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Waste warriors have a kiloton of fun at Schools Recycling Awards

More than 1 000 tonnes of waste has dodged the dump this year thanks to the Schools Recycling Programme of Coca-Cola Beverages SA – a landfill-saving 300 tonnes more than was collected by participating schools in 2016.

Along the way, learners created everything from skipping ropes, abacus counters, backpacks and stationery holders to musical instruments – all from junk.

Guests were treated to a musical performance on a violin made of tin, while a living plant wall made from recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) adorned the venue.

Just under 600 schools took part, involving half a million learners in an initiative that earns revenue for the schools while instilling the values of environmental stewardship in the youngsters who, in turn, spread the message at home and in their communities.

“Our ideal is to nurture a generation of environmental champions to create a permanent shift in the way we deal with waste as a society,” said CCBSA MD Velaphi Ratshefola.

The top three primary and high schools in the country were unveiled at a festive awards ceremony on Wednesday at The Sheds in Alexander Street, Johannesburg, where guests were treated to performances by SA’s Got Talent finalists Paint Addiction, among others.

In the primary school competition, the first prize of R50 000 went to Ekuthuleni Primary School, Kwa-Mashu in Durban, the 2ndprize of R30 000 to Siphosethu Primary School, also from Kwa-Mashu, Durban and third prize of R20 000 to Motjibosane Primary School from Hammanskraal.

In the high school competition, the first prize of R50 000 went to Motherwell High School in Port Elizabeth, the 2nd prize of R30 000 to V.M. Kwinana Secondary School, Port Elizabeth and third prize of R20 000 to Tlhatlogang Secondary School in Mofolo, Soweto.

All the prize money will be used to upgrade the schools’ infrastructure, meaning the schools recycling class of 2017 have left a lasting legacy for future generations to enjoy.

Director for General Waste Minimisation in the Department of Environmental Affairs, Mr Dumisani Buthelezi, said: “We need big corporates to take responsibility for the collection of their post-consumer waste and that’s exactly what Coca-Cola Beverages SA is doing with its Schools Recycling Programme.

“At the same time, these learners are developing their critical thinking skills in a practical exercise that challenges them to combine development objectives with environmental stewardship. It’s wonderful to see such commitment from these youngsters.”

The winning schools were selected from those that collected more than 2 tonnes of waste a month for the duration of the competition, and were judged not only on the volume of waste collected, but also their involvement of parents and communities in the process.

The programme exceeded its target of 820 tonnes of waste collected by 40%, with the total haul for the year of 1 146 tonnes breaking all previous records.

Close to R15 million has been invested in the Schools Recycling Programme since its inception six years ago, more than 60 young people have been employed as Recycling Representatives and 134 collectors have been trained and supported.

This year’s awards and prizes, which included the 8 Tonne Challenge, were valued at over R1 million in total.

For the first time, Waste Collector Recognition Awards were formalised in 2017 to call attention to the loyalty and service of partner collectors and businesses.

As part of CCBSA’s Enterprise Development Programme, collectors were given professional help to develop their businesses and become more sustainable in the long run.

Jeppe Park Primary becomes living laboratory for green schools

Earlier this year, the first Streetlight School opened in Johannesburg, South Africa. The project has been registered for a four-star Green Star SA Interiors rating with the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) by sustainability specialists, Solid Green Consulting.
Streetlight Schools is a low-cost primary school model that focuses on enquiry, collaboration, exploration, relevance and the use of technology to teach and learn. The approach aims to empower learners to master core skills and develop curiosity through collaborative learning, technology-enabled classes, project-based learning and instruction.
The site for the school, Jeppe Park Primary, is in the heart of Johannesburg’s inner city, within walking distance of Jeppe Station and directly opposite Jeppe Park. The school forms part of a mixed use, but primarily residential, development in an existing multi-storey building owned by Bjala, a social enterprise that applies innovative solutions and unique approaches to urbanisation challenges.

