Education Challenge: Kanpur

This week’s education challenge will focus on topics in the city of Kanpur. Challenge: Where is your T-shirt made? How is it made? What is it made of? Where does it go when you don’t want to use it anymore? Are there other alternatives? How can you influence (production, consumption, etc)   Teaching resources:   […]

Safe water made possible by

Feature Friday: “It’s about more than water” For 25 years, has challenged the traditional approach to assisting people in developing countries and paved the way for developing solutions for the water crisis. Their vision is “the day when everyone in the world can take a safe drink of water.” Fast facts: Globally, women and children […]

Feature Friday: Billions in Change

Billions in Change is creating innovative solutions to the world’s most basic problems- including the scarcity of fresh water. Rain Maker is their answer to the question, “But what if we could make more water?”

Learn more about Billions in Change here.

Lisa’s year

As the year goes on you wonder where the time went and what did you do with it?

My last 2 years has gone like a flash.  The best way to recap is when I close my eyes and I take snapshots of different scenes which strike me and have significance.  My snap shot looks like this:

  • My Marriage
  • My brothers Marriage
  • An Aviation Business
  • An Indigenous Water Monitoring Programme
  • Domestic Travel…and Travel…..and Travel
  • International Travel
  • Working far too much
  • Making not enough money
  • Then making enough money
  • House Renovations
  • Family Gatherings
  • Motorbikes (MX and Trail Rides)
  • Not enough snowboarding
  • Way too much water skiing
  • Not being organised
  • Then being obsessive compulsive organised
  • Fit and Unfit, then Unfit and Fit
  • Good people, old friends and new friends


What a year! And I do believe the best is yet to come, especially with the expedition to the Ganges on the horizon.  A highlight which aligns with the Expedition has been the Indigenous Water Monitoring programme over the past 12 months.  Working with Ngāti Turumakina (Sub- Tribe based on the southern shores of Lake Taupō, New Zealand), restoring their involvement and management of their environment. Here is a link to some more information  Focus of the programme has been to manage freshwater issues from a recreational perspective, a human use perspective and reinvigorating indigenous management systems over the environment.

We have worked hard to make it fun, informative but also an opportunity to raise the capability of the home people to be confident in their own indigenous knowledge whilst looking after the environment.  We were fortunate to have attendance from early childhood through to grandparents attending the workshops and sharing knowledge with each other.  More importantly the workshops highlighted  the value of what each person offers as individuals to their community and it is not about being an academic or an expert but passion and knowledge of how to care for what you have.

Water research - New Zealand

Hone Warena checking out the minnow traps set to research fish abundance and health, with Department of Conservation worker Michael Hill.

In collaboration with the local Department of Conservation we were able to exhibit ‘Electric Fishing’  to the tribe and for the first time there was evidence of an indigenous fish species seen in the water system.   For the older generation it was a positive sign of the health of the streams but also instilled a sense of protection and excitement to get more involved their own environmental programme.

From my own perspective education on freshwater is not only about the resource itself, but those traditional connections that the community have with that resource.  The most important part of the work we do is for the home people to be confident in who they are, their knowledge, beliefs and language.  Coupled with this is the fact their history and the essence of who they are is reflected in the land and resources around them.  A resource like water is not just a commodity for human use, but for Māori culture in New Zealand it helps tell the story of who we are and sustains life.  This is beautifully articulated in a Māori proverb:

Toi tu te kupu, toi tu te mana, toi tu te whenua

This proverb was spoken by Tinirau of Wanganui. It is a plead to hold fast to our culture, for without language, without mana (spirit), and without land, the essence of being a Maori would no longer exist, but be a skeleton which would not give justice to the full body of Maoritanga (maoridom).

To say the least I am proud to be who I am, amongst my people and humbled by their love for all around them.  It is a great connection with ‘Access Water -Your Expedition 2014’ and I am so excited to be bringing this element to the adventure ahead!!


Fiji in pristine water Mana Island.


Written by Lisa te Heuheu


Thor Heyerdahl – An Inspirator and Environmentalist

In 2014 is it 100 years since one of Ann and Liv´s great inspirators – Thor Heyerdahl was born. Heyerdahl is most know for his Kon-Tiki expedition in 1947. For Ann and Liv is it his following expeditions Ra I, Ra II and Tigris that has inspired them to combine expeditions with education. With the Ra-expeditions Heyerdahl discovered that the oceans were polluted with clumps of oil and reported to UN that took action. Surrounded by military airplanes and warships he put his ship Tigris on fire as a protest against inhuman elements in the the World of 1978. The letter he wrote to UN General Secretary Kurt Waldheim could be written today.

