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Major skills boost in agri-horticulture for TVET Colleges skills boost in agri-horticulture for TVET CollegesMedia & Communication, Faculty of Science<p>​Motheo Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College is the first TVET College in South Africa to have established a technology-driven greenhouse tunnel. The objective is to develop the skills of TVET graduates in the agri-horticultural sector and enhance their employability.<br></p><p>This is one of the milestones in the Stellenbosch University (SU) and Maastricht School of Management's (MSM) three year Orange Knowledge Programme titled “Strengthening Skills of TVET Staff and Students for Optimizing Water Usage and Climate Smart Agriculture in South Africa". The project is funded by the Netherlands Universities Foundation for International Cooperation (NUFFIC), through the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. </p><p>The installation of the greenhouse tunnel is the result of a number of assessment activities which involved researchers from SU, Dutch greenhouse experts coordinated through MSM, as well as TVET staff from Boland, Motheo, and Vhembe Colleges. One of these assessments, conducted from December 2019 to January 2020, highlighted the key industry-driven skills requirement by the private horticulture sector in the domain of water-smart agri-horticulture. The investment in the greenhouse will therefore develop and enhance the skills and employability of TVET graduates. </p><p>During the handover on Friday 13 August 2021, Prof Dipiloane Phutsisi, principal of <a href="">Motheo College</a>, emphasized the need for cooperation and knowledge exchange to ensure successful crop production training in the greenhouse. Dr Rykie van der Westhuizen, a crop production specialist, inspected the greenhouse and approved its operation and functionality by carrying out the official handover and sign-off to Motheo College. Over the next few weeks, Dr Van der Westhuizen will play a crucial role in the operationalization of the greenhouse and starting with horticultural training in the greenhouse for college students.  </p><p>Mr Brent Stevens from Vegtech, the suppliers of the tunnel, also introduced a number of TVET staff to the technical aspects of the greenhouse tunnel. Another greenhouse tunnel has since been completed at <a href="">Vhembe TVET College</a> in Limpopo, and a third tunnel, at <a href="">Boland TVET College</a>, should be completed by November 2021. </p><p><strong>Media inquiries</strong></p><p>Mr Peter Makae</p><p>Manager in the Office of the Principal, Motheo TVET College, Bloemfontein</p><p>E-mail: <a href=""></a></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>Mr Manuel Jackson</p><p>Programme officer, Stellenbosch University Water Institute</p><p>E-mail:<br></p><p>​<br></p>
SU to implement a wastewater surveillance platform to detect COVID-19 outbreaks on campus to implement a wastewater surveillance platform to detect COVID-19 outbreaks on campusWiida Fourie-Basson<p>​​Stellenbosch University (SU) plans to implement a wastewater-based surveillance platform to detect institutional SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks on two of its campuses.<br></p><p>“This flows from the institution's commitment to do everything realistically possible to protect the campus community", says Prof Gideon Wolfaardt, director of the Stellenbosch University Water Institute (SUWI) and professor in the Department of Microbiology.</p><p>The wastewater-based surveillance platform has been developed in collaboration with researchers from the University of Bath, in partnership with the South African Medical Research Council (MRC), and funded by the United Kingdom's Newton Fund. The campus-based platform will be supported by a grant from Prof Eugene Cloete, Vice-Rector: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies.</p><p>For the two Stellenbosch University campuses, passive sampling devices will be placed at specific settings to sample sewer lines from student residences on certain days of the week. </p><p>Dr Edward Archer, a research associate in the Department of Microbiology, says the wastewater-based platform on campus will serve as an additional measure to increase and improve surveillance of defined communities, such as campus residences.</p><p>“Firstly, it is impossible to do screening tests on every student at regular, short intervals. Secondly, as asymptomatic infections ares more prevalent in younger individuals, it will allow for the early detection of potential infection 'hotspots'," he explains. </p><p>Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa in 2020, he has been working with Prof Wolfgang Preiser from SU's Medical Virology Division and Dr Rabia Johnson, deputy-director of the MRC's Biomedical Research and Innovation Platform (BRIP), to pilot the concept at SU's Tygerberg campus. </p><p><strong>How does the method work?