Bold and innovative

Started in October 2013 as an after-school programme, it has evolved over two years into a fully-fledged school for 45 children, with plans to eventually accommodate 200 learners. Melanie Smuts, CEO and founder of Streetlight Schools, says, “I started Streetlight Schools to demonstrate that we have all the resources available to create a high-quality, innovative education system in some of our most under-served communities. And we can do so by being bold and innovative about how we think about what we need in education, from curriculum to facilities.

“The pursuit of green building certification was born out of the fact that we were already incorporating many principles of sustainability in the school’s interior fit out; and it allowed us to include many more initiatives into the design, particularly around improving the indoor environmental quality to create a better learning environment. Most importantly, the school will be a living laboratory that allows learners to be introduced to environmental concepts at an early stage in their lives.”

Design philosophy

The location of the school at ground floor level, adjacent to an open-air courtyard, provides both passive and active surveillance for a safer learning environment in one of the city’s most underprivileged neighbourhoods. The goal was to develop an interactive learning environment by creating spaces that would enhance the Streetlight school curriculum, with an adaptive low cost built form merged with the requirements of a high technology learning model. The result is a multi-functional learning centre that implements green construction practices as far as possible.

Fieldworks Design Group has been working closely with Streetlight Schools from the start, from designing the spatial master plan and detailed elements, to physically building the first computer lab, to handling the graphic design and signage manufacturing. Albert Smuts, project architect, says, “Being involved from an early stage was key to creating a space radical enough to host a learning model as progressive as this one; and it enabled us to deliver a product that was both cost effective and architecturally interesting.

“One of our design philosophies is ‘low material, high technology solutions’, meaning that the energy spent on a project should always be focused on finding innovative ways of using readily available, environmentally friendly or recycled materials in a way that minimises wastage.”

Collaboration and contribution

To date, the entire spend on the 1,200m2 project stands at about R1,5m. This has largely been made possible through donations of funds and materials; and the pro-active collaboration of consultants in providing pro bono professional services.

Solid Green Consulting became active in the early stages of the project by contributing their expertise to have the school Green Star SA rated; leveraging their network of suppliers for donations of materials; and by donating financially. Warren Gray, partner at Solid Green, says that the intention is for the company to continue its involvement in the initiative as the model is replicated and rolled out.

“Jeppe Park Primary is the first school in South Africa to apply for a Green Star SA rating,” he says. “Because of this vision, the innovative educational model, and the fact that the school will be a living laboratory for green education and construction in the same space, people have been very willing to donate materials and professional expertise.”

Material donations include reclaimed carpet flooring that was originally made from old fishnets; low-VOC paint; reclaimed tiles; and reclaimed insulation material (produced from recycled plastic fibre) for thermal and acoustic application throughout the build.

Sustainability in practice

Several innovative measures, employed because of the extremely low budget, contributed towards the Green Star SA rating, and significant cost savings were achieved by ensuring that the design was inherently materials-efficient. This included using dry-wall offcuts, recycled wooden pallets and reclaimed wooden flooring in the library construction; bricks and rubble from the demolition of existing internal structures to build a new entrance ramp and stairs; re-using broken and half bricks as paving; and using reclaimed corrugated sheeting as ceilings in the bathroom stalls. All new OSB boards in the atrium construction were placed to minimise offcut waste to almost 0%, and all timber support beams fit at standard length to reduce wastage to almost 0%.

As the school is located in Jeppe, which is an area with much recycling activity, most of the materials could be sourced locally within 200m of the site. In addition, one third of the total construction team that contributed to the build lives and works within the surrounding area.

Sustainability services provided by Solid Green relate primarily to indoor environmental quality, including lighting comfort (daylighting enhanced by efficient artificial lighting design), thermal comfort and acoustics. The team also compiled an environmental management plan (EMP) and waste management plan (WMP) for the construction phase confirming the reuse or recycling of 70% of construction and demolition waste.

Energy and water reduction

Energy reductions have been achieved by using low energy use fittings and Energy Star equipment, together with the metering of all major energy sources; and water reduction has been realised with low flow fittings and the metering of all major water fittings.

Nature forms a holistic part of the everyday life at the school. As well as indoor planting and a courtyard with recycled palette planters, the school has started growing vegetables to supplement the children’s lunches.