Thor Heyerdahl continued to speak up for our nature and on his expeditions Heyerdahl selected teams representing a great diversity in race, nationality, religion and political viewpoint in order to demonstrate that at least on their own little floating island, people could cooperate and live peacefully.

The Access Water Project is inspired by Thor Heyerdahl´s expeditions and his continously work for speak up for the oceans. He said that all kind of pollution will sooner or later end in the ocean.

Liv opened the Thor Heyerdahl Year with a lecture at The Caledonian University in Scotland.

“Boundaries? I have never seen one, but I hear they exist in the minds of most people.”

-Thor Heyerdahl

Further reading:


Ann & Liv meeting with Thor Heyerdahl before the 2000 crossing of Antarctica.

On meeting Nelson Mandela, by Kim Smith

I met Nelson Mandela in 2008. I was kim_mandela1awarded the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship and part of the scholarship entailed meeting our patron. What an honour it was to meet this superhuman! It was one of my childhood dreams to meet Nelson Mandela and there I sat in the same room as him, waiting for my turn to have my moment with him. When I met this superhuman, he looked as human as any other human I’d seen before. The superhuman could joke with us. The superhuman told us stories: meaningless anecdotes, but also valuable, bite-size lessons in some of his experiences. He never had the opportunities to education as we do today he would say, and so he encouraged us to take all the opportunities at our disposal. And when I placed my hand into the superhuman’s, I could not think of anything to say…so I just thanked him for the opportunity to further my studies.

That moment passed so quickly and I often think about what I could have rather said in those few precious moments but what that moment meant to me has had a profound, long lasting impact on my life. How could it not? In applying for the scholarship, scholars pledge to aspire to be ethical servant leaders, to advance human rights and human dignity, to work hard, to use our education and skills to build our local and global communities and to practice the values enshrined by Tata Madiba.

kim_mandela2Nelson Mandela once said: “Education is the most powerful weapon that you can use to change the world”. Nelson Mandela also once said: “Sport has the power to change the world…it has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair…” This is not something he said in a calculated instance of sophistry. This is something he truly lived and truly believed. What he said holds truth and this is what drives me.

The Access Water expedition encapsulates exactly this. The expedition harnesses the combining power of education and sport to drive change. I think of the expedition as my way of living up to the pledge I took almost six years ago. The scholarship equips young people with tools needed to address the challenges of the world, but also inspires us to go out and actually change the world. Having had the privilege to meet Tata Madiba, having had the privilege of being a Mandela Rhodes Scholar and having the privilege of being part of the expedition team, I have a profound appreciation for and sense of responsibility to effect change in my global environment.

Welcome to new team member Cindy

We want to formally welcome our newest team member who is stepping into Jing’s spot, Jiaojiao Hu.
Jiaojiao was born in a minority family in Yunnan province in Southwest of China. She studied German and French from 2011 to 2013, and achieved two master degrees in development economics in developing countries and emerging market and international project management. She then continued her studies at the China Universtiy of Goesciences in Beijing, China. She began to love outdoor sport at about 6 years ago and set up a mountaineering team at her university.

Welcome to our wonderful, dedicated team!  We all look forward to meeting as a complete team.

Warm regards,

Ann & Liv

The Water Challenge Badge

The “Water Challenge Badge” booklet are made to help teachers, scout leaders or students searching for help to educate children, young people or themselves about the crucial role water plays for life on our planet. Read more

Like finding a rainforest in the Sahara

Scientists have made a biological discovery in Arctic Ocean waters as dramatic and unexpected as finding a rainforest in the middle of a desert.

Read more

National Geographic: Dancing the Spirit Back

“After a decade-long drought, Aboriginal elders travel the length of Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin performing the Ringbalin—a pilgrimage designed to ‘dance’ the spirit back into the land and heal the rivers. And it appears to work”. National Geographic
Read more

Congratulations Jing!

On May 11, our famous Chinese mountain explorer Jing ascended the world’s fifth highest peak, Makalu– at 8481 m / 27,825 ft elevation.

In the past five years, Jing has successfully reached six of the world’s top level summits.