</strong></p><p>Early on in the global COVID-19 pandemic, it was established that genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, consisting of RNA genomic fragments, passes through the digestive system of infected persons, landing up in their faeces. </p><p>“These genomic fragments serve as a molecular fingerprint of the original virus, regardless of whether an infected individual presents with symptoms or not. Higher levels of viral RNA in wastewater treatment works therefore can serve as a valuable early warning system for a rise in the number of infections. It can also be used to evaluate the spread of the disease in communities," Dr Archer explains.</p><p>“The pilot-project at the Tygerberg campus proved that data obtained through this method allowed us to pinpoint blocks or even buildings where infected individuals lived or worked." </p><p><strong>National environmental surveillance system</strong></p><p>The researchers are also involved with SACCESS, the South African Collaborative COVID-19 Environmental Surveillance System. This network, consisting of researchers, health care practitioners and epidemiologists, was established in April 2020 to evaluate the spread of COVID-19 in communities through wastewaster-based epidemiology.</p><p>As part of this network, Dr Archer and Prof Preiser have been working with the MRC to perform routine community-wide wastewater surveillance for the Cape Town metropolitan area and Stellenbosch.</p><ul><li>For more information about these efforts, listen to the Science Café Stellenbosch talk about “Developing a risk prediction platform for COVID-19 using sewage" with Prof Wolfgang Preiser and Dr Edward Archer from Stellenbosch University, and Dr Rubia Johnson from the Medical Research Council, on 19 May 2021. Science Café Stellenbosch in an initiative of SU's Faculty of Science to promote the discussion of scientific issues in a language that everyone can understand.</li></ul><p><strong>Media interviews</strong></p><p>Dr Edward Archer</p><p>Research Associate, Department of Microbiology, Stellenbosch University and one of the coordinators of SACCESS</p><p>E-mail: <a href=""></a></p><p>​</p>
Kayamandi learners to monitor Krom River learners to monitor Krom River Faculty of Science (Wiida Fourie-Basson)<p style="text-align:justify;">Eight learners from Kayamandi have received water monitoring kits from the Department of Water and Sanitation to enable them to monitor the water quality of the Krom River in Stellenbosch.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">This is part of an ongoing effort of the Kayamandi River Partnership to improve the health of these two rivers which are heavily impacted by pollution from the nearby light industrial area and storm water runoff from the neighbouring township. The partnership consists of researchers from the Stellenbosch University Water Institute (SUWI), the Plankenbrug business community and local schools Kayamandi Primary school, Ikhaya Primary School, Kayamandi High School and Makapula High School.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Dr Leanne Seeliger, project leader and a researcher at SUWI, says the aim of the river monitoring project is also to deepen the learners' knowledge about the importance of monitoring the health of rivers in Stellenbosch and in South Africa.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Through this project, they will now become part of a national effort to involve learners from all over South Africa to become aware of the health of the rivers in their immediate environment. The learners will upload their observations, using the miniSASS kit, to a central website. miniSASS is a simple tool to monitor the health of a river and measure the general quality of the water in that river. It uses the composition of small animals and insects living in rivers and is based on the sensitivity of the various animals to water quality.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">For more information on the Kayamandi River Partnership River Monitoring Day, please contact Mr Meluxolo Mbali at 073 823 1454. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">For more information about Kayamandi River Partnership see the website on<br></p><p><br></p>