In addition to the future roll out of more Streetlight Schools, the vision for this particular site is that the Africa School of Excellence Senior School will move in next to the primary school in 2017, and that it will follow the same model of green construction practices.

“It’s been fantastic to work with the Streetlight staff, professional team and donors on this project – people who are dedicated to making a real difference through their commitment to quality education for all,” Gray concludes. “It’s also been a tremendous learning experience in terms of getting things done with few resources on the tightest of budgets. We’re looking forward to being involved with the vision and roll out of future Streetlight Schools in South Africa.”

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Learners transform trash into usable products

COMMITMENT was the value of the week, and surely the children of Kings College in Tokyo Sexwale, Jeffreys Bay were committed to their recycling project.

Classes of all grades had to develop a product out of recycled materials that could be marketable and profitable.

The projects included candle holders, lanterns, placemats, dollhouses, flower crafts, an organiser, a thermometer and even a broom made out of 18 plastic cool drink bottles. The ultimate winner was the Grade 1 class with a herb garden planter for your kitchen made from painted plastic bottles on a wooden base.

The school has an array of on-going projects. There are also the choir that performs at gala events, a dance project, handyman project, chess, knitting, landscaping, beads and hospitality. Soon these learners will take all the sport awards too.

Kings College is a small school with lots of determination, commitment and gratitude, but most of all with values and lots of love.

Source: news24


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Mt Kilimanjaro – What Trek4mandela Means

Despite some progress in championing the women’s cause in recent years, many girls continue to suffer from discrimination and exclusion in education.

An estimated 31 million girls of primary school age and 32 million girls of lower secondary school age were out of school in 2013, according to reports.

Different stakeholders have engaged in efforts to help young girls attend school. Among them is Nelson Mandela Foundation that has researched on reasons for girls missing out in schools.

It has come up with ‘Trek4Mandela’ initiative that seeks funds from individuals and organizations to sponsor celebrities who hike Mount Kilimanjaro. The funds are used to help girls in South Africa and Tanzania.

Trek4Mandela was established in 2012 when Richard Mabaso of Imbumba Foundation and founder and visionary of ‘Caring- 4Girls’ overheard a fearful conversation between his mother and his niece on menstrual challenges.

This got him to take action and inspire change through establishing the ‘Trek4Mandela’ expedition to create awareness on the plight of underprivileged girls in rural and poor schools during their menstrual cycles. The ethos of Mandela Day is ‘Take Action Inspire Change’. Now in its fourth year, the hopes to distribute sanitary pads and advice to 270,000 girls to help them stay in school.

This July, some 31 international celebrities conquered Mount Kilimanjaro in a ‘Trek4Mandela’ initiative to support the underprivileged young girls attain quality education. Mr Mabaso says out of 37 people from different nations who started the journey on July 14 this year, 31 of them summated the Uhuru Peak, two reached at Stella Point and one at Gilman’s Point. They were subsequently issued with certificates by Siha District Commissioner (DC), Dr Charles Mlingwa.

A special cake ‘draped’ in South African flag and a Nelson Mandela portrait was handed over to them as well. Mr Mabaso is buoyant the expedition will be able to raise enough funds for the needy girls, as fundraising events in support of each climber are ongoing in South Africa. He formed the idea in 2012 after he learnt a lot of girls failed to attend school due to poverty.

The charity educates people about Mandela Day and the need to take action beyond the 18th of every July thereby make every day a Mandela Day and cherish his core values; core values: ubuntu, dignity, authentic leadership, freedom for self and others and selfless service to humanity.

Mr Mabaso plans to bring about twice the number of this year’s climbers come next year. Among those who conquered Mount Kilimanjaro this time is South African adventurer, Mr Sibusiso Vilane; first black person in the world to conquer the three poles challenge – South Pole, North Pole and Mount Everest twice.

He says the aim of conquering the world’s highest freestanding mountain is to voice out to the world of how important it is to have Mandela’s spirit and inspire everybody for change. They aim to reach out to 20 million girls by 2020. “We have to ensure that our girls get the maximum support they can in order to be able to go to school.

We cannot afford to have people who failed to go to school because of a need that is so basic, that we could have fulfilled,” says Mr Mabaso.

