, a winning wrestler says, “There is no difference between the forms of wrestling practiced in Khartoum and those practiced in the mountains. The only difference is that [in the Nubian mountains] there are women who sing during the wrestling. You can find your siblings and uncles near you. Here, the audience replaces the singing women and your family. It supports you and makes you feel that you have to prove to them that you are a man.”

The Sudanese are hoping to export Nuba wrestling and claim to have participated in tournaments in Turkey, Japan, and Korea.

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Hamad Youssef, Wrestling Fan

“Sudanese wrestling is popular. It includes people from all races, like the national team. You will find people from all races – black, white, red, blue. Before, it was only practiced in the Nubian mountains, but it expanded to include the Hawazma and all the other tribes.”

“I used to wrestle when I was a young boy. Back then I used to herd cows at the edge of the mountains. But now I have grown older and one’s looks change at an old age. As the saying goes, “Only the palm trees in the valley die with their original color”. I have quit wrestling and become a wrestling fan. I am only a fan. I cannot take my clothes off to wrestle. When I take my clothes off it is only to take a bath.”

“Thanks be to God, I am a fan of wrestling. I hope that wrestling moves forward, develops, and become successful outside Sudan. Currently we have a national team at a training camp. You will watch it here in the next few days.”

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Numeiry Koukou, AKA Mudiriyyah (District), Winning Wrestler

“It is not necessary that a wrester always wins; sometimes he loses and sometimes he wins. You benefit from losing. You know your points of weakness. You cannot always be victorious. You would be happy if you won all the time, but if you lose you should not be upset, because you will benefit from losing and know your points of weakness. My nickname is Mudiriyyah (District), which belonged to my father before me. I was injured during an official game with the Lion Heart club and have recovered from injury. It was a tournament match.”

“Last week, my fitness was not very good. I thought about this and I insisted to come here and I said that I must win, in order to prove to my fans that I am here.”

“In the Nubian Mountains, we have forms of traditional wrestling that each tribe practices as a part of its own customs and religious rituals, such as the one practiced in the autumn. These forms of wrestling are talked about in all of Sudan. Even in peripheral areas and in Khartoum, they have all heard about this. There is no difference between the forms of wrestling practiced in Khartoum those practiced in the mountains. The only difference is that [in the Nubian mountains] there are women who sing during the wrestling. You can find your siblings and uncles near you. Here, the audience replaces the singing women and your family. It supports you and makes you feel that you have to prove to them that you are a man.”

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Adam Isshaq, Defeated Wrestler

“You cannot know who the winner is before the wrestling match is over. You cannot know whether you will beat this man or he will win over you. You can only know when the round is over. But you expect to win more than you expect to lose.”

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Hassan Abdel Majid, Head of the Nubian Wrestling Foundation

04:05

“This game, Sudanese wrestling, started in the south Kurdufan area, the area of the Nubian mountains and south Kurdufan. It was a local sport, which moved from the province of Kurdufan to the province of Khartoum. The government has paid special interest to this sport, which now has a local federation, the Khartoum Federation of Sudanese Wrestling. This game is an authentic Sudanese game, which symbolizes insight, strength and youth.”

“In the province of Khartoum, [wrestlers] from the south, north and west of Kurdufan represent this great legacy. You can see the interest that the government has paid to this sport in this stadium. This stadium is dedicated to Sudanese wrestling. The government also started a federation that sponsors this activity. The government has given attention to all sports, especially Sudanese wrestling, it is a pure Sudanese sport. We are exporting this sport to the entire world, God willing.”

“We participated in tournaments in Turkey, Japan and Korea. In a few days, a Sudanese wrestler will play against the champion of Japan, who has won four medals. This stadium will host a Sudanese-Japanese match. God willing, we will win this match.”

“People from different countries love this wrestling. Most ambassadors who work in Khartoum are interested in this sport. Many foreigners and Europeans come to this Sudanese forum.”

“It is a distinguished sport. It is a pure Sudanese game. It does not resemble American or Japanese wrestling. This is pure Sudanese wrestling. It is the same type of wrestling but in the Nubian mountains it is held in the outdoors. Here it is organized within a federation and according to laws and charts. In south Kurdufan, it is held in the valleys, plains and the wilderness. Here, there is a stadium that hosts this sport.”

