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 Social Impact - Stellenbosch University



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The Amanzi Yimpilo project Amanzi Yimpilo project




South African Sign Language – Beginner Level 1A African Sign Language – Beginner Level 1A2023-09-04T12:00:00Z
Enabling meaningful social impact through student engagement meaningful social impact through student engagement2023-02-09T07:00:00Z
Social Impact Annual Symposium entitled Reimagining Social Impact Impact Annual Symposium entitled Reimagining Social Impact2022-09-01T07:00:00Z



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Latest InitiativesView all Initiatives​​​​ and battery storage initiative to save schools money and get them through loadshedding​​​​​The majority of South Africa’s schools face financial challenges, and struggle to meet the basic educational requirements. Water and electricity bills are rising at a rate that is higher than inflation, and even more so for a basket of educational expenses. Moreover, overall per-peer budgets are in decline, and financial management at such institutions are complex with limited knowledgeable managerial resources available, especially at the lower-quintile schools. Our initial survey of five schools in Stellenbosch revealed that monthly costs ranged from R12,000 per month to R 100,000 per month (200kWh/day to 850kWh/day).  Our best estimates show that schools in South Africa are responsible for 3% of South Africa’s energy needs. Schools also have a disproportionately large impact on the environment. Based on smart meter measurements that were used for billing over the last three years at five schools, and using the conversion rates from the fossil fuel-intensive generation in South Africa, we estimate that each school has a CO2 footprint of approximately 500 kg/day on average. Even with a 50% conservative estimate to correct for affluence bias, this results in a staggering 6 million kg of CO2 caused every day by all the electrified schools in the country. Based on our pilot study described below, the main reasons for these high costs and large footprints are a lack of knowledgeable oversight and management; tardy feedback through monthly billing; inefficient electric loads (e.g. lights, fridges and borehole pumps); users being unaware (corregible behaviour); and lack of managerial ownership and incentives. Through effective intervention at schools, one would not only bring down the cost and reduce the resulting carbon footprint, but also achieve a more substantial reach into the community. Schools are socially responsible institutions and any initiatives towards them will be beneficial for the communities in which they exist. Moreover, every child that becomes aware and a responsible energy user, will be tomorrow’s responsible user at home, both now, and when they are older. It then makes sense to invest in schools to cultivate sustainable energy behaviours, which will result in alleviating the financial burden and the environmental stress caused by schools and the home. Moreover, increased interest in energy and renewables could lead to an increase in students interested in pursuing careers in these scarce-skilled professions. In addition to driving down usage and cost, a major concern for schools is making informed decisions when evaluating solar installations as a viable source of renewable energy. We have found that in many cases even the sales agents do not have the necessary know-how to calculate the savings or know how to optimally match solar availability with school demand. In fact, many schools are bamboozled into signing contracts with detrimental terms and rates (e.g. having to pay for generated power, rather than used power). This project will address this need also. Leading up to the proposed project, two related projects were successfully completed by the same team since 2017. The first was the SmartWaterMeterChallenge ( ), in which 360 million litres of water (R28 million) was saved in the drought of 2017/18 by 354 schools in Cape Town with support from two governmental and 93 corporate entities. The second was a small pilot project done on an absolute shoestring with some industry support. This so-called GreenClassroom project served as a precursor to the proposed project, in which smart meter data was used to characterise, and eventually affect through behavioural change, the energy usage of five (affluent) schools in Stellenbosch: Laerskool Stellenbosch, Laerskool Eikestad, Rhenish Primary, Rhenish Girls High, and Hoërskool Stellenbosch. In a controlled experiment three schools we sent visualised and digestible energy usage information from smart meters daily. Additionally, we presented to the schools’ staff on energy usage rates and resulting CO2 emissions of typical schools’ loads (e.g. urns, geysers, lights, fridge, etc). This project was done on a shoestring and was used to better understand the schools energy ecosystem. Within a couple of weeks, the schools reduced their daily energy usage and footprint by ca. 18 % and cost by ca. 14% (R 3,156  on average per month), when compared to the same period in the previous year and compared to schools that were not part of the intervention in a difference-in-differences comparison. Two of the schools also sent children to the SunStep programme, hosted by Stellenbosch University, where they were exposed to information on renewable energy and climate change, and had to solder their own mobile phone charger, which they took home.   