New initiative will boost use of water-smart technologies in agriculture initiative will boost use of water-smart technologies in agricultureMedia & Communication, Faculty of Science<p></p><p>A multi-stakeholder platform which aims to boost the use of water-smart technologies by farmers in Limpopo, Free State and Mpumalanga will be launched on 23 February 2021.</p><p>The Triple Helix (3H) initiative will provide a platform for farmers to work with local government, agri-business and research institutions towards finding joint solutions for their specific, local challenges. These solutions range from the introduction of new technologies, to the sharing of knowledge, opening networks to finance and providing skills training. </p><p>The 3H platform is the result of a collaboration between Stellenbosch University (SU) and the Maastricht School of Management (MSM), and facilitated by Agricolleges International (ACI).</p><p>“The 3H platform will act as a multi-stakeholder initiative in the domain of water-smart agriculture and horticulture. It will unite local government, local academia and researchers with farmers and agri-businesses. The aim is to further boost adaptation of water-smart technology in these regions," says project managers Hans Nijhoff from MSM and Manuel Jackson from SU.</p><p>The establishment of this platform is based on a labour market needs assessment, conducted by researchers from SU and MSM in 2019, to gain better insights into the skills needs of the horticultural and agricultural industry sector when hiring graduates from Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges in South Africa. The project, “Strengthening Skills of TVET Staff and Students for Optimizing Water Usage and Climate Smart Agriculture in South Africa" was funded by the Netherlands Universities Foundation for International Cooperation (NUFFIC), through the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. </p><p>During the launch of the Triple Helix platform initiative, researchers will provide feedback on their findings from the labour market needs assessment survey. The speakers are Prof Danie Brink and Manuel Jackson from SU, Hans Nijhoff and André Dellevoet from MSM, Huba Boshoff from Nuffic/NESO, Jolanda Andrag from AgriSA, Prof Peliwe Lolwana from the South African Qualifications Authority, Wynand Espach from ACI, Johan Klinck from Motheo TVET College and representatives from the Nkangala, Vhembe and Motheo TVET Colleges.</p><p><strong>Date: </strong>23 February 2021</p><p><strong>Time:</strong> 10:00-14:00</p><p><strong>Platform:</strong> Zoom Meeting</p><p>Join Zoom Meeting</p><p><a href=""></a> </p><p>Meeting ID: 968 0699 9555</p><p>Passcode: 566480</p><p><strong>RSVP:</strong> <a href=""></a></p><p>Image by <a href="">Ngobeni Communications</a> on <a href="">Unsplash</a><br></p><p>​<br></p>
Don’t take good-quality drinking water for granted’t take good-quality drinking water for grantedGideon Wolfaardt and Marlene de Witt<p>Sunday (22 March) was World Water Day. In an opinion piece for <em>News24</em>, Gideon Wolfaardt and Marlene de Witt of the Stellenbosch University Water Institute call on all South Africans not to take good-quality drinking water for granted.</p><ul><li>Read the article below or click <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">here</strong></a> for the piece as published.</li></ul><p><strong>Don't take good-quality drinking water for granted</strong></p><p><strong>Gideon Wolfaardt & Marlene de Witt*</strong></p><p>The drought that we experienced in the Western Cape and other parts of the country has entrenched an awareness of water availability in our minds, with most of us unlikely to return to the “old normal" of water use in the coming years. It took a severe crisis to get us to the point where we think differently about something that we have accepted as a given for most of our lives. </p><p>As people across the globe celebrate World Water Day on 22 March, it is important to reflect on the fact that there is another side to water availability, which many of us have not yet been compelled to think about, which we take for granted every time we open our taps: access to good-quality drinking water that matches global standards. Ironically, we drive past polluted rivers every day without even noticing their poor health any more. Even when we are disgusted by the sight and smell, or saddened by the fact that we cannot use many of our streams and rivers for recreational activities, we're not driven to action and change, because the state of those streams and rivers do not directly impact on our lives; it's not what comes out of our taps. <br></p><p>Water quality has a much more direct and far-reaching impact on our everyday lives than what we realise. Most notably, it impacts on water quantity as it reduces the amount of water available for consumption without extensive and costly treatment, a problem exacerbated during drought. Producers relying on river water for irrigation increasingly face pushback from the export market, or the additional costs of treatment before irrigation. Routine maintenance and upgrades to treatment plants and direct discharge as surface runoff becomes a challenge to an increasing number of financially-constrained municipalities, leading to a growing concern that micro-pollutants such as endocrine disruptors, and micro-organisms pass through poorly-maintained treatment facilities. And with water from the polluted stream or river we drive past every day seeping into the ground, these pollutants are transferred to the groundwater, which supplies our boreholes and increasingly also