Click the picture below for a gallery from Jing’s trip

Dawn in the climbing     Photo: Wang Jing (snow quietly)

Nepal Mountaineering Asscn.

Jing behind three 8000 m peaks: Everest, Lhotse, Makalu

Prayer Flags Photo: Wang Jing

Overlooking dawn

You can also follow Jing on Sina Microblogging (in Chinese).

Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara

Each year, an extraordinary woman is chosen to be the keynote speaker at the One Hundred Committee Scholarship Luncheon to benefit Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara.

Liv Arnesen is the choice for this year’s event on May 31 at the home and gardens of Ginni and Chad Dreier.

Liv was first introduced to the area as a guest of Santa Barbara residents Bill and Sandi Nicholson, after meeting them on an expedition to Antarctica in 2010. In 2011, Liv spoke about her adventures to a group of girls in the Greater Santa Barbara Girls Inc.

Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara is one of approximately one hundred Girls Inc. affiliates in the US and Canada dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. Programs for girls ages 4 ½ to 18 years old focus on science, math, and technology; economic and financial literacy; athletics; health and sexuality; culture and heritage; leadership and advocacy; and media literacy.

Ann Bancroft: Encourage Her Courage

My first adventures were simple ones. We lived in a rural setting, so I’d just escape out the back door. There was plenty of space around, so every day was a great adventure. In fact, those early explorations were the bedrock for fortifying my dreams. They allowed me to play-act, and more practically, to learn outdoor skills such as sleeping outside in the winter.

One of the things about people my age when we were girls was that you had to be pretty resourceful within yourself and with your siblings; there weren’t so many planned activities. It was a great environment for me to develop my imagination. I could pretend I was on real Arctic expeditions.

Books also inspired me. My mother would find adventure books for me. She tried to find books with female figures; girls doing things outdoors (although I was never hindered by reading about boys, either). They had more opportunities, it seemed, but it was the adventure part that stimulated me. My mom also found me books about animals, and those particularly have stayed with me. She noticed which books made my eyes light up.

A book that inspired me when I was 12 was an adult book called Endurance by Alfred Lansing about the Shackleton expedition. I found it on my parents’ bookshelf. It also had tremendous pictures, and since I was a crummy reader—dyslexic, painfully slow—I pored over these black-and-white photos in the middle of the book. I wanted everything in them—the adventure, the camaraderie, the dog teams. The whole thing resonated with me.

You can read the rest of Ann’s featured guest article on


International Women’s Day

The team at Bancroft Arnesen Explore is passionate about inspiring women and girls to follow their dreams. We congratulate women worldwide on following and achieving their dreams.

International Women’s Day (8 March) is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. In some places like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, International Women’s Day is a national holiday. Visit to read and explore further.

When: Tuesday 8 March 2011

Where: Everywhere

Why: Suffragettes campaigned for women’s right to vote. The word ‘Suffragette’ is derived from the word “suffrage” meaning the right to vote. International Women’s Day honours the work of the Suffragettes, celebrates women’s success, and reminds of inequities still to be redressed. The first International Women’s Day event was run in 1911. 2011 is the Global Centenary Year.

New offices in Oslo

This week, the Liv Arnesen Foundation moved offices, courtesy of its new partner, The Norwegian Guide and Scout Association. The Norwegian Guide and Scout Association is an ideal organisation based on teaching children, youth and adults the fundamentals of responsibility taking, accepting challenges, new experiences and personal development. This aligns perfectly to the mission and vision of Liv and Ann. In 2011, The Norwegian Guide and Scout Association celebrates its 100th anniversary.

Dayton Daily News

An interview with Ann in the Dayton Daily News by former CNN anchor and news reporter Daryn Kagan.

You can read the whole article by accessing this link: “Antarctic skiers offer lesson in ways to keep positive attitude”

Support Girls on Ice

Girls on Ice is a unique, FREE, wilderness science education program for high school girls. Each year a team of 9 teenage girls and 3 instructors spend 11 days exploring and learning about mountain glaciers and alpine landscapes through scientific field studies with professional glaciologists and mountaineers.

The 2011 Expedition will take place July 25 to August 4, 2010 on Mount Baker, Washington State. All girls age 15-18 are eligible to apply.