These projects used similar methods and technologies as those proposed here. The proposed project plans to leverage the lessons learned through the two projects to achieve similar outcomes at poorer schools in the Stellenbosch area. For three schools, small solar power plants were also installed with giant posters on the wall to make children aware of renewables and environmental change. These projects set a clear president, demonstrating our commitment and ability to affect change at schools, and lay a solid foundation for achieving success in the proposed project. The project will chiefly aim to save money and environmental impact through the use of electrical and electronic engineering technologies, while educating staff and children. The project will primarily target 25 indigent schools in the Stellenbosch and Paarl area. The project will demonstrably achieve all of the following objectives at these schools Use of smart metering (and smart switches where appropriate) to save needy schools money and reduce their carbon footprint. Install solar power to reduce school costs and environmental footprintInstall inverter and batteries to carry the school through loadshedding. The project will draw from various role players to ensure successful completion, ranging from academia, industry, schools, universities, and governmental agencies. Stellenbosch University: Jason Samuels will be the school liaison and will coordinate the smart meter data capture (installation, acquisition, development where needed) and perform the processing and dissemination of the visualisations. He will also present to the schools on climate change, tariff structures, and energy usage. He will also be completing his PhD on the proposed project, or related areas. Professor SS Grobbelaar of the Department of Industrial Engineering as collaborator.Thinus Booysen will provide a coordinating and oversight role. He may also assist with the presentations to management and the staff. Scatec Solar Chair at E&E Engineering (Dr. Arnold Rix) was part of the initial pilot project, and co-supervises the MEng students who will work on this project. Schools The schools principals and governing body representatives will be engaged with the information, and will be responsible to disseminate the information to the teaching staff and personnel. ​ ​ 1542 finance ​In the western cape, the province is where the West Coast district municipality is situated. Small businesses struggle to maintain accurate financial records. The challenges they encounter when applying for finance and how this affects business expansion. Below are a few of the causes of an early business closure. Among additional causes of drug misuse, alcoholism, and gender-based violence is unemployment. This project aims to facilitate business financial workshops that teach effective costing, cash flow analysis, and financial statement preparation. Working with the Vredenburg Municipality, Entrepreneurship, and Rapid Incubation will also be important and relevant, particularly in choosing the young and mentorships.​1533’s Move_Kom Beweeg_Masihambe​The Movement Laboratory at the Sport Science Department focuses on developing and researching evidence-based exercise interventions for movement disorders as seen in elderly and neurological populations i.e. spinal cord injuries, strokes, Parkinson’s disease as well as Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Over the last few years the Movement Laboratory has established collaborations with various local communities, with the cooperation of previous research projects and associations like Bridging Abilities, Helderberg Stroke Foundation and the ACVV. Even though there are other community projects focusing on health and wellness in these areas, none specifically focus on individuals with movement disorders relating to neurological conditions. The Movement Laboratory has set out not to leave communities after research projects have been completed without establishing educational platforms and/or exercise groups for the benefit of the community members. Consequently, this also provides an opportunity for BSc Honours Biokinetics students to engage with these communities and to learn from them; while developing their clinical skills and attributes. This then establishes an interactive learning environment as well as a more sustainable impact.