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Fracking Up Fares
Fares, Aswan
By zeer news
01 May 2013

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

In 2009, the company DANA GAS (UAE) started shale gas explorations near Fares, a small agricultural village on the West Bank of the Nile, 75 km North of Aswan.
The company employed a controversial technique known as hydraulic fracturing or "fracking", which uses a mixture of pressurized water and chemicals to release natural gas trapped in the shale rock. 
The village was soon flooded with groundwater and in January 2013 orchards, crops and houses were destroyed. 
Residents do not have results from the water tests that the government was supposed to carry out.  In addition to ecological concerns, property owners whose land was affected have received very little compensation from the gas extraction company (Dana Gas) or from the Egyptian government. The clean up efforts promised by the government have come to a halt and it is not known if and when they will resume. 

The case of Fares, however, differs from other documented cases of damages caused by fracking. 

The flooding is believed to be the result of seismic testings, a straightforward operation conducted prior to the extraction to determine the size of the shale. 

Therefore, this case shows:

  • how monitoring of the fracking operations --known to be possibly harmful for water reserves -- was poor or non-existent in an area close to the Nile

  • media usually focuses on fracking's direct effects. In Fares, however, damage was caused by a subsidiary effect of fracking

  •  land grabbing - although not through acquisition, but through destruction - occurred without compensation for the villagers and the denial of any responsibility on part of the company

  • the Egyptian government - under Mubarak, the SCAF, and the Muslim Brotherhood - failed to stand up against the company and protect its citizens

  • environmental concerns not only for the village's proximity to the Nile, but also for the destruction of many mature and rare trees

SHOT DESCRIPTION

00:00 - 00:17
Images of Upper Egypt, Map of Fares

VO: "75 km north of Aswan lies Fares, a village of 30,000 inhabitants, on the west bank of the Nile. Renowned as one of the principle producers of mangoes and dates in Egypt, the majority of Fares' residents are employed in the agricultural sector, making fields and crops the crux of the village's economy."

00:18 - 00:35 Images of the flooded fields, Sheikh Ahmed Abdel Hamid

VO: "However, in January 2013, flooding of groundwater devastated fields and orchards, and destroyed houses and local buildings in the village. The flooding has been attributed to the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, operations by the company Dana Gas, whose extraction site, is only 10 km north of Fares.

00:36 - 00:47 Animated info-graphic on fracking

VO: "Fracking is a controversial technique used to extract natural gas from shale rock. This is done by creating fissures in the shale with a perforating gun, and then injecting a pressurized mixture of water and chemicals to release the trapped gas and bring it to the surface."

00:48 - 01:19 Interview with the Sheikh Ahmed Abdel Hamid (community leader), images of the fields

"It has started since 2009-- first they found that the soil became wet. Gradually, the water began to come on the surface, higher and higher, until it reached the level of one metre. This water has submerged about 2,000 feddans of land (840 hectares)."

01:20 - 01:26 Images of fields, uprooted palm tree

VO: Although the company is not fracking in Fares directly, the flooding is believed to be a result of Dana Gas's seismic testing using 'shot-holes'.

01:26 - 01:52 Animated info-graphic on seismic testing

VO: "Seismic testing uses 30 foot pipes that are inserted into the ground, and an explosion is detonated. The vibrations from the explosion bounce off the subsurface rock and travel back to the surface, where a grid of geophone sensors pick up the wavelengths, thus determining the expanse of the shale below. Ordinarily in the industry, the pipes are plugged in order to prevent flooding. But, these pipes were left open in the fields-- creating a pathway for flowing groundwater to stream upwards."

01:53 - 02:09 Images of fields, springs

VO: "The flooding reached a climax in January, but damage to the fields remains. Stagnant puddles of water exceeding 3 inches, cover entire fields. Groundwater continues to spring spontaneously, creating essentially a swamp out of homes and a formerly prosperous crop."

02:10 - 02:24 Interview with Mohamed Abdouh (farmer and teacher)

"Approximately about 150 families have to move, because of this problem. A lot of these families can't afford to build new houses."

02:25 - 02:36 Interview with Mohamed Abdouh, images of the local graveyard
"The most bitter thing for the villagers is that the graveyard of the village has completely submerged. "

02:37 - 03:06 Interview with Sheikh Ahmed Abdel Hamid in front of a house destroyed

"Approximately 2,000 feddans were flooded by the groundwater. it is more than 2,000 feddans. In these areas there were trees: palms, lemon, mango, berries and that now there is water (that are now flooded). It has more than a hundreds of thousands of doom, palms, mangoes, lemons, and all citrus and this is all the income for the village. These fields are the only income for the village "

03:07 - 03:20 Images of residents

VO: Residents state that there was virtually no consultation with the village prior to shale extraction. In 2009, they were told there may be gas reserves in their village, but the seismic testing carried out directly on their land, was not explained to them.

