The programme, held from 3 - 7 October 2022, is held under a number of competitions, including the Aqua Enduro action project, an initiative aimed at addressing the skills shortage in the scientific and engineering disciplines. It targets Grade 10 - 11 learners.
Aqua Enduro seeks to identify learners who not only have a passion for water and sanitation, but also have the determination and discipline it takes to pursue careers in the water sector.
Department spokesperson, Sputnik Ratau, said other competitive projects will take the form of public speaking, targeting learners from Grade 10 - 11, who are doing Maths and Science. The learners will be given a theme to research and debate amongst themselves.
“Learners from the Intermediate Phase will compete in the Baswa Le Meetse (BLM) action project, which requires them to initiate a water or sanitation project within their school, and use creativity and innovation to artistically sensitise their communities on what they should be doing to actively save water or educate people about proper sanitation in their homes.
“At the end of the competitions on Friday, the department will award the winning schools and learners with bursaries, prize money, certificates and trophies. The bursaries are geared towards studies in water and sanitation-related careers, whilst the prize money will be used by schools to procure water and sanitation related needs for the sustainability of their projects,” Ratau explained.
The Water and Sanitation Education Programme is one of the most successful programmes of the department, which has seen a number of young water and sanitation professionals excel in their expertise within the department and the entire sector.
The programme takes places in various schools across the country and the winning teams will represent their provinces this week at the national adjudication programme.
Ratau said through the programme, the department aims to create more employment opportunities in the country, while also bridging the skills gap that exists in the sector.
So far, a total of 800 learners have been awarded bursaries to pursue careers in the water and sanitation sector, while 3,500 schools have been supported through the programme since its inception.
In 2015, the programme was recognised for its achievement by the United Nations and awarded the “Water for life best practice” Award.