AECI Eco-Schools Water Education Project Report 2020

AECI Eco-Schools Water Education Project Hammanskraal


Organisational details .............................................. 4 WESSA Schools Programme ..................................... 5 Aligning to national, continental and international agendas for systematic change ......................... ....6 AECI Supported Eco-Schools ................................... 7 Project information ................................................... 8 Focus area deliverables in the last 12 months........9 Selected AECI Eco-Schools Hammanskraal.........10 Situating the project ............................................... 12 Beneficiary update/report ..................................... 13 AECI Eco-Schools Water Education Project Narrative Report ..................................................... 15 The COVID-19 Response Strategy..........................17 Response to social, economic and environmental challenges in Hammanskraal................................18 Focus area deliverables since COVID-19 pandemic.................................................................20 AECI Hammanskraal Water Education Project Statistics and Figures for COVID-19 Response.......21 WESSA Schools Programme stats and figures for COVID-19 Response Strategy.................................23 Project successes over the year ............................24 Impact .................................................................... 24 Lessons learnt ......................................................... 25 Challenges ............................................................. 25 Funder acknowledgement .................................... 26 Contact us .............................................................. 26

AECI has partnered with WESSA since 2017, and conceptualised a new water focused education Eco-Schools project, based in Hammanskraal Gauteng, in 2019.

Organisational details

Name of the organisation: WESSA

Author of report: Cindy-Lee Cloete

Position in organisation: Programme Manager: WESSA School Programmes

Contact number: 064 752 0598



AECI Hammanskraal 2020

WESSA Schools Programme

We are the sole and proud implementor of the four WESSA International School Programmes (Eco-Schools and Eco Campus, LEAF, and YRE), together with a variety of other programmes which include Entrepreneurship Education, Early Childhood Development and Sustainable Schools in Rural Communities. These programmes we implement on behalf of government and the private sector, and they make a critical contribution to youth development in South Africa . Funding and support by AECI has enabled us to truly embody People Caring for The Earth and further our quest to become champions of the environment and achieving a more sustainable South Africa for all.


The philosophy of the WESSA Schools programme has always been informed and underpinned by the understanding of the environment as a multi-dimensional concept as depicted by the diagram below. Within the WESSA AECI Water education project we used the same approach.


Mobilising public/private participation in addressing socio-economic issues – mitigating impacts on ecological infrastructure and human life

Align projects to relevant local and global agendas



Support teaching and learning in schools and communities through action learning

Empowering Youth and developing skills to become enviropreneurs in sustaining livelihoods


Web of life

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Aligning to national, continental and international agendas for systematic change

We ensure inclusive and equitable education and promote lifelong learning opportunities which will contribute to better socio-economic landscapes in our communities. Connecting with concrete and relevant social, environmental, economic and political issues, teachers, learners and communitymembers can take action to combat challenges like: food insecurity, climate change, well-being at all ages, gender inequality, management of water and sanitation, alternative sources of energy, sustainable economic growth and peace and justice at local and national levels. Integrating these 3 policies with the WESSA Eco-Schools programme enables ordinary South Africans to enhance connected thinking to make sense of such over-arching and complex agendas in the context of real-life situations which has meaning to them. In particular, the foci of the AECI funded water education project in Modderfontein are climate change and water conservation. Climate Change is a big focus in the National Development Plan particularly for those vulnerable to the effects of climate change on health, livelihoods, water and food, with a disproportionate impact on the poor, especially women and children . While adapting to these changes, industries and households must reduce their negative impact on the environment. This will require far-reaching changes to the way people live and work. The project is also directly linked to UNESCO’s Sustainable Development Goals focussing on most of the goals shown below.

The WESSA AECI Eco- Schools water education project responds to important policy frameworks and agendas such as South Africa’s National Development Plan 2030 (NDP), the African Union’s Agenda 2063 as as UNESCO’s Sustainable


Development Goals (SDG).

Globally, strategic developmental agendas are set to improve the quality of life of people as well as for different stakeholders to collectively work towards a common purpose and common good. The WESSA Eco-Schools programme is one such partner that focuses on teaching about these crucial plans and agendas so that people can gain a deeper understanding of how they can practically contribute to make them a reality. The agendas we particularly align ourselves with are the South African National Development Plan, the African Union’s 2063 Framework and the international 17 Sustainable Development Goals. WESSA Eco-Schools believes that our practical approach to teaching and awareness about these three agendas will foster a greater understanding about the interconnectedness between the social, economic, environmental and political facets of life on our planet. This will develop the necessary skills and competencies we require to empower ordinary citizens to take action and work towards these common goals.