Dr Mlingwa thanks Mandela Foundation for the initiative to help the needy girls and says it will also highly boost tourism sector in the country as well as the economy. He urges Tanzanians to take their time to scale the mountain instead of leaving the voyage to foreigners, saying the country is endowed with unique natural resources in Mount Kilimanjaro National Park and other national parks.

A special cake ‘draped’ in South African flag and a Nelson Mandela portrait was handed over to them as well. Mr Mabaso is buoyant the expedition will be able to raise enough funds for the needy girls, as fundraising events in support of each climber are ongoing in South Africa. He formed the idea in 2012 after he learnt a lot of girls failed to attend school due to poverty.

The charity educates people about Mandela Day and the need to take action beyond the 18th of every July thereby make every day a Mandela Day and cherish his core values; core values: ubuntu, dignity, authentic leadership, freedom for self and others and selfless service to humanity.

Mr Mabaso plans to bring about twice the number of this year’s climbers come next year. Among those who conquered Mount Kilimanjaro this time is South African adventurer, Mr Sibusiso Vilane; first black person in the world to conquer the three poles challenge – South Pole, North Pole and Mount Everest twice.

He says the aim of conquering the world’s highest freestanding mountain is to voice out to the world of how important it is to have Mandela’s spirit and inspire everybody for change. They aim to reach out to 20 million girls by 2020. “We have to ensure that our girls get the maximum support they can in order to be able to go to school.

We cannot afford to have people who failed to go to school because of a need that is so basic, that we could have fulfilled,” says Mr Mabaso.

Dr Mlingwa thanks Mandela Foundation for the initiative to help the needy girls and says it will also highly boost tourism sector in the country as well as the economy. He urges Tanzanians to take their time to scale the mountain instead of leaving the voyage to foreigners, saying the country is endowed with unique natural resources in Mount Kilimanjaro National Park and other national parks.

“I thank those who initiated this idea but also celebrities who came and the sponsors willing to help the poor girls in South Africa. If this mountain was not in Tanzania we would not get the opportunity, but because God gave it to us, many people come for different good causes and our daughters now get their share by being assured of quality education,” he says.

The ornitonologist notes that very few Tanzanians have experienced the park that has the entire world’s climatic regions, hence a virtual climatic world tour, from the tropics to the Arctic, with an alpine desert within that supports little vegetation. In the expedition was The Isidingo: The Need character, Jack Devnarain who has promises to take time with Tanzania actors with view to equip them with best techniques in their field.

Mr Devnarain who plays as Rajesh Kumar says he is in high spirits to make it to Uhuru Peak and is ready to share his experience with Tanzanian characters. He says Tanzania is a great country and he is ready to help its actors and actresses bring more impact to the field nationally and internationally.

Mr Devnarain (44) says will arrange a special tour for that purpose and will liaise with Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) who in turn will network the event with responsible organizations.

“I am happy that I conquered the world’s freely standing mountain and the highest in Africa and I am open to offer technical support to Tanzanian actors so that they prosper in the field but also make Tanzania more famous on that side of life,” says Mr Devnarain who has a university education in drama.

The former policeman and lawyer with hobbies of power lifting has won a Golden Horn Award for Best Supporting Actor in a TV Soap and was nominated for Golden Horn Award for Best Actor in a Feature Film.

TANAPA Tourism and Marketing Director, Mr Ibrahim Musa says the offer is massive, would help the artists and that Mr Devnarain being a celebrity is a huge support to tourism sector in the country. He called upon local celebrities to think of scaling the mountain.

He wishes the Isidingo character would record some of his soap operas in Tanzania parks. The actor says it is a good idea and he will have to consult with members of the programme management who have a final say on such matters. Those who trekked Mount Kilimanjaro this year include directors, chief executive officers of different companies as well as celebrities.

TANAPA Director General, Mr Alan Kijazi says the foundation has given Tanzania exceptional reverence that would help in conservation and tourism. He says the initiative is aimed at ensuring girls do not miss a single day at school, as some companies sponsor the climbers.

