ArtSci Competition Winners

What do art, water and science have in common? They are all connected in one purpose: human development.

The YouKnoW! platform launched its first Art+Science competition during the months of February and March. The YouKnoW! team wanted to celebrate World Water Day 2019 with art. The ArtSci competition organized by the YouKnoW platform was aimed to encourage youth to advocate for a water secure world through art.

World Water Day 2019 theme has been “Leave no one behind”. Thus, raising awareness about water issues and water practices that tackle them has been the contribution of the ArtSci competition to the world cause.

We want to congratulate everyone who has submitted amazing pictures and artwork to celebrate together this World Water Day and particularly the winners: Abhin and Sonsoles.

The 2019 ArtSciers

Category of Photography:

“Ganesh Chaturthi” by Abhin Shahare with 603 public votes.

“Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with a lot of faith and devotion for 10 days in Mumbai and the idols “dumped” into sea! a chain of pollution and environmental degradation! This picture depicts faith and environment at crossroads! religion rituals”

Abbin portfolio’s can be found visiting the following link:

Category of ArtWork:

“Blue, 2019 – Acrylic on Canvas -50cm x 50 cm” by Sonsoles Masiá with 727 public votes.

Sonsoles’ portfolio can be found visiting the following link:

The Water Youth Network aspires to a world where young people work together to become agents of change and ultimately improve the world’s water situation. The YouKnoW! team connects worldwide youth-projects on water and is happy of have been able to host this art contest following the Water Youth Network vision.

Challenges to communicate water topics? Learn from Ame o Tucunduba!

Through the effort and passion of young women Ame o Tucunduba was born as an organization in 2016.  We do educational practices aimed at youth, to increase the participatory management of the Tucunduba river basin.

We believe that young people can and should be a protagonist of the change of their reality. We can’t wait for the government or someone else to settle down all the problems. Especially when we are talking about rough areas, which are the places that suffer more with the lack of basic sanitation and flooding in the rainy season.

So, today we are formed by eight women, from different areas of knowledge and we have three projects:

–        Faça Você Mesmo (Do It Yourself) urban intervention;

–        Fala Tucunduba (Speak Tucunduba) a 3-month formation course, that aims to increase the youth participation on the management of the water resources;

–        Expedição Tucunduba (Tucunduba Expedition) a technical visit along the course of the river, to recognize its extension and its peculiarities;

But not everything was as easy as everyone thinks…

Our first challenge was to gain space in the community by talking about urban rivers. It is difficult to access information on this topic, and when people talk about it, it happens in a technical and academic language. So, from the beginning of our organization, we decided to communicate in a simple, didactic and accessible approach.  I think the main challenge that we face today is to change people’s perspective on the city’s rivers. The majority of people see these spaces only as sewer drainage and not as the natural environment around us.

The urban rivers of Belém, especially the Tucunduba River, are living and dynamic rivers and should be considered in this way. At least, this is the way in which we would like to see this river in the planning of public sanitation policies in the city.

This story was written by Micaela Valentim, a young 22 year old oceanographer who co-founded the organization Ame o Tucunduba.


Youth look to the future in Albania

From total oppression to student organizing international conferences in one generation:

How Albania youth are more international than ever.

By: Hector Nava (

In the small and not so well-known country of Albania, engineering students pulled off a remarkable feat: organizing a 4-day international conference by themselves with no budget. Spoiler alert: they did it and even with room for parties, workshops and a field visit to the beach.

This accomplishment is remarkable in any circumstance but even more impressive considering the countries recent history. One generation ago, in other words, the parents of the students lived in a completely different world.

At their age, none had left the country or spoke any foreign languages. Even to neighboring countries such as Greece or Italy which were impossible to reach since the penalty for trying to cross the border was simple and brutal: death. The border police were authorized to shoot on spot any  ‘detractor’ trying to escape the communist regime.

The only option was to stay in the country and follow the oppressive communist regime, but the liberties and freedom of choice were not great either. Dajana Disha, a promising Environmental Engineer student and a key organizer of the conference, told the story about how her dad wanted to become a doctor but the communist party decided that the village required a farmer and agronomist, sealing his fate to work on the fields.  Dajana’s college experience could not be more contrasting: she as most of the students speaks English, understands Italian and has international projects and ambitions. Dajana did an Erasmus study abroad program that helped her broaden her perspective. Now she along with other proactive students organized, fundraised and delivered a full conference.

Dajana might not have realized just yet but she has learned a valuable lesson, one that cannot be learned inside a classroom. Engineering is only a part of the puzzle — conveying ideas, organizing and getting clients and fundings are as important.

To quote Enrik Shehu, a Civil Engineering student and key conference organizer: “This is the first time that the engineering student takes up a challenge of this magnitude. We have to convince and sign in sponsors to get the funds, fly in keynote speakers and manage the full 4 day program. I sent like 1,000 emails to companies to seek sponsors, the last ones confirm just days before. They were crazy but exciting times.  In the end, we put a great conference and we are able to solve behind the curtain all changes and cancellations to deliver in time (and on) budget.”

The conference first day was held in the top floor of Albania’s tallest building giving great views of the city and surrounding valley. The conference was a success and the student did it their way, planning all night parties along engineering technical presentations and workshops. The Youth from Albania show us what is possible given the right drive and opportunities, a glance of this small country’s great future.

The students also produced a professional-looking video with drone aerial shots. Please watch the video here to see what is the outcome when the Youth is empowered.

It was an honor for Water Youth Network to participate and promote youth-led events in engineering and water.

The Magic of a water pump


“I had to go every morning and fetch water before going to school…”

That is what Leticia, Eleventh grade student at ‘’College Aquaben” a school located in Libreville town, Gabon, told us and went on “…My parents noticed that it was affecting my education, and I had to stop doing that and instead my parents took charge of it”.

It was 31st October and our Water Youth Network colleagues Younoussa and Ntsika visited this school where around 21 out of the 50 present students face difficulties to access water. The visit was not casual, it happened, because African Water Week took place from 29th October to 2nd November and our members visited this town to participate at a workshop in the college along with our partners from GWP.

There Younoussa had the chance to speak with Leticia who also told him: ‘’It was one of the elected deputies in my community who took the initiative to build two water pumps (modern borehole). Now they only pay for its maintenance, which is minimal and a low cost so everyone is able to afford. Because of this, my parents and I don’t need to wake up early to go and fetch water.  We can now focus more on our daily activities’’. However, this issue does not only affect Leticia but it is also impacts almost a half of the students from that class who are not connected to the country’s water distribution due to their parents’ lack of financial means to cover the cost of that.

Although there is a lot to be done in Libreville to foster access to water for everyone, Leticia deeply believes that education is key to solving water problems as she emphasized: “I am working hard in school now so that my children and family don’t have to face the same situation”. It is that motivation that has led her to become the first student to join the ‘’Environment Club” in her school and said she will focus her university education in the water-related domain as well. 

Younoussa was so amazed by the exchanges they had, the motivation of students to know more about water and especially their eagerness to share their daily challenges. But the most brilliant side of this story is that by the end of the session, eleven students went straight to register in the school’s environment club and requested our supervision, something our members promise to follow up. As this project was initiated by the youth organization RECOJAC the Water Youth Network will work together with them. And who knows – you’ll probably find more information on RECOJAC in the YouKnoW! Organisations section soon.

Keep posted, because YouKnoW has many stories to share!

The students of Leticia’s class with Younoussa, Ntsika and GWP