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UAE students win inaugural ‘RE-NEW Our World’ challenge to tackle global water scarcity

  • UAE students win inaugural ‘RE-NEW Our World’ challenge to tackle global water scarcity

About the entity

Water Alliance Association
The Water Alliance (previously Surge) was started in 2014 in Dubai. It was born from the vision that no one should be without safe drinking water and that those more privileged can be more responsible for their water use.

Water Alliance, the only non-profit organization registered in Dubai focused towards educating individuals on the value of water, recently announced the winners of its first ever water innovation challenge for students in the UAE, called RE-NEW.

Alongside its partners, Water Alliance launched the initiative to inspire young students from the ages of 8 to 18 to design a product, service or solution that has the ability to help tackle the global water crisis and contribute to better water conservation habits in their communities in the UAE. Over the course of three months, over 130 students from across 18 schools in the UAE participated in exploring innovative solutions to improve the way we access, treat, or distribute water.

The initiative’s themed approach saw participating students submit their entries by the 22nd of March 2021, marking World Water Day. Following the first round of entries, finalists were coached by volunteers from leading global water technology company, Xylem and other Water Alliance partners to reach their final submissions.

A panel of industry executives from DroopleEasa Saleh Al Gurg GroupElectroluxFarnek ServicesMAS Paints, and Xylem were tasked with selecting the top two winners from the three age categories (8 to 10 years, 11 to 13 years, and 14 to 18 years).

The winners were announced during Earth Day celebrations on 24th April 2021, where the winners were awarded a 3,000 AED cash prize to be invested in a water efficiency project at their school.

As Edurne Gil, Program Director, Water Alliance, explains, “We believe that young inquisitive minds can unlock innovative ideas to address today’s water challenges and contribute to achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Safeguarding water is one of the key building blocks for a sustainable future, and young people have a key role to play when it comes to defining solutions that will help mitigate water challenges. Our aim for this initiative was to help cultivate a generation of young innovators who care about the world’s natural resources and are dedicated to protecting them. We have been overwhelmed by the participation and enthusiasm displayed by all applicants, and we thank our range of partners for their support in making this initiative such a success.”  

Hala Mesmar, Sales Engineer, Xylem, added: “It has been a pleasure to see young minds coming together to solve the challenging issue of water scarcity, and the many complex issues that dove-tail from it. The unique solutions designed by each student have been a refreshing reminder that such an abundance of knowledge lies within our youth, and we are excited to see these ideas developed to their full potential.”

The Winners

  • Category: 8 – 10 years old

Taking first place among the students aged 8 – 10 years old is Isha R Nair from Kings’ School Nad Al Sheba with her nature-inspired project about domestic wastewater recycling. Her school was so impressed with her creative thinking that she and second place winner Zain Awad, mentored by a Xylem engineer, have been co-opted to help plan a natural ecosystem park on the school campus.

Isha’s RE-NEW prize money will be dedicated to this STEM project emphasizing the value of water.

  • Category: 11 – 13 years old

The winning submission in the 11 – 13 years old category went to Sashini Manikandan from Delhi Private School Sharjah for an entry tackling the root cause of plastic pollution - with the QR Code enabled Water Kiosk solution.

  • Category: 14 – 18 years old

The 14–18-year-old category was won by Aliyah Fazal from American Community School of Abu Dhabi who designed the water saving, universal fit Eco Tap that also repurposes plastic waste as her winning submission.

To learn more about the RE-NEW Challenge, visit the website.

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