When the students from Al-Amal School entered the NXplorers Change Competition, they couldn’t have known how far their idea would take them. Not only would their project change the face of their local community and surrounding environment, but it would also see them jetting off to a different continent for the trip of a lifetime.
The competition, which was open to NXplorers students across Oman, challenged entrants to bring about change in their communities and solve issues surrounding the food-water-energy nexus. Project entries were judged on their creative ideas, clear planning, and impact on the local community and environment. The challenge was tackled in many interesting and innovative ways by teams of students from all over the country. However, it was the girls from Al-Amal School who really caught the judge’s eye.
Their project was based around an awareness campaign that focused on the importance of reducing plastic waste and the damage that discarded plastic can have when it is disposed of improperly, whether via backfilling, landfills or incineration. The girls from Al-Amal could see that plastic waste was becoming a bigger issue in their community and knew that someone had to take action.
So, they began working; they contacted companies who processed plastic waste for recycling and linked them with schools in their neighbourhood. Recycling containers were put in the corridors of schools. Schools hosted exhibitions explaining the importance of plastic waste reduction and recycling. And soon, students from many different schools were all championing the idea to reduce, reuse and recycle their plastic. The project’s impact on the community was immediately evident and especially impressive, and this is what won them the NXplorers Change Competition.
A few short weeks later and the team were on their way to London to meet up with Shell executives and to be given a five-day guided tour around the city’s biggest and best sites. They were also given cameras and encouraged to take photographs of the places they visited, including Tottenham Court Road, the Science Museum, and the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. With so many things to do, places to see and people to meet, it was a hectic five days for the students. Despite this, they all felt sad to be leaving and getting back on the plane home was an emotional experience, both for the students and for the Shell representatives who had gotten to know them during their trip.
The NXplorers programme is all about making a positive difference in the world, and the students from Al-Amal School in Oman embodied this fully. We here at Shell are so glad that we were able to reward them for their hard work, and we are constantly on the look out for the next world-changing NXplorers project!