UJ and Schneider team up to help Limpopo village - 18 April 2018 - Dataweek
mobile | classic
Dataweek Electronics & Communications Technology Magazine





Follow us on:
Follow us on Facebook Share via Twitter Share via LinkedIn


Search...

Electronics Buyers' Guide

Electronics Manufacturing & Production Handbook 2017


 

UJ and Schneider team up to help Limpopo village
18 April 2018, News

Gwakwani, a small rural village in Limpopo province with about 70 to 100 inhabitants, has gained access to basic services through sustainable interventions, thanks to a collaboration between the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) department of electrical and electronic engineering science (which forms part of its faculty of engineering and the built environment) and Schneider Electric South Africa.

Over the past three years, this partnership has empowered the community through its eco-friendly sustainable contributions to an area that is devoid of basic services or roads. The intervention began with an access to energy project through the installation of solar lighting solutions to the homes and a solar streetlight followed soon thereafter.

This collaboration between private industry, academia and the community, has created a legacy for many years to come, according to Professor Johan Meyer, head of the school of electrical and electronic engineering at UJ. “The success of community outreach projects not only depends on the technical solution provided but also on the social and cultural acceptability of the solution and of the solution provider,” he said.

“Initially, we trained entrepreneurs from the village to sell and maintain our solar powered portable LED lamps, with its mobile phone charger, the Mobiya TS 120S,” added Zanelle Dalglish, head of sustainable development for Schneider Electric Anglophone Africa. “The units are especially suited for the demanding rural environment of Gwakwani, as it is an energy efficient, eco-friendly and robust portable lamp producing 120 lumen light output.“

Dalglish said working in collaboration with UJ is in line with Schneider Electric’s sustainable development strategy, which focuses on partnering with academic institutions, NGOs, NPOs and funders to establish an electrification model for off-grid communities. Equally passionate about creating sustainable, long-term solutions, UJ engineering students were provided with an opportunity for community engagement and on-the-job experience, ensuring they learned practically and not just academically.

A future re-imagined through access to energy and education

Community members in Gwakwani would need to travel some distance to fetch water from the river each day, where there was also significant malaria risk. UJ students identified that a high-quality water system was a core need for the village, as water supplied from a diesel-powered borehole was insufficient for daily use.

“Schneider Electric South Africa assisted with the installation of a second borehole pump, donating its ‘Water of the Sun’ solution, which consists of variable speed drives to power the water pump, and a 4 kW solar panel solution provided by UJ. Now the community has access to a reliable water supply for everyday use and a newly installed drip irrigation system, which allows them to plant and grow vegetables to support themselves and sell their produce to surrounding villages,” continued Dalglish.

UJ suggested containerised solutions were needed for a solar powered bakery and the village’s first crèche. Schneider Electric supported the setup of the solar powered containers, ensuring community members’ access to education for their children and economic opportunities for many years to come. The bakery, which had to be designed and installed in a very remote location, is now fully operational and delivers between 120 to 140 loaves of bread per day, which generates income for the community.

Gwakwani crèche (top) and bakery (bottom) donated by UJ and Schneider Electric South Africa.
Gwakwani crèche (top) and bakery (bottom) donated by UJ and Schneider Electric South Africa.

The University of Johannesburg Electrical Engineering Department, with the support from Schneider Electric South Africa, continues to monitor the performance and optimisation of the solar system.

“Project Connect at Gwakwani village has provided students with an opportunity, not only to learn, but to give back to the community. Here we have seen private business working together with engineers, students and academics in an effort to connect people to their surroundings, to the economy and just as important, to the outside world. The importance of this project cannot be measured, both as a learning tool and a means to make meaningful social change in this country,” said Prof Meyer.

He went on further to add, “Through this initiative 35 households were supplied with lights, enabling the children of the village, who walk 6 km to the nearest primary school and 18 km to the nearest high school to complete their homework at night. In a containerised crèche, with the first television set in the history of the village, the youngest in the community are exposed to educational channels on television and the wider world has now been brought to Gwakwani. The bakery also employs nine people, we’ve upskilled villagers, and their income is supplemented.”