our bulk water resources for drinking water. Of course our rural and poorer communities are probably most affected by these problems. <br></p><p>Deteriorating water quality has become a major issue and necessitates actions such as identifying sources of pollution, behavioural changes to stop the pollution, innovative technologies that may include nature-based solutions to rectify the situation, with increasing emphasis on socially acceptable approaches. We recognise the value of international experience, technology and management skills in our efforts to address the complex challenges associated with providing water of sufficient quantity and quality. <br></p><p>However, we are also aware of the wealth of traditional and cutting-edge technologies amongst South Africans that can make a contribution in this regard. We need to embrace opportunities to forge partnerships that combine local and international expertise. This should help reduce the instances where efforts to apply international technological advances fail under local conditions, whether it is due to not being appropriate for local conditions, shortage for replacement parts, or due to a lack of local skills for routine maintenance. Co-designing of interventions also helps to overcome social barriers to uptake of new technologies and to mitigate conflict. <br></p><p>Universities, in particular, are spaces where partnerships need to be forged to find optimal and lasting solutions for complex water-related challenges. It was with this in mind that Stellenbosch University (SU) formed a partnership with Germany's Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, one of Europe's leading applied research organisations, to establish the Fraunhofer Innovation Platform in Stellenbosch. The Engineering, Sciences and AgriSciences faculties at SU and four institutes that are part of the Fraunhofer Water Systems Alliance (SysWasser), in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Energy Alliance, will work together in the fields of water and energy to develop and implement technologies that are appropriate to Southern Africa. Through the Stellenbosch University Water Institute (SUWI), which acts as the local coordinator of this platform, this network will be extended to other disciplines such as community health and social sciences.  <br></p><p>This newly-established Innovation Platform is the result of previous projects on water quality and energy between SU and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. One such project, SafeWaterAfrica, is a good example of how local and international technology and expertise can be combined into workable solutions. It led to the development of a decentralised water treatment system for rural and peri-urban areas. A modular water system was developed in collaboration with two local companies, Virtual Consulting Engineers and Advance Call, for pre-treatment of polluted water before final treatment with a carbon-based electrochemical oxidation technology developed by our Fraunhofer partners. Ekurhuleni Water Care Company (ERWAT) provided the site for a demonstration unit, which is now used for further development towards water-reuse, with the potential to be also utilized as a facility to train technical staff. <br></p><p>While we continue to look for innovative solutions through partnerships between universities, research institutes and companies, it is essential that public perception over water quality changes. We need to increase awareness to stop the “day zero" of water quality creeping closer. This requires significant education efforts in all our communities and the best place to start urgently is in our homes. <br></p><p><strong><em>* Gideon Wolfaardt and Marlene de Witt are affiliated with the Stellenbosch University Water Institute.</em></strong></p><p><strong><em> ​</em></strong></p><p><br></p>
Grade 7 learner wins new high school uniform in recyclable waste challenge 7 learner wins new high school uniform in recyclable waste challengeWiida Fourie-Basson<p>A Grade 7 learner from Kayamandi Primary School has earned himself a brand new high school uniform from De Jagers in Stellenbosch after he won a recyclable waste collection challenge in Enkanini.<br></p><p>Liyahluma Peteni (15) is one of 11 learners who participated in the challenge as part of an environmental education project called Iqhawe Yemvelo (Nature Hero). The project equips learners from informal settlements to deal with water and waste challenges in their immediate environment. It forms the educational arm of the Amanzi Yimpilo (Water is Health) project, a collaborative effort between the Stellenbosch University Water Institute (SUWI) and Stellenbosch Municipality to improve municipal water, waste and sanitation services in Enkanini. </p><p>Dr Leanne Seeliger, senior researcher at SUWI and project leader, says they would like to see the uniform for waste programme become adopted by individual schools in Kayamandi: “We want to encourage more sponsors to come on board so that recyclables become a commodity that families can use to buy school uniforms. Not only will this assist the parents, but it will also help to clean up the streets and the rivers in the area."