​ This project sets out to allocate post-graduate BSc Honours biokinetics students (i.e. clinical exercise therapist-in-training) to these communities 2 - 3 times a week over a year. The students will assist community volunteers in physical performance and health assessments, exercise intervention design and implementation, as well as health and wellness education. Initially the students will be supervised by the Biokinetics program mecoordinator (and qualified Biokineticist i.e., clinical supervisor), however over time the project aims to involve community volunteers and eventually engage the community in taking responsibility and accountability for their own physical activity programs (while the students will continue to only assist these members). In addition, this projects also allows research projects on exercise interventions to develop – with community participation into the project designs.1536 Critical and Essential Infrastructure Security ​​The initiative aims at providing academic support to the security division of Transnet. It sets out to create a partnership and knowledge sharing between the security divsion of Transnet and the Faculty of Military Science on matters of critical and essential infrasturcture security. South African critical and essential infrastructure is distinctly linked to national security and the stability of the South African economy and way of life. Thus, all academic and functional expertise contributing to the security of critical infrastructer is also in support of human security objectives. Eliminating uncertainty from the security of South African infrastructure is a critical building block towards the sustainability of such infrastructure in support of the South African economy.1531 Safety for Primary School learners 2023​​​ ​Rail Safety Education and Awareness for Primary School Learners: 2023      1.    Introduction The Rail Safety Education and Awareness initiative for primary schools was launched in 2022. The purpose is to teach aspects of rail safety while exposing learners to Science, Engineering and Technology (SET). Two outreaches were done in the Western Cape in 2022 (22 September 2022 and 8 December 2022), jointly funded by the Gibela Rail Transport Consortium and the Division for Social Impact (DSI) of Stellenbosch University (SU). Two schools were involved in each outreach, and schools were selected on their profile, their location and the location of their feeder zones. The outreaches were well received, with positive feedback from the schools. The outreaches in 2022 were pilot projects with the intent to spearhead future initiatives. The dream is, therefore, to build on these successes to make the Rail Safety Education and Awareness a sustainable programme.This proposal provides detail of the outreaches planned for 2023.2.    BackgroundEvery year, the Rail Safety Regulator (RSR) investigates many rail incidents, such as collisions between trains, derailments, accidents at level crossings and station platforms and people struck by trains (PSBT). PSBT incidents are the most concerning and often caused by people's ignorance or recklessness, and Figure 1 shows the magnitude of the problem in South Africa. It shows the number of PSBT incidents and their respective consequence in terms of fatalities and injuries, as well as the calculated fatalities and weighted injuries (FWI), which is a relative index of the fatalities and injuries combined (10 injuries are equivalent to 1 fatality). The numbers are shocking, as one injury or fatality is already too many.Since the 2010/11 reporting period, the three main provinces (Gauteng, Western Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal) recorded 85% of the PSBT incidents. During the 2019/2020 reporting year, their contribution increased to 88%, with the Western Cape increasing from 25% to 28%, while Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal remained at 33% and 27%, respectively. The magnitude of events in these provinces and the increase is a reason for concern.3.    The OutreachRail safety education and awareness initiatives can reduce PSBT incidents. It is unknown how many PSBTs involve children, but a significant impact can be made if rail safety and awareness initiatives focus on children. Children will better understand the dangers around trains and railway lines, and they can identify unsafe practices and tell their family, friends, other children and adults about rail safety.It is never too early to do rail awareness in a child's life, and this rail safety outreach is focused on intermediate-phase primary school learners and aims to: 1) teach the learners about rail safety in a practical way, and 2) expose those learners to SET The detail of each of the two aims is as follows:Aim 1: Rail safety and awarenessFor rail safety and awareness, the learners are taken to a miniature rail park where they are taught about rail safety, the safe crossing of railway tracks, behaviour at a station platform, and behaviour when onboard a train. After the formal rail safety programme, the learners ride on the trains and apply what was learned. The day's highlight is a car crash demonstration, where a model car is crushed in a controlled accident, highlighting the importance of railway safety and practically showing the significance of safety. Each learner also takes the "Rail Safety Pledge for Kids" (Appendix A, adapted from Operation Lifesaver Inc (OLI)). Through the pledge, the learners acknowledge that safety is important and promise to make safe choices around railroad tracks