03:21 - 03:44

"They just came and drilled. When the farmers asked them they told (them) they were looking for oil. So the farmers were happy. If they found gas or oil on your land, you will have a good compensation. Good money as a compensation."

03:45 - 03:52 Images of a street seller, men sitting on the ground, kid riding a donkey

VO: "The governor of Aswan stated that the company would create 450 jobs for local residents, yet no one has been employed to date."

03:53 - 04:06 Images of children, the local school, man picking up bricks

VO: "Moreover, compensation remains a large concern for the residents' livelihood. Beyond the municipal government offering to help rebuild the hospital and school, very little money has actually met the hands of the land and home owners whose properties were damaged."

04:07 - 04:34 Interview with Mohamed Abdouh

"When the villagers went to make a sit-in in the company-- in the site there- -the responsibles came and told us they have given the clerks in the municipal council a big number-- a lot of money. When we returned to the municipal council, they denied that. So we are... we don't know how. We are now bewildered between them…"

04:35 - 04:49 Images of the cleanup operation site.

VO: "The government began cleanup efforts six months ago by draining the fields with pipes that would empty to a drainage canal and then run back into the Nile. The pipes though, were too small, and so the clean up project had come to a halt. When they will resume is unknown."

04:50 - 04:59 Images of Sheikh Ahmed Abdel Hamid, puddle of stagnant water, the Nile river from Fares' shore.

VO: "Residents still have not heard back from the municipal council abt the water test results, but maintain that the water is harmful, which is also a cause for concern due to its proximity to the Nile."

05:00 - 05:16 Images of Sheikh Ahmed Abdel Hamid, images of resident walking next to trees, man on the train.

VO:
In addition to the ecological concerns, it's significant that Fares' principal fields and orchards were destroyed, including many mature trees that had reached peak production. Thus not only costing the agricultural-centered village lost profits this year, but also for the years to come.

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Fishermen in the Nile Delta
Cairo, Egypt
By Editor's Picks
29 Jun 2012

The delta in Egypt used to be a perfect location for fishing before it became the main destination for the country's sewage. The polluted waters threaten both the fisherman's wallet and his health.

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Pollution in Nile delta threatens fis...
Rashid, Egypt
By Transterra Egypt
29 Jun 2012

The delta in Egypt used to be a perfect location for fishing before it became the main destination for the country's sewage. The polluted waters threaten both the fisherman's wallet and his health.

0:00-01:10
Sheikh Sayadeen(head of fishermen), may his sould rest in peace, has previously gone to the parliament & they gave him false promises. The water was filled with a lot of fish and in only twenty four hours, it goes extinct. We can buy food. It's been five months that fishermen don't earn any money but what can they do; he's sad and his wife is crushed, he can do nothing. We had to send our children away to work either in farms or as doormen. In Tanta, there is plenty of fish but here in Monofeya we don't have any fish farms. We were the 'kings' of fish. In out water there was fish, snakes and different kinds of sea creatures but now everything is extinct.
01:11-02:40
Now you will see how we work in reality so you can see everything for yourself. Believe it or not, when someone used to come to buy fish from me, I used to get a box full of fish in only ten minutes. Look at the condition of our water now that used to be worshiped by our ancient father, the Pharaohs. When we were young, people used to swear saying "I swear on the pure king's soul" referring to the Nile. Now they can't say that anymore because it's no longer pure. Why would they even call it 'king'?
When an employer gets a deduction of one day from his salary as a punishment, they complain; while fishermen have been suffering for eleven years. The officials remove the Hyacinth and other Nile planets which costs 30 million pounds every year. Well, instead of spending money on that, why don't they clean the sewerage water? We don't care about being fishermen anymore; we just need a job to earn our living.
02:41-04:26
Now I'll show you exactly how we do our job. I'm a fisherman from Rosetta branch(of the Nile), from the village of 'Jezaii', Rashid governate. My name is Souba Abdel Nabi El Shimy.
Our problem started when the 'Sewerage project' or what is referred to 'The Death Project' started. It started on 1984 and at first it didn't have such a bad effect on us because the water used to have more shifts than now so it wasn't as fatal as it's been since 1986 till now. This project is mainly about the sewerage of Greater Cairo passing through Rahawi project to the Nile directly without any Sewage treatment which led to the discontinuity of the fishery. The only people who are benefiting from this are the people who own fish farms so their business would flourish and keep us working for them. We are not less human than they are, we should be equal.

