We are thrilled to share with you some highlights each month from our Water Ambassador’s Program revamped STUDENT MEMBERS PROGRAM since September 2021.
We love healthy ecosystems, healthy food, and a healthy planet with clean, safe water! Water Alliance student members took part in the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) international poster competition marking World Soil Day along with the Global Soil Partnership.
This year the focus was on soil salinization. When too much water is withdrawn from aquifers by human activities, and these natural underground water reservoirs are unable to replenish back to normal levels through the water cycle, salts accumulate in soils. Unfortunately, salty soils have a reduced capacity to grow food. Plants don’t strive is salty soils… Soil salinization is a big issue in arid regions like ours. It’s a challenge that we face at home, and that we should be aware of. Our student members helped raised awareness with their posters!
Taking part in the competition with amazing talent: Shyam Manikandan, Ananya Manikandan, Bhakti Venkatesh Hegde, Akshita Iyer, Saanvi Hemachandra Rao, Kanshika and Sashini Manikandan.
STUDENT MEMBERS WON THE INTERNATIONAL FAO POSTER CONTEST!
1st Place Winners Category 5-10 years old: Kanshika and Sashini Manikandan, Delhi Private School, Sharjah
1st Place Winner Category 11-14 years old: Bhakti Venkatesh Hegde, Delhi Private School, Sharjah
We celebrated together marking World Soil Day at a family event organized by the Emirates Soil Museum, hosted at the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture. We played Water Alliance’s games, eat tasty food prepared with halophytic plants, and learnt fantastic tips on how to do our own compost at home thanks to the Waste Lab.
Today many of the news headlines are about climate change, yet let’s not forget that the climate crisis makes the water crisis even worse! Unprivileged children are the ones suffering the most. Water Alliance’s student members raised their voice for them, marking World’s Children Day with a WATER RUN.
Have a look HERE to discover how student members and their schools got mobilized to run or walk 6km, the average distance that women and children with no access to water at home make to reach a water source. And they often make that trip more than once a day!
In support to the International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction, student members investigated the water footprint of food. The amount of water used and polluted to produce and process our food can be humongous! By wasting food, we are wasting water too.
Mishal and Mir Faraz led a session with fellow student members on the topic, and they all brainstormed ideas on how to educate people in their circle of influence (family, friends, classmates, at school) on tips to avoid the wastage of food.
Naisha Kalpavraksh run a survey in supermarkets to understand what happens with excess food stocks, or ugly pieces of fresh vegetables and fruits. She also created posters to educate supermarket customers on how to plan their food shopping to avoid food waste. Bravo!
- Check out Bhakti’s tips on how to save food scraps
2021 STUDENT MEMBERSHIP PROGRAM
If like Mishal, you are a student ready to take action to support the Sustainable Development Goals, would like to reinforce your leadership skills, and make new friends, then join us!
- receive a monthly activation pager with info, resources, and suggested actions to inspire change among their circles of influence;
- are invited to participate to a monthly ambassador online meeting. Attendance is not mandatory;
- are invited to field trips or expert talks to acquire a better understanding on the monthly topics. Attendance is not mandatory, yet these are great learning opportunities! Please note that participants to field trips organize their own transport.
Student members demonstrating regular commitment throughout the year to influence change within their communities are offered to join the Ambassador level. This title recognizes their efforts in creating impact.
June saw the launch of the United Nations decade for Eco Systems Restoration. Our students explored the concept of xeriscaping to understand the importance of making a wiser use of water in our gardens and on our balconies. They also had the opportunity to participate in a global story writing competition on sustainability and our Planet.