Nelson Mandela Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sello Hatang says the delegation was composed of people from South Africa, the United Kingdom, Bahamas and other countries to inspire change, love and unity in Africa and beyond.

Before start of the trekking, the foundation members offered sanitary towels to Darajani Secondary School girls as a means to ensure they do not miss school when at menstrual cycle.

Kilimanjaro National Park (KINAPA) Chief Park Warden, Mr Erastus Lufungulo hails the trekkers saying it is a huge boost to tourism in one of the country’s dignified parks.

Source: allafrica


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Bursary Opportunities 2016

Sun International

Sun International established the Sun International Community Development Trust to fund the implementation of the group’s corporate social investment strategy,

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which remains focused on expenditure in the areas of education, health, welfare and cultural activities.

The Sun International Bursary Programme administered by Studietrust grants bursaries to students in areas of studies relevant to the hospitality and leisure industry:
• Food & Beverage Studies
• Hospitality Studies (at all levels and in all areas of specilization)
• Hotel Management
• Human Resources Management
• Sport and Recreation Studies
• Marketing and Sales
• Information Technology
• Management Studies
• Finance (Accounting)
• Electrical Engineering (light current at TVET level)
• Plumbing (TVET level)

Who may apply:
South African citizens interested in studies at South African Universities, Universities of Technology and TVET Colleges for degree, diploma and certificate programmes in the above fields of study.

Preference is given to:

  • Current Grade 12 learners
  • Matriculated applicants waiting for a study opportunity
  • Full-time students in their first year studying towards qualifications in the fields specified above
  • Female applicants from previously disadvantaged communities
  • Applicants who live in close proximity of Sun International Hotels and Resorts.

Bursary type: partial
Main selection criteria: Academic merit and financial need.

For more information on how to apply read here.


 

ATNS : Bursary Opportunities 2016

ATNS SOC Limited is proud to provide bursaries for motivated and interested candidates to train to become Air Traffic Control Officers (ATCO’s). An ATCO is an important member of the team who ensures the safe, orderly and expeditious travel by air of millions of passengers per annum by ensuring that aircraft are separated from one another and ensuring an organised flow of air traffic.

ATNS SOC Limited is the sole provider of air traffic and navigation services in South Africa and provides all of the training for career opportunities in air traffic control and related services at our Aviation Training Academy (ATA) in Bonaero Park.  ATO Approval Number  0011/Scope: Air Traffic Services.

Minimum Requirements

  • Minimum age of 18
  • Grade 12 with Maths and English (HG D or SG C or level 4 upwards).
  • South African Citizen
  • Medically fit

The bursary programme facilitates an opportunity to undergo the required studies and to obtain the relevant exposure in order to qualify as an ATCO. The ATCO Trainee programme consists of 3 phases, namely the Bursary Scheme (bursary contract), the ATC Learnership (under fixed term contract) and ATC aerodrome course and validation phase (under fixed term contract). The study bursary provides each bursar with an opportunity to conduct their studies at the ATA.

For more information on how to apply read here


 

ABSA Bursary programme

As a leader in our industry, we are keen to ensure that talented, top-performing students get every opportunity to enter the world of business. And we know that, for many, a fulfilling and rewarding career may feel out of reach. It’s a goal that can be achieved only with a solid education to build upon. This is why we offer bursaries.

A bursary programme could make all the difference to your future success. It provides financial support to full-time students enabling them to complete their education and, potentially, pursue a career with us upon qualifying. In recent years, we have sponsored hundreds of ambitious students. You could be next.

What does this bursary include?

The bursary includes full tuition fees and will be paid out according to the annual bursary award and the individual’s needs. You will be assessed every year and if your performance is satisfactory, Absa will continue to sponsor you.

Qualifying Criteria

This bursary programme helps Absa employ top talent and it also offers financial support to fulltime students studying towards one of the following qualifications:

Bachelor or postgraduate degree in:

  • IT
  • LLB
  • Informatics
  • Data science
  • Statistics
  • Actuarial sciences
  • Risk or investment management
  • Business mathematics and informatics (BMI)
  • Engineering (industrial, financial or process).
  • Other relevant mathematical sciences

Qualifying criteria for postgraduate and undergraduate university students:

  • Applicants must be studying full-time for the 2016 academic year at an accredited South African university.
  • Applicants must not have a criminal record.
  • Undergraduate students must have achieved a minimum average of 70% in the first semester for the 2015 academic year.
  • They should also be studying to complete a Bachelor’s degree.