and trains. In Gauteng, it is planned to take the learners to the Society of Model Engineers in Centurion, which also has a miniature rail park.Aim 2: Exposure to Science, Engineering and Technology (SET)At the outreaches in Cape Town, the learners visited the SUNSTEP (Science Technology Education Programme, ) facility at the Engineering Faculty of SU. SUNSTEP aims to inspire learners for SET by exposing them to basic practical engineering and knowledge. It is done by teaching them how to assemble an electronic device (either a dark-activated light or an alarm). The electronic kits, tools, and guidance on how to build the kits are provided in well-equipped laboratories. The learners are taught the basics of electronics, the use of tools (such as soldering irons, pliers, and screwdrivers) and assisted in assembling the kit they can take home. For many, it was their first interaction with electronic components, soldering and PC boards.For the outreach in Gauteng, a similar exposure to SET is planned in collaboration with the Gibela Research Chair in Manufacturing and Skills Development at the Tshwane University of Technology. The TUT Chair is also funded by Gibela and can assist with logistics and support.  4.    Detail of the outreachThe learners visit a miniature railway park and laboratory during the outreach. Because of the individual attention required at the laboratory, the number of learners is limited to 40 per school. Each school follows the same programme alternating between the two venues (miniature rail park and laboratory). While one group learns about rail safety, the other learns about SET. After having lunch together, the groups then swap. Teachers from the schools assist with supervision and maintaining discipline. A typical programme for the two schools is shown in Table 1.Table 1: Typical programme to accommodate two schoolsGroup 1 learners    Timeslot    Group 2 learnersTravel from school to the Laboratory    08h30-09h15    Travel from school to the miniature rail park Safety briefing and built electronic kit     09h15-10h45    Safety briefing at miniature rail parkTravel from the laboratory to the miniature rail park    10h45-11h15    Rail Programme at miniature rail park  Lunch and recreational time at the miniature rail park    11h15-12h15    Lunch and recreational time at the miniature rail parkSafety briefing at miniature rail park    12h15-12h25    Travel from the miniature rail park to the laboratoryRail Programme at miniature rail park    12h25-13h50    Safety briefing and built electronic kit Travel from miniature rail park back to school    13h50-15h00    Travel from the laboratory back to schoolKey points of the initiative:•    The first two outreaches were done in Cape Town, but it is planned to alternate between the Western Cape and Gauteng in 2023.•    The miniature rail parks which are used are the Winelands Light Rail park in the Western Cape and the Centurion Society of Model Engineers park in Gauteng.•    Schools are identified jointly between SU and Gibela. Typical selection criteria will be the school's profile, whether the school is close to a railway line, whether the children are exposed to railway lines where they live or when they travel to school and whether learners use trains to travel.•    Parents need to sign indemnity forms and permission letters for photographs to be taken of the kids.•    Safety is of utmost importance, and safety briefings are done at each venue. •    The number of learners is limited to 40 per school or 80 per day. •    The ruling Covid 19 requirements at the time are followed (e.g. use of masks, hand sanitiser, etc.).•    The best time for the initiatives is the week before schools close for the holidays. It can, therefore, typically be done before the April, July, September and December holidays, keeping the weather in mind.•    Teachers must accompany the groups to assist with the activities and the supervision of the learners.•    SU arranges transport for learners.•    A lunch pack is provided to the learners and assistants, which is enjoyed at the miniature rail park.5.    CollaboratorsThe initiative is a collaboration between the Gibela Engineering Research Chair, SUNSTEP, RSR, the miniature rail park and the schools. 1530 Critical and Essential Infrastructure Security The initiative aims at providing academic support to the security division of Transnet.  It sets out to create a partnerships and knowledge sharing between the security divsion of Transnet and the Faculty of Military Science on matters of critical and essential infrasturcture security.  South African critical and essential infrastructure is distinctly linked to national security and the stability of the South African economy and way of life.  Thus, all  academic and functional expertise  cocntributed to the security of critical infrastructe is also in support of human security objectives.  Eliminating uncertainty from the serity of South African infrastructure is a critical building block towards the sustainability of the such infrastructure in support of the South African economy.1528

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