More than 70 schools compete to reach uShaka Sea World Environmental Audit finals

Senior primary learners from 16 schools were selected from a total of 72 participating schools to present their uShaka Sea World Environmental Audit projects to a panel of judges on Monday, 5 September 2016.

Learners from the participating schools, selected by means of a series of local competitions, came from eThekwini, Bergville and the Sodwana Bay area. They had all been working on and committed to their Environment Audit projects for more than a year. 

Lindani Majozi and Amahle Nkosi, of Bhongo Primary, with their projects

 

The aim of the projects, sponsored by the National Lotteries Commission, was to create awareness around ecosystems, the impact of climate change and how communities can help with conservation. 

Staff from uShaka Sea World initially addressed the learners and their teachers in 2015. In 2016 they were given four themes: Energy, Water, Waste and Food Garden, from which one had to be chosen. A large number of schools chose Water and Waste, with fewer schools opting to develop food gardens or energy-saving initiatives.

The posters and presentations were of a high standard and at times most humbling, as learners shared their commitment to their projects. It was evident that these learners acknowledge the environmental challenges they will inevitably face as young adults, and that they are committed to finding practical solutions to these problems.

Eulelwa Mchunu, of Mawelewele Primary, stands proudly with a section of her project

Most of the learners’ research was undertaken under the guidance of their teachers, principals, uShaka Sea World staff, families and community members. One of the teachers at Bambanani Primary School in Bergville, Nompumelelo Hlubi, spoke about the lengths to which the community had gone to raise funds for the learners to be able to visit organisations such as the Department of Water Affairs and nearby rivers.

“The pupils tried various methods of solving their biggest water concern at the school, which stems from little ones forgetting to turn off the tap after washing their hands. Thankfully a solution was found which, although simple in design, is very effective. Called a Tippy Tap by the learners, the flow of water is only activated when a pupil steps on a plate. Once they take their foot off the plate and run back to play, the water flow automatically stops,” said Hlubi.

To empower the teachers, uShaka Education staff conducted teacher workshops in all three regions. During the workshops the research process was explained, background information shared, and to make life back at school a little easier, educators were issued with resource packs.

Competitions usually mean there will be winners and losers, but in my opinion all competitors in this initiative were winners. 

“I am proud of the learners, the teachers and the uShaka Sea World education team. Today has shown me that young learners from all over KwaZulu-Natal are confident in their ability to engage with their communities, and are committed to solving the environmental problems they have inherited with both passion and determination," says Jone Porter, Director: Sea World Education Centre. 

One of the judges examines the projects

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