2000 Winner
Winners:
KwaZulu Natal Province, South Africa
2000
Publication:
Impumelelo Innovations Award Trust
Sponsored By:
Impumelelo Innovations Award Trust
Jurisdiction:
South Africa
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The Sewage Disposal Education Programme of Durban Metro Water Services arose out of the need to stop the high levels of sewage pollution incurred through the abuse and misuse of sewerage systems in the broader Durban metropolitan area. This pollution threatened health and resulted in massive maintenance costs.

The main objective of the education programme is to create a better understanding of the workings of the sewerage system amongst communities, especially first time users of these services. The programme emphasizes that the provision of improved services needs to be accompanied by responsibilities on the part of consumers. This is done through a number of innovative educational interventions, which encourage interactive and participative learning.

A range of educational resources and toolkits have been designed for use in schools and other education settings, such as clinics or factory floors. These include posters, brochures, classroom aids, working models and a curriculum guide for learners. An Education Awareness Centre at the Northern Treatment Works will target school groups and other visitors.

The most innovative aspect of the programme is the educational road show, which uses street theatre performances. These are presented at informal settings to a broad spectrum of the community, reaching out to less literate members of communities. Performances are held in places where under-serviced or first-time users of municipal services congregate - taxi ranks, shopping centres, clinics, hospitals and councilor ward meetings. Community participation is enhanced through a competition with a lucky draw and prizes as incentives.

The street theatre programme has been awarded to an empowerment company called "Renaissance". This company is responsible for co-ordinating all aspects of the performances, from liaising with community leadership to paying the actors. Through partnerships with Nampak, Vodacom, Fruit Tree, Defy and Coca-Cola, prizes are available through a competition held after the performance with a simple question and answer pamphlet that reinforces the understanding of the issues covered.

This education programme has become a vehicle of broader social reconstruction and development and aims to establish a climate of civic responsibility, calling on communities to support their local government and businesses in the construction and development of their living environments. The project has had a direct measured success with sewage blockages having been reduced by one-third over first 12-month period of the project - a saving of R2 million.

"These educational campaigns set out to inform people that whilst they have been granted inalienable rights, they also have responsibilities, which need to be honoured in return for good governance." Teddy Gounden, Project Manager.

 
Innovation : The programme identifies the critical need to provide information and education on water, sanitation and sewerage services to those communities, which previously lacked these amenities. Given the high rates of infectious diseases in South Africa, programmes like these are crucial. The programme uses a diverse range of educational interventions for the first time users of services, which are alive to issues of language, culture and literacy.
 
Poverty impact : Monitoring of blockages and the reduced levels of pollution of river water, combined with surveys and an evaluation of the education programme, reveal that the quality of life is improving for many township residents. A potential saving of R1.25 million per annum is expected, due to the reduction in the number of blockages and overflowing sewers. A total of 30 facilitators from various communities were employed and trained to deliver the programme and many of them are now in full-time employment with the metropolitan council or with industry. The street theatre aspect was tendered to a black empowerment company. 5 black actors and support staff were employed full-time, in an ongoing capacity to educate communities. Improved environmental awareness created in the community means that improved living standards can be maintained in the long run.
Replicable: The project has great potential for replication, as the strategy has proved to be effective and successful. The World Bank has committed support for the programme to be spread to other local authorities in South Africa. The World Bank invited the project to assist in developing a toolkit for Kenya to improve delivery of water supply and sanitation services to low income urban communities, in addition to the preparation of a Water and Waste information toolkit that will be used throughout developing nations.
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