AECI Hammanskraal 2020

AECI Supported Eco-Schools

The programme is aimed at creating awareness and action around environmental sustainability in schools and their surrounding communities as well as supporting Education for Sustainable Development in the national curriculum.

The Eco-Schools programme is an international programme of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) that was developed to support

With over 50% of the content in some CAPS subjects being environmental in nature, Eco-Schools makes a positive contribution towards improving education in South Africa.

The programme is active in 68 countries and 59 000 schools around the world and has been implemented in South Africa since 2003 by WESSA.

environmental learning in the classroom.

The Eco-Schools is a holistic programme which consists of three structural elements - The Seven Steps Framework, the Eco-Schools Themes, and Assessment which enables the school to be eligible for an award. The school implements an environmental project using the seven steps framework. To be successful the programme requires support from school leaders and the School Governing Board. Whole school involvement is imperative as well as long-term commitment and the willingness to involve students in decision-making. The environmental action projects implemented at the five schools in Hammanskraal was successful because of structure provided by the framework, themes and on going M&E and assessment.

Since 2003 more than 4500 schools across all nine provinces have participated in the programme reaching 1 036 000 learners and 41 400 teachers annually.

The programme accredits schools that make a commitment to continuously improve their school’s environmental performance. Teachers and learners in the AECI Hammanskraal Water Education Project joins this great cohort of environmental champions


AECI has partnered with WESSA since 2017, and last year conceptualised a new water focused project based in Hammanskraal, Gauteng. Hammanskraal has for many years been plagued by water shortages. The water has routinely been contaminated with sewage. The water has been declared unsafe for human consumption. Water trucks are distributed around the town daily and residents have to line up for their quota of water. AECI’s group of companies intervened by initiating a water and food security initiative to provide clean water to five schools and the broader community including neighbouring clinics and community centres. Through a partnership approach AECI focused on water provision technologies such as water filtration, boreholes and food gardens. WESSA was responsible for the education programme on the day of the launch and throughout the year. Over the past year, AECI has funded the implementation of a water and food security project with five schools in Hammanskraal.

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Project information

Name of project: AECI Eco-Schools Water Education Project

Project Manager: Lameez Eksteen

Duration of Project: (as stipulated in the agreement) 1 year

Total Value of Grant: R397 082,00

Project cycle: 1 October 2019 to 30 September 2020


AECI Hammanskraal 2020

Focus area deliverables in the last 12 months

Planned activities

3 Improve capacity of educators and learners to implement sustainable water practices at school to respond to water challenges related to climate change and other factors.

4 M&E strategies achieved.

Support 5 schools in Hammanskraal, Gauteng, to become well- functioning Eco-Schools. 1 2 Instil deeper understanding of existing local and global water challenges.


Improved knowledge of

Learners’ increased learning and deepened knowledge and understanding of the local environment.

Educators and learners apply environmental education at school

Action projects are monitored to ensure the success and longer-term sustainability of their projects.

local and global water challenges and practical actions towards a sustainable water future.

through their environmental action projects.

Activities achieved

Installation workshop.

M&E data collected and shared with school and funder.

Initiated sustainable water and climate change action projects to raise awareness through education programmes. Launched a sanitation, hygiene and health and wellbeing focused initiative in response to COVID-19 Pandemic.

Conceptualised and developed a contextual water management plan for 5 schools.

Project implementation support visits.

One Educator training and capacity building workshop facilitated and situated in education for sustainable development in the curriculum. Assisted educators to find better methods to teach environmental related content in the classroom.

AECI Hammanskraal 2020 9

Selected AECI Eco-Schools Hammanskraal

The five schools are registered as part of the international WESSA Eco-schools programme and are working towards a Bronze award for sustainable action. In this year of implementation, the schools worked on two action projects, namely water conservation and food security. The related themes are water and health and wellbeing.






1. Kekana Primary School



2. Phalesane Primary School



3. Itireleng Primary School



4. Boitshepo Secondary School



5. Lethamanga Secondary School

Principals of the five participating schools including a GDE official.


AECI Hammanskraal 2020

Water focused lesson with members of the Eco-club.

Lesson on climate change link to water security.

