Creating community empowerment, transformation and sustainability are the guiding principles of the Enactus Ford College Community Challenge (C3), with student-led projects recognised for their contributions at an annual awards ceremony held today in Johannesburg.
The Ford C3 Challenge is a signature educational program of the Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company. Run in partnership with global non-profit organisation Enactus, the program promotes the development of innovative solutions amongst university students to address critical needs in their local communities.
Student-led community projects are supported in Ghana, Kenya and South Africa striving to create a more sustainable place to live and work.
“The Ford College Community Challenge is a key part of our global strategy to empower young people to become transformational agents of change in their communities,” said Neale Hill, Managing Director of Ford Motor Company Sub-Saharan Africa Region. “Through C3, we recognize that students can be a huge force for good and, that if we give them the right support, they can change in the world.”
The fourth cycle of the Ford C3 Challenge ran in South Africa during 2016 and 2017, and the winning projects are:
- Durban University of Technology – recycling and upcycling old linen into a variety of consumer products, with skills development and entrepreneurial focus
- Mangosuthu University of Technology – producing cheaper and environmentally friendly fly ash bricks for sustainable construction and job creation
- University of Pretoria – manufacturing of dried or preserved food for sale using solar hydrators, including replicable business model
- University of Witwatersrand – producing a wide range of hair and skin products from honey, bees wax and other natural product to empower unemployed rural women
For the fifth cycle of the Enactus Ford C3 challenge, which takes place in 2017 and 2018, four projects were selected as finalists, each of which received USD5 000 (around R60 000) to implement their concepts.
The student team from the University of Cape Town is planning to address the severe drought experienced in the region by introducing fog catchers for the first time in South Africa. Developed as a simple, cost-effective and sustainable solution for water harvesting, they will be relying on the fog catchers and rain water harvesting to collect a minimum of 200 litres per week. This will serve the Erf81 community’s urban organic and permaculture garden that is a source of food and income for the local residents.
At the University of Pretoria, the Enactus team is dealing with the issue of food security through agricultural and horticultural skills development, along with entrepreneurial action. They will be producing a vertical farming model that the community members can use to produce their own food, and for sale. Additionally, they aim to sell the design of the model to local schools, hospitals and other organisations.
In KwaZulu-Natal, the Durban University of Technology team has partnered with a local hotel group to obtain waste food such as fruit, vegetables and bread, to supplement pig feed that will support pig farmers in the Noodsberg area. Remaining food will be mixed with pig manure to produce an organic fertilizer for the crops, this creating a sustainable cycle of recycling.
Students at the University of Fort Hare are working on a project that aims to develop a product that will make purification of grey water easy and efficient to use. With the Eastern Cape also affected by drought and water shortages, the recycling of grey water is an important step to address the scarcity of clean water, and the resulting water rationing.