DUBAI: The values of giving and philanthropy have always been the main principles of the message of the UAE. The UAE lends its helping hand worldwide world to alleviate human suffering, regardless of gender, race or religion, in accordance with noble values that stem from the principles of the Islamic religion and Arab traditions. The launch of the UAE Water Aid Foundation (Suqia) is an added value to the country’s humanitarian work. It confirms that the approach of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan is continuing and that the UAE’s wise leadership is continuing its efforts in the service of humanity.
The launch of Suqia
In June 2014, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the UAE Water Aid Suqia campaign to provide access to fresh drinking water for 5 million people around the world. The campaign surpassed its target, achieving over AED180 million, enough to provide water to over 7 million people around the world. In March 2015, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, issued law number 3 of 2015, establishing the UAE Water Aid Foundation as a non-profit organisation as a legal organisation that is able to carry out its mission to achieve its objectives. His Highness also issued decree number 8 of 2015 forming the Board of Trustees of the UAE Water Aid Foundation, chaired by the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of DEWA and membership of representatives from Ministry of International Cooperation and Development, UAE Red Crescent Authority, UAE University, Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research, and two representatives from Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA).
The objectives of Suqia
As defined by law number 3 of 2015, the objectives of the UAE Water Aid Foundation include bolstering the UAE’s contribution as a key player in implementing humanitarian efforts to improve the living conditions of poor and affected communities and achieve sustainable development. The Foundation also supports humanitarian organisations in the UAE and inform and update them about humanitarian emergencies. It also supports international efforts to provide clean drinking water, fight water-related diseases that threaten human lives, and protect water from biological and chemical pollutants.
The UAE Water Aid Foundation works to provide potable water to the needy, the disadvantaged, and those who are in distress around the world. It provides them with the basics of a decent life and contributes to finding permanent and sustainable solutions to water scarcity around the world. This is done using the latest technologies, desalinating water using solar power, and providing new and innovative technological solutions for communities that suffer from scarcity and pollution of drinking water.
UAE Water Aid will not differentiate between one person and another
“The UAE, headed by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE; His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum; and Their Highnesses the Members of the Supreme Council, Rulers of the Emirates the UAE, plays a leading role, globally, in addressing the challenges facing humanity, by providing the necessary support and delivery of humanitarian assistance throughout the world, helping poor communities and supporting sustainable development. The UAE was ranked the world’s top development assistance donor in 2016 relative to its national income, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development,” said HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of UAE Water Aid Foundation (Suqia).
“At the UAE Water Aid Foundation (Suqia), we are committed to achieving one of the key objectives set by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives foundation, which is to combat poverty and disease by contributing to finding permanent and sustainable solutions to water scarcity around the world. We do this by conducting research and studies to develop innovative and affordable technologies to help millions of people around the world who suffer from shortages, scarcity, or pollution of drinking water. We are also committed to providing water to millions of disadvantaged and needy people around the world, without any discrimination based on race, colour, religion, or culture. In the words of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, “UAE Water Aid will not differentiate between one person and another, so are all of our humanitarian works, such as the UAE’s humanitarian mission that lies in helping the afflicted, the needy and disadvantaged people all over the world without any distinction,”” added Al Tayer.
Until 2016, 8 million people, around the world, have benefitted from Suqia
Suqia implemented projects providing drinking water, to 8 million people, in 19 countries worldwide, up to the end of 2016, in collaboration with a number of leading charity organisations.
In cooperation with the Emirates Red Crescent, and the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Charity and Humanitarian Establishment, and under the umbrella of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, Suqia has implemented 10 projects in Ghana, Uganda, Somalia, Tajikistan, Mauritania, Mali, and Senegal, in 2016. Suqia also provided relief assistance to Yemen, in cooperation with the Ministry of Development and International Cooperation. According to the Ministry, the number of beneficiaries exceeded 1 million people.