We are pleased to announce that three of our students won the competition. Congratulations to:
>Mir Faraz 1st place category 10-11 years old from The Winchester School, Jebel Ali
>Sashini Manikandan 1st place category 12-13 years old from Delhi Private School, Sharjah
>Mishal Faraz 2nd place category 14-15 years old Water Alliance Ambassador from The Winchester School, Jebel Ali
In May, our Youth Ambassadors dug deep into understanding the Water Footprint of things. Every thing we buy or make has required water for its prodution. A single sheet of paper has a footprint of 10 litres of water and that put’s a whole new perpective on always printing double-sided ! We also explored the impact on water of our clothing, from cotton to polyester, every fabric has potentially contributed to water being over-extracted from the ground or to polluting a ground water resource relied upon by people in far off countries we have never met. Here are some of our Ambassadors actions this month:
Manvith and Elisabeth interviewed Water Alliance’s Program Director to prepare a short video for their school Assembly to educate their peers on the water footprint of things. Here’s a short snippet of that interview:
Our youngest Water Ambassador produced a short educational video this month about the water footprint of things. Take just two minutes to get educated on the amount of water used or polluted to make all the things we treasure. As Hridhaan explains in his video, together, we need to secure our environment by putting a lock on our water footprint! Hridhaan shared his hidden water video with his classmates and held a short survey to see how well they saved water. Watch to the end of the video to see the interesting survey results. After seeing this video, you’ll look at water conservation differently for sure!
Our Ambassador Isha decided to react when she learned about the water footprint of paper. She’s an avid reader and book lover so she asked her friends to give their books another life. Why print more when others can read what you’ve already finished? She organized a collection drive and arranged to donate the books to a good cause in India so underpriviliged young children could benefit. A double whammy: Saving water and educating kids!
Our Ambassador Isha decided to react when she learned about the water footprint of paper. She’s an avid reader and book lover so she asked her friends to give their books another life.
Why print more when others can read what you’ve already finished?
She organized a collection drive at school and arranged to donate the books to a good cause in India so underpriviliged young children could benefit. A double whammy: Saving water and educating kids!
Earth Day put a spotlight on the need to Restore Our Planet but as individuals, we might feel lost and a little powerless to truly help. Actually, we know that every small ripple contributes to a wave of change and you can be part of bringing about a better tomorrow with your every day actions. We simply need to be a little more aware of our impact on Earth and her natural resources, like water. This month, our Ambassadors collaborated on a joint origami project to highlight how invisible water pollution from our inappropriate use of products like antibiotics or sunscreen affect our eco-systems. Here are some highlights of how our Ambassadors made a difference this month:
Shaivi, our Ambassador from GEMS Founders School, was invited to present Water Alliance and our Earth Day challenge to Grade 6 students at Amity School Dubai. This was a great example of cross-school collaboration and Shaivi did a great job telling her peers about her experience giving water a voice with Water Alliance. The Amity students then took up the idea to create a sea of origami animals at the school to showcase our individual impact on Earth’s ecosystems and water resources.
The classes at Amity school participating in the Water Alliance origami challenge
Our youngest Ambassador, Hridhaan, carried out many activities this month, including a school radio broadcast about Earth Day and an origami making session creating different endangered animals with grades 1 & 2 at GIIS where the kids discussed the water pollution threats facing these animals. He also a started a Facebook campaign to ask his family and friends to share the one thing that they would change in their household to stop invisible pollution! Here are just a few of the comments he got on the first day. That’s the way to inspire others!
Our Ambassaor, Adeena, was invited to participate in an Instagram Live session with the Thirst Foundation on the topic of Earth Day. Manvith and Elizabeth participated in their school assembly at GEMS New Millennium School to mark Earth Day, share their experience with Water Alliance and discuss how to take community engagement to the next level. “Everyone can contribute to stop water pollution,” explained Elizabeth. Manvith noted how the student Ambassadors try to bring about change, and he recommended to his classmates that they all participate in the origami animal making project and he implored them to “research how badly pollutants like plastics, cleaning products and pesticides affect our diverse eco-systems.” Our super star Ambassador Saanvi was away on holiday but that did not stop her from pursuing the April activity on hidden water pollution with zeal! She rallied her classmates on a Zoom call to learn about the effects of discarded medicine on our water supply, to participate in a collection drive for proper disposal and join her in the origami challenge to raise awarness of the harm we cause to biodiversity from invisible sources of water pollution. Here she is with her class:
Medicines collected by Saanvi’s family for proper disposal Saanvi’s poster for the hidden pollution campaign
Many of our Youth Ambassadors participated in the inaugural RE-NEW Our World Challenge and several qualified as finalists including Isha, Ishika, Naisha, Saanvi, Madhav Manoj and Mishal. Congratulations to all the finalists for their innovative solutions to global water challenges. The winners were celebrated at an Award Ceremony marking Earth Day. Click here to read more about the winners and watch their final video pitches that earned them the trophy.
