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Sheikha Fatima empowers young finalists to complete Zayed Future Energy Prize Project

posted on 22/11/2014: 1956 views

The Zayed Future Energy Prize rewards organisations, individuals and students who share the vision of the late founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, for a more sustainable future.

In line with that vision, Mother of the ‘Emirates' Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak - Mother of the Nation, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union (GWU), Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF) and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, has made a generous donation to each of the non-winning finalists of the Global High Schools category in January 2014.

The Global High Schools category was established under the Prize in 2012 to fund projects which would accelerate the deployment of renewable energy in schools; instilling an ethos of sustainability in young students around the world. As a finalist for the 2014 award, the Abaarso School of Science and Technology in Somaliland, East Africa; received the generous donation from Her Highness. With the support of ARC Initiative; an alumni organisation of Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, the school is pleased to announce it has now completed the first phase of its renewable energy project in less than a year.

Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak said, "Under the leadership of our founding president, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan - may the peace and mercy of God always be with him – we have laid the foundation for a sustainable future for the nation and the world. The Zayed Future Energy Prize recognises those who share this vision, giving the youth, as leaders of tomorrow an equal measure of responsibility in crafting that future." "In order to overcome the global challenges of energy, waste and water we face today, we require innovative thinking and unified efforts at every level of society. The students of the Abaarso School of Science and Technology have demonstrated the value of clean energy to communities today. I commend their achievements and the altruism of ARC Initiative who have helped make their vision possible," she said.

The donation was used to fund the material cost of Abaarso's project to restore the school's single wind turbine, install energy-efficient solar water heaters and LED lights, as well as renovate the micro-grid electricity distribution system. The project will provide the school building with essential, safe, and sustainable electricity and hot water.

Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Director General of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, said, "The Zayed Future Energy Prize is proud to have enabled this inspiring partnership, where a deserving school has benefited from trained sustainability experts to address its pressing energy challenges. We are both honoured and grateful to Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak for her generosity in making this project possible. This is an example of the community spirit the Prize fosters amongst past winners and partners – to enable collaboration and teamwork towards a greater public cause." ARC Initiative is implementing the two part project over several stages. The first stage involved planning and repairs to the building structure, between 26 March and 1 April, 2014. Six members of the team visited the school to make the necessary modifications for retrofitting the renewable energy technologies. Along the way, ARC Initiative had to overcome many challenges, from the harsh environmental conditions to the remote location of the campus.

The second stage involved the installation of LED lights and solar water heaters, between 20 - 25 September. These technologies are expected to reduce energy consumption by up to 20 percent, an estimated saving of 2kW at peak times. LED lights were installed on the school's basketball courts and guardhouse accompanying the four solar water heaters fitted to the teachers' accommodation.

A key highlight of the project is the student's involvement at every stage. ARC Initiative has taught the students the skills required to install and maintain the equipment themselves.

The team will return in early 2015 for the second phase, to repair the school's wind turbine using data collected on-site. They will also oversee the renovation of the campus micro-grid system, completing the 2014 schools project outline. Upon completion, the school will reduce its energy consumption by as much as 75 per cent.

Kyle Weber, ARC Initiative Co-Founder and Sustainability Project Manager for the Abaarso School, said: "The ARC Initiative has a growing portfolio of development projects in communities in Africa and Asia. Our commitment to sustainability and education is well-aligned with the objectives of the Zayed Future Energy Prize. The Prize has given our organisation a worthwhile opportunity to assist the Abaarso School in this landmark project. We are also looking at deepening our engagement, assisting future applicants, participants and winners of the Zayed Future Energy Prize with achieving their sustainability goals." The Abaarso School of Science and Technology is among the three finalists from Africa in the Global High Schools category of the 2015 Zayed Future Energy Prize. This year's project proposal plans to reduce diesel and water purchases by 75-100 per cent by 2016, expanding on the school's current efforts. Clean energy initiatives would be extended to benefit the wider community through the installation of solar refrigerators, solar lights and chargers around the nearby village.

Masdar Institute's Engineers without Borders and ARC Initiative are also engaged in other projects in collaboration with Zayed Future Energy Prize winners and finalists. In addition to supporting the development of a Knowledge Centre at the Kirya Secondary School in Tanzania (2013 Global High Schools Africa winner), Masdar Institute's student chapter and alumni organisation are also sharing technical expertise for converting farm waste to electricity at the LIWA International School in the Western region of Abu Dhabi. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


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