Now app to reduce waste in UAE, donate food to needy

Filed on February 22, 2017
Now app to reduce waste in UAE, donate food to needy

It will also include a feature that allows people to donate their surplus food to the needy.

Three students of Pristine Private School in Dubai are working on an app to reduce food waste in the UAE. 

The FoodAge App is the winning project of the first edition of Taqaddam UAE School Level Competition, launched last March across 12 schools with 240 participating students in UAE.  

HSBC Bank Middle East Limited and the British Council launched the 7-week programme in 60 other schools across the region, reaching 1,200 students, to help equip young people with soft skills and support the development of life skills in 15-16 year olds. 

Now both organizations are supporting the UAE winning students to bring their app to reality, where HSBC is offering logistical and digital support by providing access to Synechron innovation labs and helping students network.  

Now app to reduce waste in UAE, donate food to needy (KT10648222.JPG)

FoodAge App-extracted from the phrase food wastage- will allow users to keep track of food stocks, expiry dates and provide tips on right methods to preserve food items. It will also include a feature that allows people to donate their surplus food to the needy. 

"We wanted to develop a project that solves a prominent problem in the community. We found the food waste is a common issue because many people find it hard to sustain their own food," said 11th grader James Cyrus who's developing the app along with his classmates Mohsin Biswas and Zachariah Leon. 

Previous studies have revealed that GCC countries were among the world's top generators of food waste. According to estimates by Dubai Municipality, food waste in the UAE comprises 39 per cent of an average household's organic waste. This ratio increases to roughly 55 per cent, or 1,850 tonnes, during the holy month of Ramadan.

Through the app, users will be able to register their food product by scanning their barcode, and once the product has been scanned, there would be constant reminders to show nutritional value and its expiry date. 

Team member Biswas added that the goal is to spread the app among the youth and make it a global volunteering program on the long term. 

The Taqaddam course provided face-to-face workshops for teachers, helping to develop their capacity as educators in the area of core skills, followed by an online assessment for students and subsequent development courses delivered by trained teachers.

Melanie Relton, regional project manager further education and vocational training at the British Council, said the idea was to encourage young people to tackle a global problem by presenting a thorough idea and prepare them for an ever-changing job market.

"In the future environment, the top 10 jobs sought after will not be in existence. We wanted to see how are educators preparing students for dying careers or jobs that don't exist yet. The program aimed at giving students the skills of becoming lifelong learners and self-starters with high bridge data," said Relton, noting the huge potential of untapped talent. 

Sabrin Rahman, Head of Corporate Sustainability at HSBC, said through working with the team, students will gain practical experience and understanding of the business process of developing an idea. "Now they can put their skills gained through the program into develop a tangible project and understand how much work it takes," said Rahman. 

She added that lack of skills in tackling complex areas of work is a common problem, and through the program, both organizations are looking to develop these skills from early on. 

Shagufa Kidwai, Prinicipal of Pristine Private School, said "We feel that the project was in line with our school's vision. This has provided a remarkable opportunity for our students to have their dream turned into reality."

Now app to reduce waste in UAE, donate food to needy (

Sherouk Zakaria

"Born and raised in UAE, Sherouk Zakaria is a Senior Correspondent at Khaleej Times. Joined since May 2016, she covers Dubai Municipality, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), special events and humanitarian issues. Her choice of journalism as a career stems from her passion of telling people's stories and writing to inspire or make a difference. In her free time, she's an occasional theater and film actress. Sherouk received her BA in Mass Communications from the American University in Sharjah in 2013. Before joining Khaleej Times, she was a senior lifestyle/entertainment editor for a magazine in Dubai."

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