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Media

WESSA Eco-Schools and Department of Water and Sanitation launch new water project

May 27, 2014
Category: Press Release

The Department of Water and Sanitation launched an exciting new water action project at a gala dinner held in Johannesburg last night.  The launch event formed part of the week-long Youth Summit on Water and Climate Change, an intensive education programme that addresses water, environmental issues and careers.  The summit is hosted by the department each year as one of their key activities for Youth Month.   

This new water action project, implemented by WESSA Eco-Schools, will transform the department’s existing school-level Baswa le Meetse (Youth in Water) Awards programme.  The Baswa le Meetse competition and awards is a Ministerial project that has been active since 2003 and which aims through the medium of Arts and Drama to recognise the role of young people in educating society about integrated water management, sanitation, health and hygiene related issues. 

The Department of Water and Sanitation WESSA Eco-Schools project will now add a new dimension to Baswa le Meetse so that this competition forms part of a water education programme that will encourage water conservation and the wise use of water resources. 

The new Department of Water and Sanitation and WESSA Eco-Schools Awards will be open to all registered Eco-Schools from grades R to 12. Participating schools will be required to set up a water action project that should aim to include the entire school and members of the local community, and the intention of the practice-based focus of the competition is to promote meaningful action and the application of sustainable practices. 

WESSA has previously been working with the Department in the achievement of their Vision 2020 Water Education Programme, and in 2013 the WESSA Eco-Schools Programme was selected by the Department to assist in deepening the learning and the implementation of sustainable practices around water at schools. The international Eco-Schools Programme itself has been implemented in the country by WESSA since 2003 and is funded nationally by Nampak and PetroSA.

The Awards project is another example of government and civil society organisations working together successfully in the education and environmental conservation fields.  Earlier this week Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation, Pamela Tshwete, joined WESSA Eco-Schools, the Fundisa Teacher Education Network and environmental consulting company GroundTruth, in participating in a water quality test at the Modderfontein Stream in Edenvale at the Ekurhuleni Municipality. The activity formed part of the practical component of the summit, where teachers were shown how to ‘teach water’ in the curriculum.  The Deputy Minister was keen to learn more about the miniSASS citizen science tool that is used to test water quality in rivers, and was eager to find out how this tool could empower communities to understand the health of their rivers and to identify whether the sources from which they draw water are compromised. 

Ends.

Image link and caption:

WESSA miniSASS1 – Anisa Khan from WESSA, Vukani Mtya from the Department of Water and Sanitation, Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation Pamela Tshwete and Vannessa Westcott from the British High Commission viewing the macroinvertebrates found in the stream


For more information please contact:

Anisa Khan - National Programme Manager - Capacity Development WESSA Eco-Schools Programme
Email ecoschools@wessa.co.za  Tel: 033 330 3931 Cell: 082 783 8430 Fax:  086 501 3974