UAE innovator’s water project changes hundreds of lives in Tanzania Filed on April 14, 2021
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Companies, research centres, and innovators, can register for the UAE water award’s third cycle up to April 30.

After winning the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Water Award, young innovator Jan Rädel went straight to work, transferring every dollar of his prize money to Tanzania. All he wanted was to provide potable water to people in the East African country. Now, his three new projects are nearly done, ready to connect three school communities to a constant supply of safe drinking water.

The award — launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai — is now in its third cycle, with applications set to close on April 30. Under the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, the UAE Water Aid Foundation (Suqia) supervises the $1-million award that encourages innovators across the world to present their ideas and innovative models and solutions to water scarcity.

Rädel was one such innovator. Before turning 30, he travelled to Tanzania, where he saw first-hand the hardships faced by the local communities in trying to obtain clean water. He was used to fresh water being available at the simple turn of the tap. But for first time in his life, during his stay in the country, he had to prepare his water for the next day by sedimenting it overnight and boiling it the next day before he could drink it.

This was how Rädel’s ‘Jadi Maji’ initiative was born. He set up a water plant that harvests rainwater and employs a gravity-driven ultrafiltration system to purify the collected water. It uses solar power to pump and distribute the rainwater from a five- to six-metre-high tower. The system eliminates the need for a backwash tank and pump as it runs as a side-by-side operation of two gravity-driven filtration membranes.

The water plant can store from 100,000 to 150,000 litres of safe and clean drinking water to meet the community’s needs, especially during the dry season. At the time of his application for the second cycle of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Water Award, Rädel had three such plants up and running, bringing clean drinking water to schools and at least 1,170 students in Tanzania. With this project, he was selected as a joint winner of the Innovative Individual Award – Youth Category.

“I have transferred every single dollar I have won from the award to Tanzania, which enabled me to work with partners on three projects simultaneously. The principle and design of the water treatment plant have remained the same, and two of them have already been built in two locations. By the end of 2021, we intend to finish all the three new plants underway and connect those three schools to safe drinking water,” said Rädel.

Winning the award gave him the opportunity to showcase his initiative, and allowed him to secure trust and support for future projects. His prize money also provided him with the financial support he needed to expand the Jadi Maji initiative and add three new projects this year.

“In addition, some of the money was used to boost interest in innovation among the secondary students in Tanzania. They have been provided with materials such as pipes and small solar pumps to encourage them to be creative and come up with their inventions and be awarded as well for their innovative works,” Rädel added.

Companies, research centres and institutes, innovators, and young people from all over the world who have new solutions that can address water scarcity can register to the award’s third cycle up to April 30 on

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, chairman of the Board of Trustees at Suqia, said: “The Mohammed Bin Rashid Global Water Award has encouraged many brilliant young minds to present their projects to make a difference in the world. It has been helping them to realise their aspirations and enable them to develop more efficient low-cost technologies. It is also developing their abilities to make a significant contribution, not only to global innovation, but also to youth empowerment.”

Staff Reporter

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