March ushers in World Water Day and this year’s theme was ‘Valuing Water’. Our Ambassadors were treated to a private group visit thanks to Meet The Locals UAE. They got to explore the early days of the country and revisit the values of its Founding Fathers. As the UAE celebrates 50 years this year, the tour was a wonderful opportunity to come together and be reminded of how previous generations lived in the UAE in harmony with nature.
As we explored the importance of valuing water and our environment, we were reminded of this quote by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (PBUH): “On land and in the sea, our forefathers lived and survived in this environment. They were able to do so because they recognized the need to conserve it, to take from it only what they needed to live, and to preserve it for succeeding generations.”
My March Water Mission: ‘Every Drop Counts’ Campaign, by Bhakti Hegde Venkatesh
I am an active Youth Ambassador with Water Alliance Association since 2020. We are encouraged and supported to develop our own campaigns to raise awareness on the importance of water. After our March Ambassador team meeting, I was inspired to go out into the community and remind others of the value of water. In keeping with this year’s World Water Day theme, ‘Valuing Water’, and in order to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6, Water and Sanitation for All, I took the initiative to design a poster and visit nearby restaurants, cafeterias and offices in Sharjah to explain the importance of turning off the tap when applying soap during hand washing. I had the idea of connecting hand washing with saving water since I am also a Gold Star Hand Washing Hero with Water Alliance. To earn that distinction, I already trained more than 100 people by video conference during the pandemic. Now that it was possible to go out, I decided to focus mainly on restaurants and cafeteria as these places are visited by many people and the employees consume a lot of water daily just by doing their job.
I started by thinking about the message I wanted to share and designing lots of posters. Then I hit the streets and by World Water Day, I had visited 25 locations already! Everywhere I went, the people were very welcoming. The managers always allowed me to place my home-made poster next to the hand washing station. Good thing I thought about laminating my posters. I spoke with the employees and explained that we must close the tap while applying soap to save water since we are using desalinated water in UAE. This is a very expensive process and therefore, truly, every drop counts! The places I visited can save water, and money at the same time. Some of the people I encountered told me that they will make an extra effort now to turn off the tap. In one of the restaurants, the Manager was quite impressed and told me that there should be a poster distribution in Hotels as many visitors waste lot of water. This inspired me to distribute more posters and in all, I hung 45 posters around businesses in Sharjah.
I think it’s very important to spread this message around restaurants and hotels. The biggest challenge I faced is that I could not spend much time talking with the employees because of the pandemic restrictions. I’m really proud of what I achieved and hope this will inspire others to give water a voice. Watch the video I made (below) about my campaign to see how I did it!
Hridhaan wrote this poem to celebrate World Water Day.
At just 8 years old, he also organized his own teach-in for all of Grade 1 & 2 at his school. All his fellow classmates made their own unique poems, stories or artwork explaining why they value water. Even the teachers followed his lead and shared their own personal stories.
Hridhaan’s effort is a perfect example of how our Youth Ambassadors can impact others within their circles of influence and give water a voice.
We are very proud to showcase Hridhaan’s lecture at Global Indian International School. Watch his session (below) and learn:
Manvith visited a local beach resort in Umm Al Qwain (UAE) and was inspired to produce this video to mark World Water Day. His clip about the perils of plastic pollution ends with the poem written by his fellow Ambassador Saanvi Rao. We encourage our Ambassadors to join together sharing each others work.
Together, everyone achieves more !
This month, we kicked off our three-month campaign encourage youth to think more carefully about innovation and water. We’ve challenged our Ambassadors and youth age 8 – 18 all across the UAE to get involved to ‘Re-New Our World’! With this initiative, we are inspiring them to innovate solutions that will tackle the global water crisis and contribute to safeguarding our shared water resources. It is not too late to think differently, consume wisely and innovate with foresight. We must think ahead about how new solutions may disrupt the old way of doing things, but for the good of all, without harmful side effects we prefer to just ignore. It is time to ‘Re-New Our World’ and restore our planet. Want to get involved? See the guidelines and registration form HERE.
