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Hertfordshire schools rise to the challenge for water ideas

21 May 19

Hertfordshire schools rise to the challenge for water ideas

Four schools from across Hertfordshire battled it out last week in a bid to be crowned winners of the 2019 Challenge: Water competition.

Challenge: Water is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) based competition for secondary schools organised by local water company Affinity Water and international charity WaterAid, which helps the world's most impoverished communities get access to clean water and sanitation.

Now in its fourth year, it involves young people learning about the importance of water on a local and global scale, then taking part in three STEM challenges designed to test their innovation, collaboration and design skills.

The three challenges this year included devising a fundraising campaign for WaterAid; making design improvements to the charity's VIP latrine; and delivering a water saving campaign.

Teams and judges at the 2019 challenge water competition

Teams from Beaumont School and Verulam School in St Albans, Croxley Danes School in Rickmansworth and John F Kennedy Catholic School in Hemel Hempstead gathered at The Fielder Centre in Hatfield to present their ideas to judges Pauline Walsh, CEO of Affinity Water; Dr James Jenkins, Head of Geography, Environment and Agriculture at the University of Hertfordshire; Bob Prothero, Education Officer at WaterAid and Helen Spencer, Director of educational charity SETPOINT Hertfordshire.

The team from Beaumont School were crowned the eventual winners, with the judges commending their use of a physical 1m cube to illustrate weekly water use per person. The judges also praised the “genius” idea of a combined bell and door release in their toilet design, allowing those with disabilities to use it independently yet call for assistance if needed. The winning school also took home a trophy and a £500 cash prize.

Students from Beaumont said “We learnt a lot more about water and how there is a global problem. We made new friends and discovered a lot about teamwork. We learnt many skills that will be useful in later life such as negotiation, perseverance and collaboration.

Sarah Caleb, Education Coordinator at Affinity Water, said: “I am immensely proud of the work these students have done over the last five months. As well as collectively raising over £3,000 for WaterAid through their participation, they have come away with a better understanding of the importance of water both locally and globally and why and how we should save water.

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