HSBC’s UK office was buzzing yesterday with the excitement of 180 Water Explorers from around the globe, who had all come to London to discover if they might be the next International Water Explorer champions.

Water Explorer is Global Action Plan's school and youth-group based environmental education project, supported by the HSBC Water Programme. It aims to highlight the importance of water conservation on a global level.

Joined by their families, the children came from as far as Bermuda and South Africa to show their enthusiasm and support for our Water Explorer programme. The long journey and jet lag did not dampen the spirits and energy of the children, who sang songs, drew pictures and enjoyed the many activities on hand. In true Water Explorer style, language barriers were side-stepped as children made friends and shared experiences with their international peers.

Time and time again, the schools recounted how they had used Water Explorer to reach out to their community. Our Spanish Water Explorers and their families made up the biggest number of attendees from one country, with 50 people coming to the event. Tellingly, they said that absenteeism at their school had tumbled from 25% to 0% as children and parents alike get involved in integrating Water Explorer into their community.

The Water Explorer values were evident from all finalists with tales of fund-raising as the children sought to help others, installing recycling centres to better care for the environment and taking practical actions to reduce their own water footprint.

Joining our International Water Explorer Celebration Event were the winning national teams from:

  • Turkey
  • Ireland
  • France
  • Spain
  • Italy 
  • South Africa
  • UK
  • Germany
  • Bermuda
  • Poland

The competition was fierce but Turkey took the Champions award. Judges from HSBC, WaterAid and Global Action Plan were particularly impressed with their work with local farmers to reduce pesticide use. By shooting a short film called “Say no to chemicals in agriculture”, promoting it and generating great media coverage, they persuaded farmers to commit to restricting their chemical consumption in agriculture.

There were plenty of other awards to go round as well: France’s team were awarded the Community Impact Award, Italy earned the Values Award, South Africa received the Water Savings Award, and the Spanish team deserved a special mention for rallying together and showing such fantastic support for their Explorers.

Water Explorer, now in its third year, is going from strength to strength. The efforts of the children this year has taken the programme to the dizzy heights of 1.7million m3 of water saved and, by spreading the word, the programme has engaged over 400,000 people.

Judge Sonja Graham, Senior Partner at Global Action Plan said: “With climate change disrupting our weather patterns and a rapidly growing number of people in our world, there is a lot of pressure on crucial resources.

We’re proud that our Water Explorers are embodying the values set out in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals - showing effort, passion and innovation to make the planet more sustainable. By saving millions of litres of water, protecting local lakes and rivers, and making every drop count, our Water Explorers are creating a movement of future leaders who take practical action to transform our world.”

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