Pontifical organization Scholas Occurrentes, founded by Pope Francis to build the “Culture of Encounter” and active in 190 countries, has launched the “Year of the Water” to be marked by activities and events in all continents to encourage finding solutions to water challenges.
The first event in this spirit was organized together with Israeli innovation and project management company Maof and universities from Latin America and the Caribbean. It was held online in late April and attended by more than 400 people from 28 countries including four prominent Israeli companies that provide solutions to water challenges: Metzer, Aqua HD, LED-UV and Contel.
The Israelis and other participants presented research innovations in the field as well as water challenges in the region. Also speaking at the event was Giora Shaham, Chairman of the Water Authority in Israel, Hila Cohen Mizrav, in charge of water innovation at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Israeli Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Daniel Biran Bayor.
The event has already led to promising connections between academics and the private and public sector, and is expected to initiate new projects in Latin America with the participation of leading international companies in the water field.
The president of Scholas, Prof. Jose Maria del Coral, announced at the event that Scholas will hold throughout the year educational programs with young people from all over the world that focus on water issues, where they might propose solutions to tackle them in their communities. He offered to work on solving water challenges in a combined scientific, cultural, political and economic way, and added, ”I am happy about the connections that Maof is making between the representatives of countries suffering from poor water treatment and supply, and Israeli companies that have advanced solutions to the issue.”
Maof provides water and waste management services, oversees the planning and execution of environmental projects, and develops innovative technologies for waste treatment, especially those that turn waste from a hazard into a resource, while building sustainable business models.
Ygdal Ach, CEO of Maof, commented: “Our unique ties with universities in Latin America that are a beacon of stability and advanced knowledge, create opportunities for international companies to offer their solutions to these universities and significantly reduce entry barriers for operation in the Latin American market.”
Earlier this year, Maof signed a cooperation agreement with Scholas Occurrentes and the worldwide network of Scholas university chairs to plan and carry out environmental projects, which also have social and economic impact. These projects will promote sustainability and decent living conditions for populations whose living conditions have been harmed due to environmental threats, while sharing knowledge between countries and organizations.
Among the projects:
- Green technology parks with facilities for energy production from renewable sources, waste treatment and wastewater treatment, which will help prevent pollution, improve the living conditions of the residents and encourage economic growth and the creation of new jobs.
- International centers for sharing knowledge on environmental issues that will connect universities, organizations, government authorities and small and medium-sized companies.
- Establishment of an accelerator program for startups that offer problem solving in the fields of environmental protection.
The meeting was one of the steps that Maof is taking to connect the innovative Israeli ecosystem that develops water solutions in countries and regions where there is a need for them, with the support of Scholas Occurrentes.