Learning from Schools
For the Africa Exchange workshop visits were organised to some local Water Explorer schools that were already excelling in their implementation of various environmental projects to learn from their sustainability practices. The delegates were impressed by a selection of the low-tech projects that are having a huge impact on the ground. Such projects included the Nobanda Primary School homemade tippy taps which is already saving hundreds of litres of fresh water which would have usually been wasted through regular hand washing practices. Their beautifully choreographed water dance performed for the guests provided an enjoyable interlude as well as a platform to open a discussion around environmental justice issues of water access and sanitation.
Another action project that was presented came from KwaNgubeni Primary, a far flung peri-urban school whose flourishing permaculture garden is a wonderful model of how to mimic natural ecosystem to produce healthy organic food while simultaneously overcoming common challenges such as poor soil quality and ubiquitous water shortages.
A visit to the long-standing Pietermaritzburg Eco/Water Explorer school, Scottsville Primary, whose comprehensive recycling program launched over 20 years ago has been an active learning tool for generations of learners was inspiring, enabling learners ‘to close the loop’ of their waste production. Through a guided walk about the school, delegates appreciated some 250 indigenous plants in the school garden as well as having the opportunity to learn about their legacy of reforesting many other parts of greater PMB. Scottsville continues to stand as an example of how a school can play a key role in their local environment by rehabilitating wetlands, planting indigenous and taking measures to combat soil erosion.