The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Water Award is an initiative launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, as an international platform for innovators across the world to compete in finding sustainable and innovative solutions to the problem of water scarcity. Under the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives Foundation, the UAE Water Aid Foundation (Suqia) supervises the biennial Award to encourage leading corporations, research centres, institutions, young people, and innovators from across to present their ideas. These cost-effective and renewable energy powered solutions can meet the needs of developing communities without access to clean drinking water.
“Through this initiative, winners of the Award have been given the opportunity to showcase the projects they designed. The Award shows that technical and sustainable models can be part of the solution to the global water crisis to overcome the challenges faced in communities in need. Winners of the Award's previous cycles have developed unique cost-effective models, while also improving their skills and abilities, contributing to global innovation. The Award has played an important role in encouraging organisations from around the world to present their projects and be able to make a difference in people’s lives,” said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Suqia.
Through this initiative, winners of the Award have been given the opportunity to showcase the projects they designed. The Award shows that technical and sustainable models can be part of the solution to the global water crisis to overcome the challenges faced in communities in need.
One such example is Project Maji, the third-place winner of the Award’s ‘Innovative Research and Development category – International Institutions’ in the second cycle. The non-profit organisation proposed the installation and implementation of automated water kiosks consisting of solar powered submersible pumps that can draw water from the ground without depending on unreliable or non-existent power grids or expensive batteries for electricity. These kiosks have been fitted with IP67 military grade solar panels and operate solely on solar power, which incurs zero-energy costs.
The kiosks are designed to be environmentally friendly and do not emit greenhouse gasses compared to other water pumps that use diesel or fuel. The winning entry brought key advantages and benefits to communities in Kenya and Ghana such as a reduction in costs for replacement parts while also keeping low maintenance requirements.
Under Project Maji, these solar-powered kiosks have been installed to power high efficiency submersible pumps, which have been integrated with a controller that runs at varying time intervals to ensure that water pumping occurs through the day and even during low sunlight conditions. To date, 50 of these kiosks have been set up in Ghana while 14 have been set up in Kenya. Each kiosk provides access to over 5,000 litres of water per day. Some 67,000 people from both countries have had their lives positively transformed from Project Maji's solar-powered water kiosks.
Sunil Lalvani, Founder and CEO of Project Maji, explained that winning the Award has provided the organisation with the necessary funding to further advance the project. “The recognition not only allowed us to showcase our invention but also helped us in securing funding for the project. In addition, we were able to gain the trust and confidence of the communities in Ghana and Kenya, bringing in an additional sense of credibility, visibility and validity.”
He added that the Award also served as a strategic networking event within the industry, opening the opportunity for potential partnerships and collaborations with other winners.
In addition, as a direct COVID-19 response, Project Maji has created a zero-touch handwashing Maji bucket. This is a low-cost locally-manufactured bucket that allows people to wash their hands, with soap, through the use of a foot pedal. This invention, which helps communities reduce exposure to harmful viruses, has benefited over 75,000 people in both Ghana and Kenya.
Amidst current restrictions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Project Maji has remained steadfast in its commitment to help manage the continued implementation and operation of their initiatives in Ghana and Kenya. It continues to provide remote support through technology with locally based teams to complete the work.
Suqia encourages all companies, research centres and institutes, innovators, and young people from all over the world that have innovative solutions that can help address the global water crisis to register for the 3rd cycle of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Water Award.
The deadline for registration is 30 April 2021 via https://suqia.ae/awards