Curtain falls on EMPOWER 2013 with focus on water cooperation | Press Releases

Curtain falls on EMPOWER 2013 with focus on water cooperation
30 March 2013

Curtains were drawn on yet another successful edition of Empower Youth Conference with future youth leaders converging at the Qatar National Convention Center for the end of three days of the conference, sponsored by Msheireb Properties.

Demonstrating ROTA's commitment to supporting United NationInternational Year of Water Cooperation, 400 delegates from Qatar, Gulf Countries, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, UK attending the EMPOWER 2013 Youth Conference participated in a series of half-day service learning activities with a mix for sports and environmental activities on the third and final day of Qatar's largest annual youth gathering.

Over the course of three days, 400 youth took part in various activity-packed program of community project visits, interactive reflection session and Closing Ceremony celebration.

"For the fifth year in succession, EMPOWER has given hundreds of young people the skills, knowledge and confidence to take leadership roles in addressing local and international issues of concern to them, especially in the areas of Sustainable Development and Sports," said ROTA Executive Director Mr. Essa Al Mannai.

Kicking off the final day of EMPOWER 2013, delegates grabbed the opportunity to participate in one of nine half-day, servicing learning activities .

Emphasizing the key themes of EMPOWER 2013, the activities were connected to sports development and in support of United NationInternational Year of Water Cooperation.

After completing the  activity sessions, EMPOWER delegates expressed their thoughts and experiences in an artistic reflective learning session followed by , a series of cultural performances and an amazing youth-led Closing Ceremony.

Reflecting the passion youth delegates possess for tackling global environmental issues, delegates took part in a seminar on ‘Action Campaigns – Water Cooperation.’

The seminar gave an  introduction of what the UN International Year of Water Cooperation means and how it relates  to EMPOWER 2013 conference. During the seminar, delegates were briefed about some current and relevant examples (both from a regional perspective as well as a global scale.)

The seminar had the involvement of the Earth Charter and how it was  related to the conference and water conservation/cooperation, but most importantly to develop and taking action on the youth’s campaign projects/activities.

On day one of the conference, both the ROTA Youth Planning Committee and ROTA Youth Advisory Board announced the start of three days of exciting activities.

Similarly, delegates had the opportunity to attend a presentation by Msheireb Properties on Water Sensitive Urban Design . The presentation was done by Bassam Eisa Al Mannai discussed the essential steps taken by Msheireb Properties to develop a sustainable project with a focus on water. Participants were able to understand the driving vision behind Msheireb Down Town Doha and had a detailed understanding of what can be done from a master planning point of view as well as a technical one.

“This is our event; this is our time!” said Mohamed Al Hashemi ROTA Youth Advisory Board Member, who advocated a shift to more service learning in mainstream education. “EMPOWER was a fantastic chance for me to employee my capabilities to bring together   other young people who are making great contributions to solve the challenges facing our communities.”

On days two and three, delegates had the opportunity to participate in several workshops and seminars.About 50 EMPOWER delegates as a part of their public engagement activity on ‘RAISING WATER AWARENESS campaign, visited the Landmark Mall where they conducted survey, engaged with members of the public and recorded their responses.

Meanwhile, another 35 youth participants who had an interest in the protection of Qatar’s coastal environment and who don’t mind being outside in the element,  the opportunity to travel to Al Shamal Municipality to learn about and witness first-hand efforts of the local authorities to conserve the mangroves on this stretch of coastline.

In yet another site visit, about 50 participants, visited the Al Sulaiteen Agricultural & Industrial Complex on the outskirts of Doha and  was surprised to see commercial farming in Qatar. During the visit, the delegates were given a guided tour of the farm and a lecture about how water is conserved and efficiency is maximized to make the best of limited resources.

Meanwhile, delegates indulged in some fun activity and played various  Japanese traditional games with various children admitted in the HMC Children’s Wing.  Games included  Ayatori, the string game to create various shapes, origami, the paper artwork, and other famous Japanese games

Right To Play is a world leading NGO that focuses on Sport for Development. Delegates were taken to the Table Tennis Federation where they  met the Right To Play Trainers.  Participants in this event were offered a fun-filled activity that involved taking part in a variety of sporting activities that demonstrated the link with different topics such as life skills, integrated learning and health and the environment.

Other activities that the delegates were involved in included visit to  ROTA where they worked together to design a graffiti piece for the ROTA wall. Similarly, delegates travelled to City Center Mall for a campaign focused on water conservation.

One of the undoubted success stories to come out of EMPOWER 2012 was the participation of youths from neighboring GCC countries as well from the United Kingdom, proving beyond doubt EMPOWER's ability to present a platform for youth from different countries to successfully network and share ideas.

"There is a direct link between the wellbeing of youth and the social and economic progress of a country. We are proud that Qatar takes its responsibilities for the education and personal development of youth seriously and I hope ROTA continues to make investing in young people a priority",explained Essa Al Mannai.

"We're thrilled with the success of EMPOWER 2013, now an internationally recognized youth conference that shares Reach Out To Asia's values in recognizing youth as agents of change and the leaders of tomorrow."

“For the fifth year in a row EMPOWER advanced the youth and development agenda in Qatar, putting young people in the lead to ensure they take part in decisions about their future, speak out about important topics and take action to help achieve the social goals of Qatar Development,”says Mohammed Saleh, ROTA National Program Manager .

EMPOWER has gained a reputation for in being the first youth led conference in Qatar to focus on equipping young people to take active roles in building your communities and having a voice on global issues.

For news, photos and information about EMPOWER 2013, visit www.reachouttoasia.org or the ROTA Facebook page at www.facebook.com/reachouttoasia