In February, the passionate and inspiring Saanvi Rao has written a poem on the importance of water. Watch her video and be ready to take action. Her words are convincing and we’re ready to follow her lead to improve our world. Surely, she is a voice for change!
This month, our Youth Ambassador, Manvith Lobo was featured in his school newsletter for the work he does to protect our environment. Check out this short piece below which aims to inspire other students at GEMS New Millennium School Al Khail to follow in his footsteps. This is a fantastic example of our Ambassadors working hard to make an impact within their sphere of influence:
In January, our focus was educating Educating others on the value of water. The Ambassadors focused on this topic: the global water crisis explained from the perspective of young students in the UAE. As a group project, an original video was produced by Mishal and Mir Faraz, featuring the 2020 Youth Water Ambassadors. Marking #InternationalDayforEducation and #LearningPlanet
In the meantime, January marked the month to scour the applications of potential new Ambassadors and hold an induction session briefing them on their role. With each new cohort, we take a deep dive into the main issues composing the global water crisis and discuss local water challenges. We aim to prepare the group to engage within their circle of influence to change mindsets about water use and abuse. Meet the newest additions to our team:
December was a momentus month for our young Water Ambassadors. It marked the culmination of a month-long process to conceive, write and illustrate a fantastic children’s story book about the importance of soil and water. The book was unveiled on World Soil Day during the online launch of the Emirates Soil Museum’s new virtual exhibition on soil biodiversity. Next up, our young Ambassadors got the opportunity for a public book reading at Down To Earth, an outdoor showcase of all unique garden plants and products at the Jameel Arts Center.
Visit our page devoted to their story: Cory’s Adventures: The Mystery of the Disappearing Soil to watch their exciting trailer video and a story synopsis. The full story book is offered free of charge to our members and you can soon get your hands on our fun activity booklet for your kids. No better way to get them inspired about nature and caring for our Earth’s resources!
Finally, they joined a private, behind-the-scenes tour of The Sustainable City to further this month’s theme of ‘Educate Yourself’. We explored the topics of Water as a Human Right and the 5Rs.
Check out these social media posts to see some of the ways our youth Water Ambassadors spread the word this month to encourage others to practice the 5Rs of Refuse – Reuse – Repurpose – Recycle – Recover for sustainable living and to reduce one’s impact on the world’s water resources.
- Amogha and Ninaada visit Sharjah’s Wasit Wetlands
- Adeena goes plogging to clean the streets from plastic waste
- Ishika shared Cory’s Adventure’s in the Bookie Wookie kids reading Club
- Hridhaan’s experiment to show the effects of water pollution
- Manvith cleans the desert and collects electronic waste this month
- Bhakti show us how to make eco-friendly candle using orange peel
- Naisha featured Cory’s Adventures in her Kidly magazine. We loved this post she shared:
Remember: water is for everyone.
Each November 20th, the world celebrates children. With our Ambassadors, we took a deeper look at how children are affected by water scarcity and unsafe drinking water. Girls are often charged with collecting water far from home and risk their safety on the ardous journey. Kids miss out on school due to illness from drinking contaminated water. Water scarcity can leave us without enough for all our needs, like hygiene. Worldwide, children under the age of 5 are most likely to die from diarrhoea, a preventable water-borne illness. In 2017, this accounted for 1,300 young children dying each day. (UNICEF data)
Check out the video below made by our youngest Student Ambassador, Hridhaan, on the occasion of World Children’s Day:
We’re proud of all our Ambassadors, and this month, we want to put a spotlight on Manvith and his school project. The team Imagine EcoWarriors– led by Manvith – focused on building a sustainable city “District 2020” on Minecraft: Education Edition for a Global Build Championship by Microsoft and Mojang. Read below post and stay tuned. Once the judges have given their verdict, we’ll share the video!
This month our focus was on combatting food waste and the associated waste of water resources. We looked into how to lower our water footprint by preventing food waste, making water-wise food choices, and supporting local, sustainable food systems. Here are some of the cool things we learned:
Fact: About 2/3 of household waste is due to food spoilage from not being used in time. Don’t get caught out buying food that is too close to its past fresh date and having to toss it out. See our post about Expiry Dates.
Fact: The Water Footprint of a beef burger can be as high as 2,400 litres! Check out our video to understand why and maybe give a veggie burger a try.