04:27-04:59
Many fishermen are quitting on this job and trying to find something else like being doormen or else. Fishermen's children don't go to school. Fishermen are making their children find a job either in some fish farm or else; some of them even begs for money.
They never wonder why a new born is infected with the 'C' virus and Hepatic failure. They provide plasma treatment which costs millions and they are leaving this contaminated water like this. We don't want the medical treatment; we just want them to cleanse the water so we don't get diseases in the first place.
05:00-06:25
Check it yourself, there's no fish at all. We don't want a charity from no body, we just want the 'Sewerage project' to end; we're not asking for the impossible. A man is responsible for his wife and three children and is supposed to feed them. I only got two tiny fish today. Even if they were in gold & silver, it wouldn't be enough to feed us. We can do nothing but pray otherwise we would better not live on this earth. How can we afford this? Ought we fix the boat or buy food? This is job is no longer sufficient. If you ask other fishermen, they would tell worse than this; they just chose us to speak because we wouldn't offend anyone.
06:27-07:24
Here is one of the fishermen. He works as a day laborer for people so I he can feed my children. He doesn't even have an undershirt to wear as you can see. This network is the cleanest it could be like this; usually it is filled with worms.
07:25-08:50
My three children suffer from bilharzias because of this infected water. Most children here are infected with this disease. My two nephews have it. They also have 'C' virus. A month ago, you couldn't support standing anywhere near the water because of intensity of the sewerage; it was also filled with worms. Now it's much cleaner, there are no worms like before. We even can't invite you to eat because we don't have bread. Thank God for everything though.
08:50-
As you can see, all boats are empty.
My name is Hussein Eissa El Shakhs, a fisherman from Rosetta branch and Sheikh Sayadeen (the head of fishermen). We've had this problem for 40 years. In 70's & 80's, though, it was not as bad as it has been starting the 90's. It reached its peak since 1990. It's been 22 years that we've been living like 'homeless', literally. The Nile extends 120 km in Monofeya governate including more than 150,000 fishermen. This job is inherited through families.

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Pollution in Nile delta threatens fis...
Monofiya , Egypt
By Transterra Egypt
21 Jun 2012

The delta in Egypt used to be a perfect location for fishing before it became the main destination for the country's sewage. The polluted waters threaten both the fisherman's wallet and his health.

00:00-00:53
Take a look at the fish they have deprived us from. Our pleasure was fishing. People have different kinds of pleasure and ours was fishing. They have taken that only pleasure from us. You saw me pulling it out so you can know that we didn't fabricate anything. I don't want to spread the net so that the dirt wouldn't ruin your clothes because it is, as usual, filled with dirt and worms.

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video shoot by fishermen : Pollution ...
Monofiya , Egypt
By Transterra Egypt
21 Jun 2012

