Limpopo learners develop a project that will change lives

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Water wastage remains one of South Africa’s challenges, the country loses millions of rands every year due to water wastage caused by leaking pipes and taps that are unattended to. A group of grade 10 learners from Mathari High School in Limpopo have identified this problem that we are faced with, and have developed a project which uses cell phones to control water usage.

‘Project Water Conservation’ uses two cell phones to correspond when using water in the bathtub or kitchen sink. “We can set an alarm on cell phone A, which will determine when the water must start to flow and also set another alarm on cell phone B to determine the duration of the water flow,” explained 16 year old Camellia Mashele.

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It works in more than one way too, “When I call cell phone A or send a call back to cell phone A, it will send a signal to cell phone B to close the valve. We also have a level sensor, which stops the flow of water once it has reached the required level,” she added.

The learners gave reasons as to why they came up with this concept, “We used this because people use a lot of remote controls these days, so our model will be appealing because it uses cell phones, you won’t have to get up and do it yourself, you just call,” said Edgar Nukeri, another learner from the group.

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Deputy Minister Pamela Tshwete

This project was awarded first place in the Youth Water and Sanitation Awards, and it won in the South African Youth Water Prize category and these learners are now planning to present their project to their local municipality. Deputy Minister for Water and Sanitation, Pamela Tshwete attended the awards ceremony which was held in Boksburg.

The awards recognised the best plans, as well as the cream of the crop in eight categories, including Baswa Le Meets, Aqua Enduro, Eco Schools, South African Youth Water Prize, Public Speaking, Teacher Water Training, Out of School Youth as well as the United Nation Award, which was handed over to the Department of Water and Sanitation.

South Africa scooped the UN Award for its Best Practices in Environmental Education and Awareness Programme. The award was received by Deputy Minister Tshwete.

The winners were awarded cheques ranging between 5 000 and 35 000 and bursaries to study water and sanitation related careers.

Speaking at the event, the Deputy Minister called on various sectors to get involved in the work of bettering the lives of people. She commended teachers for taking the responsibility and assisting the department in its water awareness programme and for spending their holidays with the learners in the summit.

She encouraged learners to share the experiences with others when they go back home. “Take what you’ve learnt to your schools, parents and neighbours.”

We congratulate these students for putting South Africa on the map, as we realise that winning the UN Award, means that the world knows that a difference is being made. These are the children that make us proud as they are tomorrow’s game changers.

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