Fact: The annual food waste in the UAE is estimated at 197 kg per person, compared with 95 to 115 kg in Europe and North America. South Korea found a way to lower an individual’s food waste by charging people to dispose of it. Watch this incredible video from Nas Daily.
Fact: The total amount of water used each year to produce the wasted food is equivalent to three times the volume of Lake Geneva. Crazy, right?!
Fact: The irrigation water used globally to grow food that is wasted would be enough for the domestic needs (at 200 litres per person per day) of 9 billion people – the number expected on the planet by 2050.
Click to watch our Student Ambassadors’ video to see what they learned at Uns Farm visit about city farming and hydroponics.
Here is her tasty treat made with leftover rice. Watch this video for the full recipe.
Meet the new team of Youth Water Ambassadors inducted into the Water Alliance family in September 2020. Watch this video where many of them they present themselves. Many thanks to Shaivi for compiling the fantanstic group video about their September Actions. Together we aimed to draw attention to water pollution by commemorating World Maritime Day and World River’s Day. Below is a short summary of the many things which were carried out:
This month, Manvith got the most view on his Instagram post explaining his school project about the loss of coral in our oceans. Check out his post here. Adeena is our star this month with the most posts made on Instagram. Check our her account and get informed about water pollution.
Naisha carried out Ocean Creatures Quiz during the month, made a school presentation on water pollution and wrote and illustrated a short story called Little Nyasa telling the tale of a tribal leader living on the banks of the Zui Mui River and the terrible curse which befell him for killing a piranha. Read her story for World River’s Day of how the tribe overcame the curse and pledged to protect the water.
For World Maritime Day, Abaarna told the story of water by bringing to life a water drop named Sweety. Her aim was to remind us all not to pollute water bodies with plastic and industrial waste. Listen to her story here.
A new Instagram channel sharing the story of fast fashion and it’s impact on water was created by Hamda and Rytasha. Check our their first posts here.
Mishal and Mir are helping to give water a voice and communicate vital knowledge about the global water crisis on their new Instagram account @voicesofwater_mnm. We’re especially proud of the in-depth article they wrote which was published in the GEMS Winchester school magazine October issue! They also organized a poster campaign at school on the topic of water pollution. Check out one of their masterpieces here.
Bhakti made a wonderful video drawing attention to the newest threat to our oceans: masks and plastic gloves used to protect us from COVID-19 are now endangering our oceans and life under water! Watch her inspiring video here.
Hridaan wrote his own water pledge this month and led his class in making the commitment to protect water. You can watch a clip in our Instagram Student Ambassador Highlights and meet all our Ambassadors!
Stay tuned to this page to catch all the updates from our Student Ambassadors. October will focus on Food Waste and the associated (and senseless) Wasted Water! Being more mindful of your food choices and taking care not to waste is a simple way to help conserve the world’s water resources! Learn more about the #waterfootprint of food with our Student Ambassadors this month.
Student Ambassasors : September – December 2020
|Abarnaa Sai Veeraraghavan, The Indian High School, Dubai
|Adeena Asif Mukadam, Gems Cambridge International School Sharjah
|Alix Laugier, Lycee Francais International Georges Pompidou, Dubai
|Amoghavarsha Bhat, Dehli Private School, Sharjah
|Bhakti Venkatesh Hegde, Delhi Private School, Sharjah
|Hamda Hashi, The Winchester School – Jebel Ali, Dubai
|Hridhaan Rajani, Global Indian International School, Dubai
|Isha R Nair, Kings School Nad Al Sheba, Dubai
|Ishika Nambiar, Gems New Millennium School, Dubai
|Leana Vesic, Lycee Francais International Georges Pompidou, Dubai
|Manvith Lobo, Gems New Millennium School, Dubai
|Mir Faraz, The Winchester School, Jebel Ali, Dubai
|Mishal Faraz, The Winchester School, Jebel Ali, Dubai
|Naisha Kalpavraksh, Gems New Millennium School, Dubai
|Ninaada Bhat, Dehli Private School, Sharjah
|Rytasha Kumardeen, The winchester school Jebel ali, Dubai
|Shaivi Srivastava, Gems Founders School, Al Barsha, Dubai