The most prominent humanitarian projects
Mohammed Abdulkareem Al Shamsi, Acting Executive Director of the UAE Water Aid Foundation, noted that some of Suqia’s projects, in the Year of Giving, include drilling artesian wells in Afghanistan, The Philippines, Benin, Bangladesh, Djibouti, Thailand, and Burkina Faso. About 122,000 people are expected to benefit from these projects. Al Shamsi highlighted that the UAE Water Aid Foundation also distributes water to mosques and Ramadan tents, in the seven Emirates, in cooperation with 13 local charities organisations and associations, during the Holy month of Ramadan.
As part of ‘For your Sake, Somalia’, Suqia provides drinking water to 90,000 people
As part of its efforts in the Year of Giving, and in support of the ‘For your Sake, Somalia’ campaign, launched by the Emirates Red Crescent, Suqia is implementing two projects to provide drinking water to than 90,000 people in Somalia, in cooperation with the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Charity and Humanitarian Establishment. Suqia’s first project, in Ufayn in the eastern region of Somalia, includes building a 300-cubic-metre water collection point near the water springs at the foot of the mountain and 600 cubic metre water reservoirs. The project also includes repairing and replacing the three-kilometre pipeline network. Solar-powered pumps will be provided to pump water from the ground reservoir to an elevated water tank in the town. The project will make it easier for residents to access potable water, reducing the distance they have to travel to obtain water for drinking, irrigation, or livestock. The project will benefit about 50,000 people in towns and neighbouring villages.
The second project involved drilling an artesian well in the village of Tookiyo in the Lower Shabelle province in Somalia, and the installation of pipes and an electric pump. This covers the basic water needs of the village whose residents rely on agriculture and livestock. The project includes building a 20 cubic-metre water tank, 3 basins for animals, and shaded water taps to protect residents from the sun, and also connecting the water systems from the well to the water tank and the basins. The project will provide over 40,000 people with clean water, alleviating residents’ suffering in getting water, and limiting diseases that could spread as a result of drinking contaminated water.
Global Award worth USD 1 million
Suqia oversees the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Award, which is worth USD 1 million. The Award was launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to encourage research centres, individuals and innovators from around the world to find innovative and sustainable solutions for clean-water scarcity around the world, using solar power. It has three main categories: Innovative Projects Award, Innovative Research and Development Award, and the Innovative Youth Award.
“In the next phase, we will work to permanent and sustainable solutions to water scarcity around the world. This is achieved by providing new and innovative technological solutions, such as solar powered water desalination and filtration, for communities that suffer from scarcity and contamination of drinking water. We call on all research institutions around the world to participate in the USD 1 million award competition, to find sustainable, cheap, and innovative solutions for this purpose,” said HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, at the launch of the Award.
10 winners from 8 countries, at the first Award
HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, honoured 10 winners from 8 countries at the first edition of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Award.
“We gather here today to recognise the innovators and winners of the first Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Water Award, which takes place during the Year of Giving. HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, has declared 2017 the Year of Giving in the UAE. We were pleased with the high level of interest and size of participation in the award, and impressed by the quality of the innovations from research centres, institutions, and individuals from all over the world. We received 138 applications from 43 countries around the world. We were also pleased with how many young people took part, which reaffirms the role of the UAE as a platform that motivates innovation, an incubator of creativity, and a destination for innovators from all over the world,” said Al Tayer, during the award ceremony.
R&D (Research & Development)
Suqia aims to provide drinking water to the needy around the world, but also promotes research and development (R&D) efforts to find innovative and sustainable solutions to water scarcity, and seeks to explore ways to purify water using solar power to meet the increasing demand, and contribute to sustainable development. Some of its most prominent projects are the reverse osmosis of seawater by a photovoltaic desalination plant and water purification using solar technology, in cooperation with DEWA, with a capacity of 7.7 cubic metres per day, enough to meet the needs of 1,540 people. Furthermore, there is the solar-powered water pumping and desalination station at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which uses photovoltaic solar panels to desalinate water with Reverse Osmosis (RO) technology, with a production capacity of 50 cubic metres (around 11,000 gallons) a day, to meet the needs of 10,000 people.