South Africa celebrates Top 7 schools for GSS up-scaling

South Africa celebrated their top 7 selected GSS schools for project up-scaling together with their National Water Explorer event where Shea O’Connor Combined school was awarded the the Top Team Tap Trophy for 2019!

An enlightening few days learning from local green schools culminated with a national celebratory event attended by the top 7 GSS schools selected in the province. This was combined with the annual Water Explorer Top Team event. Each school was given an opportunity to showcase their environmental achievements and motivate for the future funding of a scale-up project to realise their schools vision. Most of the scale-up projects selected by the schools, such as biodiversity gardens, vegetable tunnels, recycling centres and solar panels, spoke not only to SDG12 but also to project measurables such as kilograms of carbon saved.

The 7 finalists, a mix of rural, city, high and primary schools, presented their projects and celebrated selection at The Birches Pre-primary, in Queensburgh, Durban. “As a Water Explorer I have experienced so many new things like presenting to this audience today. I have learned the value of looking after our environment completely, as without it we are nothing,” said Zonlani Ntombela, of the top WE team, Shea O’Connor Combined at the 31 October event.

Antonia Mkhabela, a Shea O’Connor teacher and the team coordinator, said: “We are thrilled to have this honour.” She said the online Water Explorer programme had equipped teachers and pupils with “solid knowledge”, helping them to better understand sustainability.”

Shea O’Connor Combined won its Top Team Tap Trophy for exemplary efforts which included:

  • Safe-guarding and rehabilitating a wetland within the school;
  • Banning plastic – which led to pupils eating less junk food and reducing litter;
  • Making rainwater harvesting a priority;
  • Growing food organically and selling the surplus to local markets; and
  • Making their voices heard and joining climate strikes.

Ultimately the multi-day Africa Exchange workshop proved not only successful in clarifying the practical details of project implementation but perhaps more importantly to inspire and motivate the various delegates. As one of the delegates from Uganda, Dr Daniel Babikwa, poignantly remarked, “to truly live sustainably we need to live within the boundaries of our planetary provisions. Most African’s live a hand-to-mouth existence eating readily available local cheap food, using public transport and taking bucket showers, while other people living in richer nations have more options, they consume far greater resources, although their impact is often not as visible. If everyone lived as the relatively few in wealthy developed countries do, the world’s population would need 8 planets to provide us with all the resources and absorb all our waste.”

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