Please visit (applications are due February 15, 2011)
This program is provided TUITION FREE to the girls through small
grants and gifts from individuals and support from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Please consider supporting the program, visit:

For more information, please visit:

Questions? Please send an email to

Customer Driven Project – NTNU

Last Thursday marked the end of this autumn’s collaborative work with a group of students at the NTNU Department of Computer and Information Science. The aim was to give students practical experience in carrying out all phases of a large customer driven IS/IT project, and the group was tasked with creating a prototype for a LMS/CMS system for use in the Bancroft Arnesen Education Programme. Thank you for your efforts and good luck in your future studies.

From Partners

Ann & Liv in New York

As luminaries of the WINGS Polar, Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen have been invited to share their experiences in the Antarctic in a special presentation at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. The event is part of an ongoing exhibition chronicling the 1911 – 1912 quest for the South Pole. The exhibition is titled “Race to the End of the Earth”.

Ann and Liv will be in New York from the 20th through the 24th of September, rallying support for the new expedition, Access Water. Please get in touch if you believe you can be of help in our quest for partners and sponsors.

Taupo Times: Women Trek to the Pole

WOMEN TREK TO POLE (Taupo Times, Friday August 27, 2010)

You know you are part of something big when Uma Thurman is an ambassador and Unesco is a patron for the project.

Turangi woman Lisa Kanawa has been chosen as the Oceania representative on an all-female expedition with the project called Global Classroom 2011. In commemoration of polar explorers a group of six women from all over the world will retrace the footsteps of pioneer Roald Amundsen to the South Pole, 100 years after his arrival.

Read more

Lisa at the Tough Gal 2010

On the 18th July myself and a few friends in New Zealand challenged ourselves to do the Waikato Draught Tough Guy and Gal Challenge. The event was for the first time held at Linton Army Camp about 3 hours south of where I live in Turangi, New Zealand.

The events are open to both male and female competitors who are 13 years of age and older. The course is 12km that includes swamp crossings, a spiders web net climb, crawl under barb wire, beautiful native bush trails, a range of natural and man made obstacles, mud and more mud. As you can see from the photos there was no shortage of mud and fun!!

I am doing all sorts of events in New Zealand as part of my training for the expedition to Antarctica, next on the list is an off-road half marathon in Taupo, New Zealand, so keep an eye on the blog more photos and stories to come!


New partner: UNESCO

We are proud to announce the patronage of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, for our 2011 Antarctica expedition.

In commemoration of Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen, Bancroft Arnesen Explore will retrace the footsteps of pioneer Roald Amundsen to the South Pole, 100 years after his arrival. Water – access to fresh water – is our planet’s hidden crisis, and the educational theme of the expedition. Explorers Anne Bancroft and Liv Arnesen will take on this crisis in their latest adventure, leading an all-woman team that represents the key water challenges on each continent. Their journey will be the centerpiece of a global awareness and outreach program that will spur us all to join hands in solving our global water crisis.

Kim visits Norway

My journey to Norway began on Tuesday, 23 February. I was excited. I was anxious. I did not know what to expect. I knew I would be the youngest and most inexperienced team member. But I enjoy being in a different country, meeting new people and experiencing new cultures. So I quickly forgot about the anxieties and I reminded myself that this would be another leg of my life journey. I thought of the adventure. I was going to ski for the first time!

Read more

Bancroft Arnesen travel in the footsteps of Amundsen

Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first man to reach the South Pole with an international expedition of women. Both will return to Antarctica in 2011, compelled by global challenges and the access they have to millions of schoolchildren around the world thanks to past expeditions. Commemorating Roald Amundsen’s discovery of the South Pole, and again utilizing an expedition to gain world attention, Bancroft Arnesen Explore will host an international team of women to the South Pole, one from each continent. They believe Antarctica, a continent of peace, cooperation and science – owned by no one government – is the perfect place to stage an expedition focused on making the world a better place through collaboration and peaceful cooperation. An international team of six women will embark on a 870-mi./1400 km expedition from the Bay of Whales in the Ross Sea to the Geographic South Pole beginning October 2011. The collaboration between the explorers and their native countries will provide a platform for millions of children around the globe to follow the 100-day expedition and learn that they have a voice in their community and in the world to create positive change. The team will depart from Christchurch, New Zealand in October, reach the South Pole by January 2012 and be flown to the coast. They will then travel back to New Zealand by air. One woman from each continent will participate on the ski expedition while one other woman from each continent will be a back up and part of the team in her native country and the public relations spokesperson there. Liv and Ann are currently looking for partners and sponsors.