Highlights of World Water Day Celebrations at MEDRC

An annual event, with a different theme every year, World Water Day seeks to bring water to the top of the agenda. This year’s theme ‘Nature for Water’ was an opportunity to highlight and understand nature-based solutions to current water challenges.

Commenting on this years event, MEDRC Center Director, Ciarán Ó Cuinn stated; “Each year, UN World Water Day focuses the world on the importance of water to human life, society and our environment. At MEDRC the day is always a huge event and this year is no different. From awareness-raising walkathons to academic symposia, art competitions and exciting research challenges, this will be out largest celebration yet.’

MEDRC Water Research marked the occasion with a series of events and celebrations, planned to take place at their headquarters, in Al Hail, Muscat. The day was split into two parts with youth water celebratory events taking place in the morning and an academic symposium reserved for the afternoon.

Janab Al Sayyida Basma Fakhri Al Said (Founder of Whispers of Serenity, Mental Health Advocate and Omani Woman of the Year, 2016) attended the morning’s event as Guest of Honor.

1) Walk for Water: Wheelchair bound Abdullah Al Salmi accompanied well renowned walker Hilmi Al Kindi on 20Km Walkathon.

Generously sponsored by Oman LNG.

MEDRC staff member Hilmi Al Kindi, is well renowned in Oman for undertaking grueling walking challenges. Each year on the occasion of world water day Hilmi sets out on an arduous journey to highlight the occasion of world water day. His route this year took him from Wadi Al Koud to MEDRC HQ highlighting the natural water resources present in the Sultanate such as falaj Al Sarat and the Al Koud recharge dam. Accompanying him on this journey was his long-time walking partner Nawaf Al Suleimani and wheelchair bound Abdullah Al Salmi. The walkers departed from Al Khoud on the morning of the 21st of March and completed their journey on the morning of March 22nd, arriving to MEDRC Water Research to a welcoming party of local school children, dignitaries and key water stakeholders in Oman.

2) Student Art Competition: MEDRC organized a student art competition in collaboration with Our Planet International School and sponsored by Oman LNG. The theme of Aflaj was chosen as it was consistent with this year’s World Water Day theme while also being reflective of the important cultural significance and deep-rooted respect held in Oman for these ancient irrigation systems. MEDRC selected a winning entry and invited a group of students from the school to paint the design as a mural on the MEDRC garden wall. Janab Al Sayyida Basma Al Said officiated at the prize giving ceremony with prizes awarded to the winner and first and second runner up. The students also built a replica falaj out of recyclable materials which was displayed at the event.

3) Alumni Lecture Series: MEDRC invited two of their outstanding alumni from the MEDRC Fellowship program to deliver a lecture on the theme topic (Nature for Water) to a distinguished audience of dignitaries and key stakeholders from Oman’s water sector. The honor of being selected to present at this important occasion was given to Mrs. Munjeda Salman (An Najah National University, Palestine) and Ms. Amal Jaradat (Jordan University, Jordan).

4) Young Oman Water Researchers Award: MEDRC announced the launch of the Young Omani Water Researchers Award for the second year running. This award was first launched on World Water Day, 2017 with the winner being announced in October last year. Sponsored by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Omar Zawawi Establishment (OMZEST) the award seeks to recognize excellence in the field of water research in Oman and encourage researchers to focus their attention on water to the benefit of Oman and its population.

5) MoU Signing: A memorandum of understanding was signed between Caledonian College of Engineering and MEDRC in the presence of Dr. Ahmed Hassan Al Bulushi, Dean of Caledonian College of Engineering and Ciarán Ó Cuinn, Center Director of MEDRC.

6) Harvesting Water from Air Challenge! MEDRC hosted the Sunglacier challenge, a global challenge to accelerate dew harvesting techniques, by Mr. Jaap Feil, Chairman of Wetskills foundation and held in conjunction with the Sultan Qaboos University. Teams from the Netherlands and Oman competed to see who could get the most water out of air within a 48-hour period starting from 10.15am on the morning of World Water Day. The Dutch team were declared the victors!

Audience members present at this event included Dr. Ali Al-Ghafri, Chairman’s Assistant for International Relations, DIAM (PAEW), Dr. Ahmed Hassan Al Bulushi, Dean of Caledonian College of Engineering, and Dr. Alexander Bykovski, CEO of Russian Trade House.