The Aqua Initiative started its life as a simple idea as part of a community and service project. At the time, the name ‘The Aqua Initiative’ did not exist. In 2008, Edward Pollock started to investigate the World Water Crisis. Discoveries of shocking images and facts lead to the first goal of the Aqua Initiative. The first goal was to raise enough money to buy one water pump in Africa. A number of ideas were thought about and planned, including wide scale carnivals and concerts. In the end, Edward Pollock decided to hold the first ever World Water Day celebrations at Dubai International Academy. As a fourteen-year-old student, it was a major scale job having to create an enticing presentation for the entire secondary school as well as organize a means to raise funds, through casual dress and a bake sale.
At the same time, Aman Ghose was gaining first hand experience of the issues people around the world face due to a lack of clean water and sanitation. Upon a trip to Ethiopia with the school, Aman was confronted with the pain and suffering that a lack of clean water costs. This experience was then translated as past of a school project where he sold jute bags in order to raise money. Little did he know that another student had had very similar ideas.
In March 2009, Edward Pollock held the first ever World Water Day, presenting a speech addressing the entire school on the severity of the global crisis. Other events, such as the casual dress and the bake sale, helped raise around £170, the Aqua Initiative’s first ever finance. Days after saw the first union of the Aqua Initiative when Aman Ghose approached Edward Pollock and proposed a jointed group. From that day forward, the Aqua Initiative was born.
The following year saw the Aqua Initiative become a major operating organization. Through various meetings and discussions the plans were formed and the Aqua Initiative began planning the first ever World Water Day Carnival. The two ambitious teens reached out to various companies across Dubai to support this new found initiative. With £2,500 sponsorship from Aqualyng and Oasis, there was no going back. The realization of the scale of the project was when the Aqua Initiative had it’s first full page feature in Dubai’s national newspaper, Gulf News.
Months later, it was once again World Water Day, however this time, it was the Aqua Initiative World Water Day. The presentation was once again given to the entire school with assistance from our guest speaker Mr. Chip Harris of Aqualyng. Another pizza sale and bake sale was organized and the Aqua Initiative made it’s first money. The foundation goals were being met as to raise awareness and funds. However, the biggest event of the year was yet to come.
Less than a month later, on Thursday 15th April 2010, the Aqua Initiative hosted it’s first ever Water for Life Carnival at Dubai International Academy. The carnival hosted a wide range of activities from slides, to bouncy castles, to human foosball tables. There were drumming from Dubai Drums, food from Desert Chill and much more. The day was a major success and was a tribute to the success and growth of the organization. At the end of the day, the Aqua Initiative had managed to make over £3,500 for the cause.
The end of 2010 saw Aman Ghose stand back from his position in the Aqua Initiative to focus on further education, it was then down to Edward Pollock as President to continue the legacy. In the next year, the Aqua Initiative continued to grow with a new and improved website as well as corporate support from a number of organizations around the world, bringing the sponsorship for 2011 up to £5,000. The scale of events was to be increased with the carnival being held on a Friday and with invitations going to schools across Dubai.
In its third year, the Aqua Initiative had grown to be highly recognized in the Dubai International Academy community, with over seventy volunteers signed up for the carnival. World Water Day had become an annual event with another school wide assembly being held to raise awareness amongst the students as to the horrors of the issues the world is facing. When the Water for Life Carnival of 2011 arrived, it had become a long awaited day with many exciting activities from bungee runs, to bouncy castles to slides to climbing walls to dunk tanks and so much more.
Families from across Dubai attended the event, donating money and showing their support for a global cause. Students, teachers and parents gathered together for fun and excitement in aid of a highly beneficial cause. The closing amount of money was close to £6,250, almost doubling the previous total. The money from both years has had a significant impact on the world. With tens of thousands being donated to a number of charities, the Aqua Initiative was able to contribute to building several wells and pumps in villages in India and Bangladesh, as well as contributing funds towards sanitation blocks and training of local workers.
However, in 2012, the Aqua Initiative saw it’s most successful year to date. With an established date in the calendar, the Aqua Initiative increased the scale of the World Water Day events to a size that had not been seen before. With more rides, more events and more passion, the World Water Day Carnival in 2012, saw a record breaking number of visitors and vast media attention in magazines, radio, newspapers and more. The carnival was an incredible success making over £8,000 for the cause!
The funds from these carnivals went to distributing LifeStraw’s in Sudan, and building hand pumps in Afghanistan and Kenya. The Aqua Initiative had helped change lives in many countries around the globe including Ethiopia, and Rwanda also. In 2012, President, Edward Pollock visited Ethiopia and saw the effects of the crisis first hand and it was this revealing trip that inspired Edward to return to the UK and register the Aqua Initiative as an official charity.
From 2012 to 2013, The Aqua Initiative began forming in the UK and received much press attention and awards from the Bold Talks award to the International Princess Diana Award as well as articles in newspapers, features on national television and radio. On 22nd March 2013, World Water Day, the Aqua Initiative announced that it had become an official registered charity in Scotland and would be continuing it’s operations on a wider scale and bringing it’s mission of providing clean water to the UK in the hope of helping as many communities around the world as possible.
The success of a group of hard-working and dedicated students has changed hundreds of lives around the world, which no longer have to suffer from the consequences of using dirty water. The passion and the power of the Aqua Initiative continue to grow, inspiring others and making global changes. One by one, we can contribute to the worldwide aim of ending global water poverty.