Qualifying criteria for 2015 matriculants:

  • Applicants must have achieved a minimum average of 80% for the June 2015 examinations.
  • Applicants must be registered to study full-time for the 2016 academic year at an accredited South African university.
  • Applicants must not have a criminal record.

Find out how to apply here.


 

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Young SA scientists called to enter Green Talents 2015

South Africa’s most ambitious young scientists with an interest in sustainability research are being invited to take part in the international 2015 Green Talents Competition which offers the opportunity for its winners to promote their research in Germany and be granted unique access to the elite of the country’s sustainability research field.

With 2015 named the “City of the Future” Science Year, organisers of the Green Talents competition have announced that they particularly welcome submissions relating to this topic. The competition is however still open to all fields and offers equal chances to win. The deadline for submission is 2 June 2015, 12 p.m. CET.

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has held the prestigious ”Green Talents – International Forum for High Potentials in Sustainable Development” since 2009 to promote the international exchange of innovative green ideas. The award, under the patronage of Minister Professor Johanna Wanka, honours 25 young researchers each year. The winners come from numerous countries and scientific disciplines and are recognised for their outstanding achievements in making our societies more sustainable. Selected by a high-ranking jury of German experts the award-winners are granted unique access to the country’s research elite.

The 25 Green Talents 2015 will be selected by a high-ranking jury of German experts.

The prestigious 2015 award includes an invitation to visit Germany later in the year to participate in the fully funded two-week science forum. While touring Germany, the award-winners will have access to top science and research institutions that will offer unique insights into their work.

Award-winners will also be granted a chance to present themselves and their work in person during individual appointments with experts of their choice (during the two-week science forum).

A fully funded research stay of up to three months will be offered at an institution of the award-winner´s choice in 2016. Additionally, the Green Talents of 2015 will gain exclusive access to the “Green Talents Alumni Network” of 130 high-achievers in sustainable development from over 40 countries.

Sustainable development has been defined by the competition organisers as leading an environmentally friendly life in a way that conserves resources. This is essential to preserve our world for subsequent generations and particularly important in enabling our cities to overcome the challenges ahead. With its top innovation and research centres, Germany supports these efforts in particular by intensifying international cooperation among the bright young minds of tomorrow.

Those wishing to enter the competition must satisfy the requirements that they:

• Are enrolled in a Master’s programme or have completed higher academic degrees (Master/PhD) with significantly above-average grades at the time of application.
• Have an excellent command of English
• B Be a non-German citizen and reside outside of Germany. Not eligible to apply are German passport holders as well as anyone living in Germany at the time of application (even if the residence is limited in time).

Applicants need to register on at www.greentalents.de.

Source: All Africa


 

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Youth Development: Bursaries to apply to for 2016

Industrial engineering bursaries 2016

One of the companies offering industrial engineering bursaries is Afrox. Afrox is not only offering industrial engineering bursaries, it also offer bursaries students who have excelled in your first academic year in the following study fields:

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Metallurgical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering

The bursary covers university fees, books, residence fees.

Applications are online, it might take you a minimum of 20 minutes to complete your application.

apply online


WSP Bursaries for 2016

You can start to apply for 2016 application now, You will need a minimum of 60% in mathematics and Science. WSP is offering bursaries to students intending to study any of the following study fields:

Civil Engineering,
Structural
Mechanical Engineering
Electrical Engineering
Industrial Engineering

How to apply?

1. Request for WSP Bursary application form by using the subscription form below. we will sent this form directly to your email.

Request for WSP Application form:


Monach IT Bursaries

Monach is offering bursaries up to a value of R60,700. This amount must cover Full tuition fee for a full-time study load (48 credit points), To apply you have to be in grade 12 or equivalent

The closing date for applications is as follows:

Semester One Intake : 15 November
Semester Two Intake : 30 April

Note: No late applications or supporting documentation will be accepted.