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Situating the project

Hammanskraal was established in the 1940s when an influx of migrant workers settled on an uninhibited farm. The farm was in proximity to the Kekana tribal land, also known as Amandebele- ba-lebelo tribal authority. Historically there has been tension between settlers who continued to stream in and the Kekana tribe. This hasn’t changed post-apartheid. The town is now a conglomerate of farms and tribal land. Hammanskraal is a small-town north of Pretoria, in the Tshwane Metro almost on the borders of the North West province. There has been disfunction and challenges in the local municipality for many years. The residents consider themselves forgotten citizens. The area has socio-economic and environmental problems ranging from poverty, inequality, corruption, unemployment, pollution and mismanagement of water services. Businesses are forced to move out of the area due to low productivity caused by lack of water. This increasing the unemployment rate. Hammanskraal is renowned for hot average temperatures of 40 0 C. Water is therefore essential. Unfortunately, tenders were granted to service providers to restore the water treatment plant. They failed and sewage spilled into the Leeukraal Dam, the only water source servicing Hammanskraal. The water has been declared unsafe for human consumption. Water trucks are distributed around the town daily and residents have to line up for their quota of water.


AECI Hammanskraal 2020

Beneficiary update/report

People that benefitted from the funding provided by AECI over the last 12 months:

Total number of direct beneficiaries targeted for this year through AECI funding (1 October 2019 – 30 September 2020): 1 000

Total number of indirect beneficiaries

Total number of indirect beneficiaries reached to date: 6 251

Total number of beneficiaries reached to date: 1 814

targeted for this year though AECI funding: 10 000

The equity target and achievement to date:


40% 35% 30% 18% 10% 10%

Children (Vulnerable)

Children (Orphans)

Youth (18-35 years)

15% 15%

Adults (36-59 years)

5% 3%


Number of beneficiaries targeted Number of beneficiaries reached to date


Elderly (60 years and Older)

South African Born Chinese




African Coloured Indian

Number of beneficiaries targeted: Number of beneficiaries reached to date:













Number of beneficiaries targeted

60% 40% 65% 35%


Number of beneficiaries reached to date

Number of beneficiaries targeted


Number of beneficiaries reached to date

*No beneficiaries with disabilities

AECI Hammanskraal 2020 13

The initiative was launched by Deputy Minister Pamela Tswete, Chief Lleka Kekana, AECI CEO Mark Dytor and AECI Exec Dean Mulqueeny.

On the day of the launch the choir from Boitshepo High welcomed delegates with a song, while poets from Phalesane showcased value of water through spoken word.


AECI Hammanskraal 2020

AECI Eco-Schools Water Education Project Narrative Report

Water is an essential part of life. AECI’s focus on the provision of quality water to five schools and surrounding community contributed to the health and well being of the beneficiaries.

the year including dates for workshops, support visits, portfolio submission and award ceremony. It is essential for them to diarise and use these dates as milestones for their own implementation plans. We then visited each of the schools to assess their individual contexts, this informed a framework for the action plans for each of the schools . Where there were wheelie bins, like at Kekana and Phalesane Primary Schools we gave them signage and set up recycling centers. For the bathrooms we provided sanitation and hygiene educational posters. For the gardens we provided seedlings, portable JoJo tanks, water canisters and cups for classrooms. On the 17th of February we hosted an educator’s workshop which was attended by educators and groundsmen of each of the five schools . At this workshop we introduced participants to the water and health & wellbeing themes. We gave them project ideas and worked with them to customize it to the needs of their schools. Itireleng and Phalesane Primary Schools have reported several harvests which are used in their school nutrition programme . Learners and teachers are eager to work in the gardens and use the food gardens as teaching tools in their classroom lessons. The gardens are also a way to teach learners important lifeskills that will assist them to become food secure in the future. Learners are equipped and encouraged to initiate their own vegetable gardens at home. This in an effort to combat food insecurity in the community . They have also learnt the difference between water intensive crops and crops that doesn’t require that EDUCATOR’S WORKSHOP

The five schools were pre-selected by AECI. The project is part of a large-scale water security project with multiple partners including Gift of the Givers, Nulandis, FLOW and Improchem. WESSA, as leaders in environmental education, were invited to manage the education component through the Eco-Schools programme. AECI sponsored the installation of water provisioning equipment to the schools such as boreholes and water filtration units. This is serving the broader community in a region which has been plagued by water shortages for several years. WESSA provided support for the planning of the launch and hand over event held on the 21st of November 2019. The event was attendedbyDeputy Minister of Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, Pamela Tshwete, Chief Lleka Kekana from the Amandebele-a-Moletlane tribe, AECI Chief Executive, Mark Dytor, representatives from Gift of the Givers and WESSA. The water provisioning equipment such as borehole water systems, process water treatment systems, water tanks, chemistry kits and vegetable gardens were officially handed over to schools during a ribbon cutting ceremony. WESSA is therefore providing schools with essential education support to ensure the long-term sustainable use of the water provisioning equipment. LAUNCH


Following the launch, we invited schools to an installation workshop where we introduced them to the Eco-Schools programme, the seven- step framework and associated themes. We provided an overview of our engagement for

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much water. This was a vital lesson for learners living in the water scarce area. We developed field implementation guidelines for each school. This has assisted us in ensuring the objectives and outcomes are met. It was also used as a monitoring and evaluation tool. This will help us in strengthening what works and redirect what doesn’t work in the schools. Importantly we can keep track of the challenges, achievements, lessons learnt and evaluate the theory of change in action.

