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.