The delta in Egypt used to be a perfect location for fishing before it became the main destination for the country's sewage. The polluted waters threaten both the fisherman's wallet and his health.
00:00-02:15
I want to speak to some official about what's happening and know why the fish is dying. Children are getting sick from the sewage and bilharzias.
02:16-04:05
We are all sick with bilharzias. We can even see the bilharzias worms in the water while washing the dishes. We can't find any fish to catch. Have sympathy with us. We are all infected with bilharzias and many other diseases as well as our children. Please listen to our cause. We have filed many complains to officials and we didn't get any answer. The sewage of Giza governate is filling the Nile waters and it has killed all the fisheries in the Rosetta branch.
04:06-06:08
My children and I have become homeless. I can't afford buying them food since the fisheries has been destroyed by the sewage passing through our waters. It has ruined our lives. We need some official to look into it and come see the ruins for himself. All the fish in the water has died and now we can't do anything. We should try to earn a living somewhere else. Take a look at all the dead fish; they're all dying like this. This water is not only harming the fish but humans as well; even the cows do not want to drink from it. Here, as you can see, there's a bilharzias on my hand and all over our bodies. We want some official to investigate this. It harming us humans and that’s all because of the sewage in our waters.
06:09-09:24
I'm 73 years old. I'm very upset about this situation because most of the fish is dead or dying and people don't want to buy it and it's all because of the sewage in the waters. I have sent my son to Cairo so he can work to take care of his elderly mother. I'm 73 years old and I've never seen something like that. All the boats are abandoned; no one is fishing anymore because if they catch any fish it's either dead or smells very bad and the people don't buy it. People don't want to eat any fish from Rosetta branch because it's not clean anymore; even if you catch that fish far from Rosetta branch. The sewage has destroyed our lives; we can't earn our livings and there's no other job that we can do. We've always been fishermen, and now we can't buy food or even wash our clothes because there is no access to clean water. The clay in the ground is now more clean that the Nile water. We can't do any other job. Sons of fishermen now find themselves owning boats that they can't use.
09:25-13:05
There is no fish at all; they are all dead. An engineer has filed a case against me and my brother accusing us of pollution the water and I have a fine of 1500 pounds to pay. We are all hungry and our children as well. You can see what we're dressed like. We just need some official to stop the sewage spreading our water. What can people do? Beg? Here are our nets that have been lying there for two days and still no fish at all. Fisherman can't work as farmers. What can they do? Some people have 11 children. How can they feed them? And still they file case against us accusing 'us' of polluting the water. I'm 51 years old and I didn't get married yet. I can't afford and I'm helping my brother who has 11 children and most of them are girls. We just want the officials to stop sewage spreading otherwise they can get us some other job to earn our livings from and we will be giving up our licenses as fishermen. Moreover, cultivation is also affected since farmers use Nile water and it's killing their plants.
13:06- 16:45
Sewage is also affecting the boats. Erosion is affecting the boats and steel so it definitely would affect us, human beings. The water if filled with dead fish floating and worms. We can't buy medicines to cure ourselves from the different diseases attacking our bodies. We ask for the sympathy of officials. Sewage has killed the fisheries. My job is to be in the water to catch fish and all I find is worms; my body is suffering from the worms and the fish is dead. I can't even cure my eyes; they're red and I go to doctors seeking for help. Houses are filled with families of 20-30 members and none of them can eat because of the existence of sewage in our water. Women are washing the dishes in the polluted water so it's reaching every house.
16:46-20:40
We're about to start begging. 20 families can't afford their living now. 3-4 million fishermen in Rosetta branch are affected.
20:40-22:55
We want officials to look into this matter and have sympathy with us. Look at the dead fish that suffocated from the sewage; the sewage that is coming from Giza so as not to pass through Cairo. The fisheries are dead and 3-4 million people depend mainly on the fish as a trade to earn their living and they don't own any properties or lands to earn a living. We're getting old and we have families to support and we are sick of borrowing money and we don't own any properties to buy for the sake of money. We all know that the government is responsible for this, yet they file cases against us accusing us of polluting the Nile and they charge us fines of the value of 1000 & 1500 pounds. The poor are the ones who pay the price; on one hand, they can't support their families and on the other hand, they are charged with these accusations and pay the fines. We're living in the era of Mubarak in which the poor gets equal rights like the rich. We're sending our girls to work while they should be staying at home.
22:56-32:25
My name is Abdel Nabi Shiha and I'm the head of fishermen of Rosetta branch. Fishermen have sick bodies because of the pollution and the fisheries are destroyed. We don't send our children to school anymore because we cannot afford it. We're living a miserable life. I ask the officials to pay attention to the situation of fishermen. Everyone is enjoying their freedom and is happy except for fishermen. Our children cry when they see the children of rich people living like that and enjoy their meals and they ask us why we can't eat. Everyone is enjoying their lives but fishermen. We're human too. Our waters are only filled with worms because of the sewage and factory waste. We ask the members of parliament whom we elected to do their jobs and help us. More than 10-15 thousand fishermen are living in misery. We call for help from all officials especially Health & environmental organizations. Should we steal to support our families? We have nothing to do.
32:26-35:30
In Rosetta branch, it's been 10-12 years that sewage has destroyed our lives and killed the fisheries. People are sending their children to work. Bilharzias have affected everybody. People go to the doctor and he tells them that they need to remove some organ of their body and we can't afford medical treatment. Help us. Families of fishermen consist of 10-12 persons. We just want to know who to complain to, which minister is responsible for this chaos. I've has this amount of fish for two days and we're suffering from bilharzias. My brothers and I will work as laborers to pay for the license. Can this amount of fish feed a whole family? Officials should see our houses not just the water, we can't live in them. The river Nile should be something sacred; it's a gift from God, now it's just filled with sewage and worms.
35:31-37:35
My two sons are fishermen and they can't afford their living. The sewage water spreading in the Nile is unacceptable. People do not like to be near me after I've been in the water because I smell like sewage and we can't eat any of the fish from that water. I get 80 pounds from the government and if

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video shoot by fishermen : Pollution ...
monofiya, Egypt
By Transterra Egypt
21 Jun 2012

The delta in Egypt used to be a perfect location for fishing before it became the main destination for the country's sewage. The polluted waters threaten both the fisherman's wallet and his health.