</p><p>Depending on how much recyclables they collected, the other learners received items such as a pair of school shoes, school shirts and pants, also sponsored by De Jagers.</p><p>Mr Devon Strauss, manager of De Jagers' Stellenbosch branch, says they are more than happy to kick-start such a worthy initiative in this way: "Liyahluma Peteni and his friends have instantly improved their community through their actions and they can be very proud of what they have done. We are honoured to contribute to such and exciting project." ​<br></p><p>The young learner's mother, Mrs Ntombesizwe Peteni, says she is very proud of her son, as he even went to the river and the bushes to collect more waste in order to win.<br></p><p>Mr Saliem Haider, manager of the solid waste division at Stellenbosch Municipality, congratulated the learners and thanked De Jagers for their generous contribution.</p><p>Mr Lwando Bottomane, a waste entrepreneur from Kayamandi and part of the Amanzi Yimpilo team, says more waste can be collected if they had access to appropriate containers at the local schools. </p><p>For more information, or to become involved in the waste initiative, contact Mr Bottomane at 060 407 9676 or <a href=""></a></p><p><strong>On the photo: </strong>Liyahluma Peteni (15), a Grade 7 learner from Kayamandi Primary School, collected his high school uniform from De Jagers in Stellenbosch this week, after winning the waste collection challenge in Enkanini. On the photo, from left to right, Mrs Ntombesizwe Peteni and her son, Liyahluma Peteni, with Dr Leanne Seeliger (SUWI). At the back, Mr Lwando Bottomane and Ms Nasiphi Mgqwetno (Amanzi Yimpile), Mr Saliem Haider (Stellenbosch Municipality) and Mr Divan Strauss (De Jagers). <em>Photo: Wiida Basson</em></p><p><br></p>
Major skills boost for TVET Colleges skills boost for TVET CollegesMedia & Communication, Faculty of Science<p>​Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges in South Africa received a major boost with the launch of an international partnership to strengthen skills development and job creation in critically important fields such as agriculture and water governance.<br></p><p>The Stellenbosch University Water Institute (SUWI) and Maastricht School of Management (MSM) will manage the three year <a href="">Orange Knowledge</a> project “Strengthening Skills of TVET Staff and Students for Optimizing Water Usage and Climate Smart Agriculture in South Africa". The R27 million project is funded by the Netherlands Universities Foundation for International Cooperation (NUFFIC), through the Dutch Ministery of Foreign Affairs. The six TVET colleges involved are <a href="">Vhembe College</a> in Limpopo, <a href="">Motheo College</a> in the Free State, <a href="">Nkangala College</a> in Mpumalanga, <a href="">Northern Cape Rural College</a> in Upington, <a href="">Boland College</a> in the Western Cape, and <a href="">Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute.</a> Other partners include <a href="">AgriColleges International</a> (ACI), the <a href="">Academy of Environmental Leadership,</a> the Department of Higher Education and Training, and the Department of Water and Sanitation.</p><p>During the launch at Stellenbosch University on 27 September 2019, Prof Dipiloane Phutsisi, principal of Motheo TVET, said in her address that TVET Colleges play a key-role in solving South Africa's unemployment problem: “Our mandate is to deliver a skilled and capable workforce, but we grapple with various challenges. Today is a step in the right direction. We need strong partnerships to change this landscape, and to ensure the employability of our graduates."</p><p>In his welcome address, Prof Leopold van Huysteen from SU emphasised the global importance of sustainable environmental management: “If we don't resolve our water governance issues, then we're in serious trouble," he said.</p><p>He also thanked the TVET Colleges present for coming on board: “In a partnership one learns from your partner, but also from the beneficiaries. TVET Colleges know what they are doing and they know their market. We urgently need skills in the control and management of water, soil and agriculture in a water scarce country such as ours."</p><p>In conclusion, Mr Hans Nijhoff, project manager from MSM, said their role is to link the TVET Colleges to sectoral growth by optimising water usage and climate smart agricultural practices. This will be done in collaboration with SU as a key knowledge partner</p><p>“Together we hope to create jobs and ensure sustainable growth," he concluded.</p><p>For more information about the project, contact Mr Manuel Jackson, project manager at the Stellenbosch University Water Institute, at 021 808 9561.