In March, as part of the Improchem conference and water week celebration, Improchem Engineers were scheduled to provide a guided tour of the water filtration plants on Phalesane Primary School. WESSA’s role was a spekboom planting and education programme for delegates of the conference. The event was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. The spekboom planting has since been postponed to early next year.

All of the schools has food gardens.

Lessons in the food garden at Kekana Primary school.

Learners sharing value of food garden to their school.


AECI Hammanskraal 2020

The COVID-19 Response Strategy

provided them with learning support materials such as posters and guidelines . To commemorate arbour week, the schools requested additional garden resources and fruit trees. We procured and delivered the resources on our last visit to the schools. We weren’t able to collect large impact data due to minimal interaction with teachers and learners during our last two visits. We did however conduct short interviews with the Eco-committee coordinators, and they expressed changed behaviour and knowledge amongst learners in terms of environmental practices on schools. The five schools were guided on portfolio compilation and submission which they are working on towards their bronze certificate. They will be awarded during the next award ceremony in March 2021. Schools were also encouraged to continue their environmental projects and to register independently for the Eco-Schools programme. This will allow them to continue growing and developing sustainable environmental projects.

External organisations were not allowed on schools even after they reopened. This was because schools needed to quickly catch up with time lost teaching curriculum. It was also to reduce the risk of infections. It is then that we developed the COVID-19 Response Strategy to respond to the Department of Education’s three top priority areas. The strategy was endorsed by DBE and funders. Schools were closed for an extended period from 18 March to 1 June and again from 27 June to 24 August 2020, with a staggered approach for returning to the classroom. We officially implemented the strategy on 14 September in Gauteng Province. Resources that were delivered for COVID-19 readiness are masks, sanitizer, handwash, infrared thermometers, hand sanitizer stand and a hands- free hygiene system . This first visit was delivery only. Due to restrictions we were not allowed to engage with a big group of learners. We however managed to do demonstrations with teachers and RESOURCES DELIVERED

The hands-free hygiene system, hand soap, hand sanitiser, masks and infrared thermometer.

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Response to social, economic and environmental challenges in Hammanskraal

Skills education

Lesson plan support

Assessment tools

Engaged, competent and well-informed citizens

Continued journey of quality education

Tippy taps

Life long, practical skills

Safe water points

Health and wellbeing

Sanitation plan

Food gardens

Awareness points

Response to local and global social, economic and environmental challenges

Kekana Primary School Eco-committee coordinator checking out the hands-free water hygiene system.

Learner demonstration of the hands-free water hygiene system.


AECI Hammanskraal 2020

ensure food security at schools.


A reworked and trimmed curriculum coupled with ensuring health and safety of the entire school community will be a challenging task for teachers. How will teachers be supported to focus on quality education and ensuring the health and safety of the school’s community? Water and sanitation are the biggest needs for schools to be ready to reopen. Resources for the constant supply of these 2 basic needs can be a problem in schools and can thus cause unsafe conditions. Social distancing , with the number of learners currently in classrooms, will be a serious challenge. Ensuring inclusion and equity – making sure all schools, especially the most vulnerable have access to the right tools and resources in this global crisis. The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has identified the need for schools to be reopened in order to save the 2020 academic year. The national recovery plan includes a staggered approach for learners to return to school and have set out clear plans for how this must be done.

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected how we implement our current Eco-Schools projects. More so, it has affected educational systems worldwide, leading to the near-total closures of schools. This is especially the case for fragile education systems and the negative impact will be more severe for disadvantaged learners and their families. Distance learning, open educational applications and online learning is not possible for all learners due the huge digital divide in South Africa. Covid-19 readiness formore than23000of our public schools is proving to be an enormous challenge with so many of them experiencing water shortages, resulting in poor sanitation. With overcrowding, infrastructure and sanitation problems in many schools in South Africa, the plan to reopen schools requires bold leadership and planning. Food security in schools and communities has noticeably become a major challenge during this time. Good health is imperative to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and thus we need to urgently

Teachers at Phalesane Primary School receiving their resources.

