Schools' sustainability projects change lives, win prizes

Schools sustainability projects change lives, win prizes
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces presents Foetasi Taukave from Motufoua Secondary School a prize, during the Zayed Future Energy Prize awarding ceremony. — KT photo By Ryan Lim

Abu Dhabi - The sustainable projects changed the quality of life and education for students


Anjana Sankar

Published: Mon 15 Jan 2018, 8:30 PM

Last updated: Mon 15 Jan 2018, 10:47 PM

The five schools from across the globe that won the Zayed Future Energy Prize in Abu Dhabi on Monday hold the promise that a sustainable future is in the hands of the youth.
All five that have won in the Global High Schools category for Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania and The Americas, shared stories of how they used sustainable solutions to improve their lives.
Each school will walk away with a $100,000 prize that will enable them to develop and complete clean energy projects. The prize in its 10th year is instituted for schools to encourage children to embrace sustainability.
The Bahrain Bayan School won the Zayed Future Energy Prize in the Global Schools Asia category, for their vision of a fully self-sustainable cafeteria that will use solar power, bio-gas, water recycling and vertical farming to have its own produce. "The project is called Eco Lab 360 because the school cafeteria will be fully self-sufficient when it comes to its energy needs. We will use biogas using food waste and recycle the waste water to support vertical farming that will again get us the vegetables," Aya Al Khalifa, Grade 12 student, explained.
Mariam, another student, said they have already done the environmental audit to get the cafeteria running. "The prize money means our dream project can take off soon. But for us, this is not just about winning an award. We are keen to take the sustainability effort to other schools and bring more attention to the issue."
For Aoudha Saada High School from Morocco, the Global Schools Africa category winner, finding sustainable solutions to their energy needs changed the quality of life for its nearly 1,600 students. "We are an all-girls school and students did not feel safe stepping out, especially in the evenings, as the streets had no lighting. We launched a project to develop solar power to light up the dark alleys leading to our school and also to supply hot water to more than 300 student boarders," said Rachid Louardi, the school's principal.
The school also used solar energy to operate water pumps to solve the water scarcity problem. Choosing the sustainable path was also a game-changer for students of Motufoua Secondary School in Tuvalu, who won in the Oceania category of schools. Motufoua is the only government school in Tuvalu, a small Polynesian island nation in the Pacific Ocean. The school has a 46kW solar PV array and a diesel generator but, as this is subject to fuel availability, a constant power supply is not guaranteed. "Our winning project is a bio-digester for producing organic fertiliser for the vegetable garden and produce enough biogas to meet the school's needs," Grade 12 student Foetasi Taukave said.

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