<br></p><p><em>On the photo: A high-level delegation from six of South Africa's TVET Colleges attended the launch of a three year project to boost skills development in the agricultural and water governance sectors, in partnership with Stellenbosch University Water Institute (SU) and the Maastricht School of Management (MSM). Attending the launch on 27 September 2019 was, at the back, from the left, Thato Ramaphakela (Nkangala College), Cyril Mazibuku (Nkangala College), TE Ntsieng (Motheo College), Boesman Makae (Motheo College), Manuel Jackson (SU), Clifford Riddles (Northern Cape Rural College), Cain Maimela (Nkangala College),  Patrick Malima (Vhembe College), Johan Klinck (Motheo College), Nico Elema (SU), Joanna Fatch (SU), Sofoyiya Nokulunga (DHET), and Prof Leopold van Huysteen (SU). In front, Kentse Mathiba (DWS), Prof Dipiloane Phutsisi (Motheo College), Nigel Olin (Motheo College), Ernst Moller (Elsenburg), dr. Charon Buchner-Marais (SU), Laurika du Bois (ACI), Prof Peliwe Lolwana (WITS) and Hans Nijhoff (MSM). </em></p><p><em></em><em>Photo: Wiida Fourie-Basson</em></p>
Innovative educational project provides life skills to Enkanini learners educational project provides life skills to Enkanini learnersWiida Fourie-Basson<p style="text-align:justify;">How to handle water and waste in your household when you live in an informal settlement such as Enkanini, are some of the life skills that learners will acquire after completing a unique course, developed as part of a collaboration between Stellenbosch Municipality and the Stellenbosch University Water Institute (SUWI).<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Iqhawe Lemvelo (Nature Hero) educational project is unique as it addresses issues that children living in informal settlements have to deal with on a daily basis. It forms the educational arm of the <a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5992">Amanzi Yimpilo </a>(Water is Health) project, a collaborative effort between Stellenbosch University (SU) and Stellenbosch Municipality to improve municipal water, waste and sanitation services in Enkanini.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Executive Mayor of Stellenbosch, Advocate Gesie van Deventer, says the project is the result of committed “town and gown" cooperation to uplift especially disadvantaged communities: “Through education we are empowering our young people to better assist local government in dealing with water and waste challenges." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Dr Leanne Seeliger, a senior researcher from SUWI, says learners from informal settlements are often disadvantaged by a school system that do not cater for their specific needs: “The children do not have the social networks that children living in formal housing do. We follow a place-based approach that enables them to learn from their own lived experience," she explains.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Dr Seeliger developed the approach with Prof Chris Reddy from SU's Faculty of Education, while working in the Enkanini Education Centre for the past seven years. The curriculum covers topics such as dealing with water and recycling waste in your household and community.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">A group of 60 Grade 6 to 9 learners from Ikaya Primary School, Kayamandi Primary School, Makapula High School and Kayamandi High School have been attending the programme since the beginning of the second term. After completion of the programme in November, each learner will receive a Nature Hero-certificate. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Mr Kamohelo Mculu, a project manager with Stellenbosch Municipality Infrastructure Services, says there is currently a major drive within the Municipality to provide improved water and sanitation services to Enkanini residents: “The municipality, the university and the community are working closely together to improve living conditions in Enkanini," he said.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Iqhawe Yemvelo project is run by Paul Roviss Khambule, Meluxolo Mbali and Yondela Tyawa from Enkanini, in close collaboration with researchers from SUWI. </p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>More about the Amanzi Yimpilo project</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The <a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5992">Amanzi Yimpilo project</a> is an outflow of the <a href="">Rector and Executive Mayor's Forum</a>, a joint structure that facilitates collaboration between Stellenbosch University (SU) and Stellenbosch Municipality to the benefit of the entire town and community. The aim of the Amanzi Yimpilo project is to research the challenges around water, waste and sanitation services in the community, and how to improve it. While SU's Water Institute is responsible for the research and facilitation process, the project is funded and supported by the Stellenbosch Municipality's Infrastructure Services Department. The project involves workshops, a water ethics survey, the Nature Hero education project and a water monitoring application. The Amanzi Yimpilo team consists of individuals from Enkanini, trained as co-researchers by SU, and employed by the South African Government's <a href="">Extended Public Works Programme</a>.