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Focus area deliverables since COVID-19 pandemic

Planned outcomes and activities

Progress to date

Actual performance

• Developed a student-centered approach to social distancing. • Delivered a COVID-19 awareness programme at five schools. • Resources delivered include masks, sanitizer, handwash, infrared thermometers, hand sanitizer stand and a hands-free hygiene system. • Demonstrations with teachers and learners. Learners taught how to manage their own personal hygiene routines. • Developed a management plan for healthy classrooms and toilets. • Assisted schools to develop a waterwise school management plan. • Established drinking water points throughout the schools. • Provided water saving handwashing facilities.

The activity was successfully achieved.

Covid-19 readiness

• Assisted educators with developing lesson plans and lesson presentation. • Developed activities linked to formative and summative assessments. • Assisted learners to develop/enhance their self- study skills and emotional intelligence. • Promoted Social Emotional Learning as the heartbeat of the classroom. • Used project-based learning to focus on quality education in the form of skills, knowledge and values education.

The activity was successfully achieved.

Curriculum support

• Each school is supported to establish and maintaining a sustainable food garden. • Learners are empowered and equipped with skills to grow food at their homes promoting food security.

The activity was successfully achieved.

Food security


AECI Hammanskraal 2020

AECI Hammanskraal Water Education Project Statistics and Figures for COVID-19 Response



10 000+




















m a



o n s

H a m








Principal and Deputy Principal of Boitshepo High School receiving the resources.

AECI Hammanskraal 2020 21

Water drinking points at Itireleng Primary.

At many of the schools we were welcomed with strict protocols. Schools were strict about who they let in.

The food garden at many schools has died during lockdown due to lack of maintenance, this was at Boitshepo Primary School. The same was true for Phalesane and Lethamanga Primary Schools.


AECI Hammanskraal 2020

WESSA Schools Programme stats and figures for COVID-19 Response Strategy

Food gardens (Revived or enhanced)


Drinking water points

Food gardens (Established from scratch)




Hand sanitiser stands


Lesson plans/ Guidelines/ Posters

Hygiene systems




129 Schools

Food Tunnels


Gardening Tools


50 Shields



1054 Hand soap (in litres)



Sanitiser (in litres)


AECI Hammanskraal 2020 23

Project successes over the year

Equipment supplied to

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 their water and health schools to assist with the water conservation and sanitation projects. Environmental action projects are initiated and underway. Schools have started a network of support, using WhatsApp as a medium of communication. Itireleng Primary school, who was part of Eco-schools programme previously, is serving as a twinning school and provides support to the other four schools. The gardens have already produced harvest for the nutrition programme. All schools are actively engaging with project staff. COVID-19 resources and PPE are currently lacking in schools. Our delivery greatly assisted where there are gaps. Teachers appreciated the learning support resources; it will assist them with teaching curriculum efficiently. All schools received project equipment for and wellbeing action projects.


The strongest impact from the AECI Eco-Schools Water Education Project was importance of water sustainability education coupled with quality water provision technologies, particularly in this water- stressed region . This impacted significantly on the health and well being of vulnerable learners. Anecdotal evidence suggest there was a decrease in water borne illnesses such as diarrhea and other gastrointestinal- related issues. Learners showed an increase in understanding of the relationship between water and food, and water as the foundation of all life forms . This was demonstrated in their actions in and out of the classroom.

Phalesane also showed off their hand washing stations that was donated to the school.

Learner demonstration at Itireleng Primary School. testing the hands-free water hygiene system. Principal and teachers at Lethamanga High school


AECI Hammanskraal 2020

Lessons learnt

It is important to work with more than one teacher so that projects can continue in the absence of one teacher.

Flexibility is key. We needed to adapt quite quickly to the situation

Learners respond well to action learning techniques.


• At the two high schools, Lethamanga and Boitshepo, the Deputy Principal is leading the project. They have expressed they are overwhelmed with school duties. We have requested they hand over the project to a teacher who we will liaise with. • School closures delayed the project and caused many disruptions. • COVID-19 restrictions caused limited access to learners.

Itireleng Primary School receiving their water saving equipment.

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Funder acknowledgement

The WESSA Schools Programme team extends a heart-felt thank you for your commitment to making the Eco-Schools Programme so successful. It was the vision of the WESSA Board to enable schools to become centres of sustainable development excellence. Your generous support helped make our vision a reality. As we continue to grow as a Programme, please know that partnerships with our funders are vital to the success of the Programmes.

You are truly appreciated.

Contact us

Donavan Fullard General Manager: Schools Programme Tel 011 462 5663 Cell 076 790 4989 Email Cindy-Lee Cloete International School Programmes Manager

Tel 011 462 5663 Cell 064 752 0598 Email

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