00:00-00:48
Have mercy on the children and their fathers who are trying to support them. Sewage has ruined our lives. We are getting old and we cannot afford the costs of living. Our children have become homeless and are living on the banks of the river. We ask officials to look into the misery we're living in.
00:48-01:55
Who is responsible for this situation? Which ministry could cut off the flood of sewage into our waters? The sewage is continuously flooding to our water but it only has an effect when the water level is low and then it kills all grass and the fish. Officials talk all the time on the television and give false promises but they never act upon it but they don't talk about Rosetta branch or the fishermen, they only talk about other issues like divorce, etc.
01:56-04:02
They were talking on television about the problem of air pollution in Cairo; however, they didn't mention anything about the sewage water, water pollution, the dead fish or us being hungry. Isn't that all more important than air pollution? Some air pollution that was in Cairo had all the media attention and that's because there are rich people there; while we live surrounded by polluted water, air pollution, sewage and we can't eat. It's ironic how Egyptians feel proud to have such a blessing like the Nile; however, Rosetta branch is full of worms and the fish is dying because of factory waste and sewage. They keep talking about bilharzias and its effect and how to avoid infections while we're all day working in the Nile which is filled with these worms. I address officials to help us. The water is not clean at all.

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Africa’s Water Ministers Meet in Cair...
Cairo, Egypt
By Video Cairo Sat
15 May 2012

Cairo, Egypt | May 14, 2012

Twenty-four African water ministers, in addition to various ambassadors and representatives of African states, met in Cairo on Monday, May 14, for the four-day "Water for Growth in Africa" conference held under the auspices of Egypt's Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri.

In his opening statement, Al-Ganzouri warned that rich western countries have looted Africa's resources in the past, and they were attempting to the same by sowing strife between African states by creating economic and political issues like Nile water shares, dam constructions, etc.

SOUNDBITE 1 (English) – Egyptian Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri:
"Rich countries used us, used our human resources, natural resources, and forgot about African countries for almost two or three decades; the 70s, 80s and 90s. And they tried to come back to use us again, our resources, by different ways, to try to find a conflict between different countries within Africa."

Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia recently formed a 10-member committee that includes four international experts to study Ethiopia's current building of the controversial Grand Renaissance Dam project. The dam is expected to affect the water shares of Egypt and Sudan.

The commission will hold its first meeting on Tuesday, May 15, to discuss the consequences of dam construction, and its effects on other Nile Basin states, particularly Egypt and Sudan.

SOUNDBITE 2 (Arabic) – Egyptian Water Minister Hesham Kandil:
"Our brothers in the Nile Basin countries reaffirm time and again that they do not want to harm Egypt, and do not want to reduce Egypt's water share by a single water drop. However, there is a disagreement in the way of cooperation. Tomorrow, our experts in the sector of Nile water will meet their counterparts in Ethiopia and Sudan to discuss the issue of the Renaissance Dam in the attendance of four international experts."

SOUNDBITE 3 (Arabic) – Sudanese Water Minister Saif-Eddin Hamad Abdulla:
"We formed a commission of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia; the 10-member commission consists of two members from each country besides four international experts specializing in dam safety, in the economic, social and environmental aspects of dam construction and in hydraulics. In the middle of this month (May), they will hold the first meeting gathering all the commission members in Addis Ababa."

For his part, Ethiopia's Ambassador to Egypt reaffirmed his country's eagerness not to harm Egypt's share of Nile water and that the bilateral relations between the two countries are improving after the ousting of the prior Egyptian regime.

SOUNDBITE 4 (Arabic) – Ethiopian Ambassador to Egypt Mahmoud Dirir:
"There are no problems between Egypt and Ethiopia. We witness cooperation among Nile Basin countries in general and between Ethiopia and Egypt in particular in this stage, the stage following January 25 Revolution."

Egypt’s claim to Nile water is based on agreements made during the first half of the 20th century. The 1929 agreement between Egypt and Great Britain on behalf of Britain's colonies gave Egypt the right to most of the 84 billion cubic meters of water that reaches the downstream countries annually.

As part of the conference activities, which marks the 10th anniversary of the formation of the African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW), a group of children performed a short show on stage emphasizing the significance of each Nile water drop.