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>Caption</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Iqhawe Yemvelo (Nature Hero) project equips learners from informal settlements to better deal with water and waste challenges in their communities. The project was developed by the Stellenbosch University Water Institute in collaboration with the community and Stellenbosch Municipality. On the photo, from left to right, Dr Leanne Seeliger (SUWI) and her international collaborator, Dr Raphael Robina Raminez from the University of Extremadura, Spain, Paul Roviss Khambule, Ayanda Matiwane and Fezeka Sombiki (trainers from Enkanini) and Kamohelo Mculu (Stellenbosch Municipality). In front, three of the learners on the Nature Hero project, Ongezwa Mashebeni and Kwakhanya Mgqibeliso from Khayamandi High School, and Asemahle Lirofana from Makapula High School.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>Contact details</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><span lang="EN-US" style="text-decoration:underline;">Dr Leanne Seeliger</span></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Stellenbosch University Water Institute</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Cell: 072 203 2113</p><p style="text-align:justify;">E-mail: <a href=""></a></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><span lang="EN-US" style="text-decoration:underline;">Mr Stuart Grobbelaar</span></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Stellenbosch Municipality </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Cell: 084 036 1395</p><p style="text-align:justify;">E-mail: <a href=""></a><br></p><p><br></p>
Paper microscope opens awesome world of the very small microscope opens awesome world of the very smallWiida Fourie-Basson<p>Grade 10 learners from Kayamandi High and Makupula Secondary Schools in Stellenbosch were introduced to the awesome world of the very small when each of them received a  <a href="">Foldscope kit</a> to “fold" their own paper microscopes and then looked at droplets from the local Krom River, as well as leaves, flower petals and even a cricket!</p><p>Called Foldscope, this paper microscope is based on the principles of paper origami, but with the optical quality similar to conventional research microscopes, i.e. magnification of 140X and 2 micron resolution. It was developed by <a href="">Prof Manu Prakash</a>, a biologist from Stanford University, as part of his efforts to produce low-cost scientific tools to globally expand access to science. At the cost of only R25 per Foldscope, having a microscope in your back pocket could become as ubiquitous as carrying a pencil around!</p><p>The workshop was organised by <a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5146">Prof Lydia-Marie Joubert</a>, manager of the <a href="/english/faculty/science/CAF/units/electron-microscopy-(em)">Electron Microscopy Unit </a>at Stellenbosch University's Central Analytical Facilities, and took place on Friday 17 May 2019.</p><p>Prof Joubert says she supports the idea of “frugal science" and welcomes the opportunity to draw local learners into the thrill of microbiology through microscopy: “Once children has seen the invisible, they better understand daily challenges such as polluted water, or mouldy food. They also start to look out for beauty in the natural world around us."</p><p>The learners can now join the global community of “explorers" who post their images on the <a href="">Microcosmos website</a> and comment or ask questions from fellow Foldscopers, she adds.</p><p>To date, nearly half a million Foldscopes have been distributed worldwide, and the company aims to distribute one million Foldscopes by the end of 2019.</p><p>The learners were assisted by Grace Hu, a second year student from Stanford University currently on an exchange program in Cape Town, and Geevarghese Panicker from the University of Cape Town. Soon after they've folded their paper microscopes, there were several wow's as the learners first looked at a droplet of water sampled from the local Krom River. This work forms part of their curriculum, and is supported by the <a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6288">Kayamandi River Partnership</a>, an initiative of the Stellenbosch University Water Institute (SUWI).</p><p>But it wasn't long before they started looking for other interesting objects to observe under the new microscopes – leaves, flower petals and even a cricket caught in the grass outside CAF house.