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29 February 2024

UAE Water Aid Foundation: working in Zayed’s footsteps

By Wam

While humanitarianism is a well-established public policy in the UAE, improving the lives of less fortunate communities is one of the main objectives of the UAE’s foreign aid policy, making the country one of the largest donors of humanitarian assistance in the world.

The UAE Water Aid Foundation (Suqia), under the umbrella of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, MBRGI, has shown that the approach of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, a pioneer of humanitarianism, is still alive today.

In a report released on the occasion of 'Zayed Humanitarian Work Day', which was marked on 19th of Ramadan, the foundation furnished details on its activities, initiatives and achievements at the national and international levels.

Over 9 million beneficiaries from Suqia’s projects Suqia continues to provide safe drinking water wherever there is water scarcity and pollution, in cooperation with the relevant local and international organisations. By the end of 2018, Suqia’s projects had helped over nine million people in 34 countries.

Humanitarian work in the footsteps of Zayed "Observing Zayed Humanitarian Work Day is particularly relevant in the Year of Tolerance, which is an extension of the Year of Zayed 2018, as it carries forward the values instilled by the late Sheikh Zayed, who extended his helping hand to the needy anywhere in the world, regardless of nationality, race, colour, or religion," said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Suqia.

"These are the principles that are followed by the wise leadership," he added.

The launch of Suqia In March 2015, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, issued Law Number 3 for 2015, establishing Suqia’s legal status as a non-profit organisation. Suqia also aims to contribute to finding sustainable solution solutions for global water scarcity and pollution through studies, research, and the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Water Award, to develop innovative solutions that use solar power to provide clean water.

Suqia supports sustainable development Water scarcity affects over 40 percent of the world's population. According to the United Nations World Water Development Report 2019 titled "Leaving no one behind," three out of ten people do not have access to safe drinking water and over two billion people live in countries experiencing high water stress. Nearly four billion people experience severe water scarcity during at least one month of the year. Water-related diseases remain among the major causes of death in children under five while more than 800 children die every day from diseases linked to poor hygiene.

This affirms Suqia’s important role in providing safe and clean water to communities suffering from water scarcity and pollution.

Pioneering initiatives during the Year of Zayed 2018, Suqia launched six local and international initiatives. These included the "100 Volunteers", "100 Letters to Zayed", "100 Water Projects", "100 Water Endowments", "International Initiatives" and Suqia Zayed, which expanded internationally, in cooperation with Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Establishment, MBRHCE, to reach 13 countries. This year, Suqia is organising a number of international voluntary initiatives in cooperation with the MBRHCE.

Local and international initiatives during the Holy Month During its annual Ramadan campaign, Suqia provides drinking water in mosques and Iftar tents inside and outside the UAE. This, in cooperation with 14 local charities, benefits four million people. For the second consecutive year, the campaign spans 13 different countries around the world. The objectives of this year’s campaign are aligned with the 2019 Year of Tolerance, positioning the UAE as a global model for tolerance.

2nd Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Water Award Suqia is accepting applications for the 2nd Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Water Award. The award was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to encourage companies, research centres, individuals, and innovators around the world to find sustainable and innovative solutions using solar power to address the scarcity of potable water. Terms and conditions for applying are available on Suqia’s website. The deadline for receiving the applications is 30 June 2019.

Award categories The award has three main categories: Innovative Projects Award, Innovative Research and Development Award, and Innovative Individual Award, with prizes totalling US$1 million.

The Innovative Projects Award targets government, semi-government, and non-government organisations. It has two categories: the Large Projects Award with total prizes worth $300,000, and the Small Projects Award with total prizes worth $240,000. The Innovative Research and Development Award targets individuals and teams from academic institutions and research centres that are independent or annexed to governmental or semi-government organisations. It has two categories: the National Institutions Award and the International Institutions Award with total prizes worth $200,000 each. The Innovative Individual Award has two categories: the Youth Award, which targets youth between the ages of 15 and 35 with a prize value of $20,000; and the Distinguished Researcher Award with a prize value of $40,000.

Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 Suqia supported the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 by providing 38,000 water bottles to around 7,000 athletes in the world’s largest humanitarian sports event.