To apply you need to:
Complete the application form;
Sign the declaration;
Attach all relevant supporting documentation as specified; and
Return to the Student Fees Officer by the closing date

By post: In person:
Student Fees Officer Student Services Centre
Student Administration Centre Monash South Africa
Private Bag X60 144 Peter Road
Roodepoort Ruimsig, Roodepoort


Aveng Bursaries

aveng is one of the companies that offer bursaries to South African students. Bursaries are offered to candidates who interned to study any of the following study fields:

Human Resources Management 1st year of study 5
Electrical Engineering 1st or 2nd year of study
Mechanical Engineering 1st or 2nd year of study
Process Control & Instrumentation Engineering 1st or 2nd year of study
Civil Engineering 1st year of study

apply online

Source: Tshwane Line


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SA-made solar toilets a breakthrough in sanitation, dignity

The greenest school in Gauteng is the modest establishment at Orefile Primary School in Olievenhoutbosch. It is now the site of a breakthrough toilet installation that provides flush sanitation with minimal water usage – and it’s all designed, developed and manufactured right here in South Africa.

Mustek decided to sponsor the toilets as part of its CSI initiative, but the implications of the technology go way beyond the comfort and dignity of the 120 schoolchildren at Orefile: it has the potential to help preserve South Africa’s scarce water resources while saving millions on the construction of expensive sewerage reticulation.

The toilets are powered by a small solar panel that drives the two pumps contained in the sealed unit. Orefile is no stranger to solar technology, as this already supplies its electricity, while the school itself is built from environmentally-friendly razor board and waste water is re-used for other purposes.

“When we add the new solar toilets, it becomes even more interesting and challenging,” says Clever Shukwambani, Principal at Orefile Primary School.

Michael Cassidy, head of Renewable Energy at Mustek, explains that the technology distributor has a division focusing on photo-voltaic solutions.

“We wanted to give renewable energy some exposure and we came across this new technology: the solar-powered toilets. It’s a unique and different concept and we decided to sponsor a school.” The total investment, to install four structures and toilets at Orefile, was R50 000.00.

The SmartSan sanitation system was designed and developed by Professor Mulalo Doyoya and Jurgen Graupe specifically to meet the needs of the emerging market, where the infrastructure to provide traditional flush toilets is often not in place.

Prof Doyoyo explains that one of the biggest challenges with most traditional sanitation systems – whether regular flush toilets or mobile toilets – is what to do with the waste. “You have to dump it somewhere,” he says.

With the SmartSan system, biotechnology is used to process the waste within the unit itself. “It’s a mini waste treatment plant,” Prof Doyoyo says.

How it works is that the unit is installed as a closed system with either two or three tanks, depending upon the installation. The system recycles toilet flush water so it doesn’t have to be connected to municipal water, while rain water can be accommodated as well in the cistern supply tank.

A combination of biological anaerobic process and nano-filtering are used to clean the water once the toilet is used and flushed. The nano-filtration system ensures 100% removal of all dissolved contaminants such as nitrates, nitrites and phosphates in the filtered water, while the disinfection of the nano filter ensure the destruction of any possible harmful pathogens.

A ventilation system cap ensures removal of all possible odours, and there is no danger of leakage so water-borne diseases like cholera, diarrhoea or malaria cannot be spread.

The whole system requires very little maintenance, while the solar panel means it is independent from any external power supply.

More importantly, the SmartSan system uses just 600 litres of water per year, compared to a typical household usage of 32 000 litres per year used to flush the toilet.

Not only does the SmartSan system address a critical need for sanitation in a way that is sensitive to the realities of a water-scarce and infrastructure-poor country – because it is developed and manufactured in South Africa it is keeps vital intellectual property (IP) on our shores, while providing jobs and keeping the money in the economy. There are also export opportunities to countries that experience similar challenges.

The two partners started developing the systems in 2007, and have installed 1 300 units to date. Most of the sales were initially in the private sector, but the Free State Provincial Government has started using the toilets in its bucket eradication programme, and about 1 000 units have been installed so far.

Source: Environment Africa


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