</p><p>Each school also received a Foldscope educator's kit which includes an LED module for indoor and low light conditions, repair materials and extra materials to mount samples. A Foldscope can also be attached to a mobile phone with magnetic strips, to capture images, or to zoom in onto finer details.</p><p><img alt="1_Kayamandi High Foldscope workshop_resized.jpg" src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/1_Kayamandi%20High%20Foldscope%20workshop_resized.jpg" style="margin:5px;" /><br> </p><p>This group of Gr 10 learners from Kayamandi High School couldn't wait to start exploring the world of the invisible with their newly-folded paper microscopes, called Foldscopes, while attending a workshop at Stellenbosch University's Central Analytical Facilities. They are, from left to right, <span lang="EN-US" style="line-height:150%;font-family:calibri,sans-serif;font-size:11pt;">Chibanda Panashe, Esona Sogayise, Bulela Sonka, Lihle Plaatjie, Vuyiswa Mntumni, Clarence Ruwizhi, Siyaphiwa Ntsinde, Inganathi Zinqana, Memory Gadza, Linda Ntoyaphi, Athenkosi Mdashe and Sandisiwe Fudukile.</span> In the front are Geevarghese Panicker (UCT), Grace Hu (Stanford University) and Prof Lydia-Marie Joubert (Stellenbosch University). <em>Photo: Wiida Fourie-Basson</em> <br></p>
Kayamandi learners tackle pollution in the Krom River learners tackle pollution in the Krom RiverWiida Fourie-Basson<p>​​More than 100 learners and their teachers from four schools in Kayamandi will participate in a clean-up initiative of the Krom River in Stellenbosch ahead of National Water Week, as well as adopting and beautifying a spot next to the river for children to play.<br></p><p>This is one of the first public initiatives of the <a href="/si/en-za/Pages/initiative.aspx?iid=1045">Kayamandi River Partnership</a> – a collaboration between the <a href="/english/entities/SUWI/Pages/default.aspx">Stellenbosch University Water Institute</a> and external stakeholders such as the <a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6182">Stellenbosch River Collaborative</a>, the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation, the Stellenbosch Municipality's Department of Community Development and Security, and Kayamandi Schools. Other partners include SU's departments of Microbiology and Curriculum Studies. </p><p>Dr Leanne Seeliger, project leader based at SUWI, says previous attempts to address the pollution problems in the Krom and Plankenbrug rivers have been hampered by issues of sustainability and co-ordination among role players: “With this partnership, the aim is to develop a fund resourced by key stakeholders in water management in the area, to ensure continued water monitoring and water education."</p><p>The Plankenbrug river in Enkanini remains one of the most polluted rivers in Stellenbosch: “Initially we will focus on the Krom river as the initial site for awareness surveys and river clean ups, as the Plankenbrug river currently too polluted for learners to use," Seeliger explains.</p><p>With this initiative, the Kayamandi River Partnership hopes to build trust, restore community and rebuild civic responsibility through a shared understanding of ethics between the community and the municipality: “One of the greatest challenges facing most townships is water management. Many residents were previously excluded from crucial decision-making processes. If both the municipality and the community interrogate the principles at hand in water management in this area, then best practice, rather than minimal compliance could be achieved," she concludes.</p><p>Learners will also be monitoring the quality of the water, thereby contributing to their natural science's curriculum. Prof Chris Reddy from the Department of Curriculum Studies in the Faculty of Education will be showing the learners how to test the PH, nitrates and turbidity of the water using a toolkit from the <a href="">School Water Action Programme</a> (SWAP). Prof Wesaal Khan  from SU's Department of Microbiology will discuss the dangers of pollution.</p><p>The high point of the week is on Friday 15 March 2019, when learners will “adopt" and beautify a spot next to the Krom River.</p><p>The initiative has received generous sponsorship of refreshments for participating learners from local businesses, including Ten of Cups, Timberlea Farming Trust and Chill Beverages.</p><p>The initiative takes place ahead of <a href="">World Water Day</a> on 20 March, and South Africa's <a href="">National Water Week</a> from 18 to 24 March 2019.</p><p> <strong>Media enquiries</strong></p><p>Dr Leanne Seeliger</p><p>E-mail: <a href=""></a></p><p>Cell: 072 203 2113<br></p><p><em>On the photos above, Learners from Kayamandi Primary School are taking samples to test the water quality of the Krom River in Stellenbosch, under guidance of the Stellenbosch Water Institute and Prof Chris Reddy from SU's Faculty of Education. Photos: Leanne Seeliger</em><br></p>