The people of Gwakwani have expressed their heartfelt gratitude for access to running water, electricity, education and skills transfers. Not only does the community no longer rely on candles as their primary source of lighting, but one of the Mobiya entrepreneurs was also able to build a house with the money that he had raised through Mobiya sales.

For more information visit www.schneider-electric.co.za, www.uj.ac.za/faculties/febe


  Share on Facebook Share via Twitter Share via LinkedIn    

Further reading:

  • Electronics news digest
    15 August 2018, News
    Overseas    Business • Silicon Labs reported financial results for its second quarter ended 30 June 2018. Revenue established a new all-time record, achieving the high end of guidance at $217 million, ...
  • Events
    15 August 2018, News
    Innovation in Industry    7 September 2018    Nelson Mandela University    Technical conference focused on sharing applications of new technology being used in the South African arena.    Register at http://iic.mandela.ac.za...
  • Conical Technologies and Mini Circuits invest in education
    15 August 2018, News
    Daniel Haywood, CEO of Conical Technologies, distributor of Mini-Circuits, said they have made this commitment because they believe it is essential to invest in education in South Africa.
  • Win a single-wire EEPROM evaluation kit
    15 August 2018, News
    The DM160232 serial memory single-wire evaluation kit from Microchip Technology is an easy-to-use interactive user tool, which demonstrates the advanced features, functionality and low-power operation ...
  • From the Editor's desk: Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned
    15 August 2018, Technews Publishing, News
    With South Africa celebrating Women’s Day on 9 August, and in fact the entire month as Women’s Month, I would like to take this opportunity to honour some of history’s most famous female engineers and ...
  • Input invited for SADC engineering study
    15 August 2018, News
    In 2011, the SADC (Southern African Development Community) ministers of science and technology endorsed an engineering needs and numbers study, to get a better understanding of the actual numbers of engineers, ...
  • Wits researchers look to photonics to bridge digital divide
    15 August 2018, Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, News
    Africa has 20% of the world’s population but only 4% of its Internet data access. This digital divide, with low Internet connectivity reach, particularly in rural areas, is both economic and geographic ...
  • CSIR showcases mine safety technologies
    15 August 2018, News
    The topic of safety in mines has been in the South African news for all the wrong reasons, not just lately, but for much too long and at the cost of far too many lives. The CSIR has been developing a ...
  • Competition challenges use of technology to make music
    15 August 2018, RS Components (SA), News
    RS Components has launched a global design challenge on its DesignSpark engineering and maker community website, offering a winning prize worth £1500 of products from the RS range. The 'Summer of Sound' ...
  • Female SA coding champs heading for Amsterdam
    15 August 2018, News
    Girlcode, a social enterprise that aims to empower young girls and women through technology, has announced the national winners of it its 5th annual Hackathon. The grand prize-winning team, ‘Lightbulb’, ...
  • Stellenbosch University promotes tech innovation with new ‘Makerspace’
    15 August 2018, RS Components (SA), News
    Stellenbosch University’s LaunchLab has partnered with RS Components to introduce its ‘Makerspace’ to the world. The LaunchLab was born from an initiative called Innovus, the industry interaction and ...
  • SA buys R1 billion entrance ticket to fourth industrial revolution
    18 July 2018, This Week's Editor's Pick, News
    Yekani has outgrown its contract manufacturing roots and is fast becoming a major player in the South African OEM market.

 
 
         
Contact:
Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd
1st Floor, Stabilitas House
265 Kent Ave, Randburg, 2194
South Africa
Publications by Technews
Dataweek Electronics & Communications Technology
Electronic Buyers Guide (EBG)

Hi-Tech Security Solutions
Hi-Tech Security Business Directory

Motion Control in Southern Africa
Motion Control Buyers’ Guide (MCBG)

South African Instrumentation & Control
South African Instrumentation & Control Buyers’ Guide (IBG)
Other
Terms & conditions of use, including privacy policy
PAIA Manual





 

         
    Classic | Mobile

Copyright © Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved.