United Nations recognises South Africa’s water education practices

The United Nations 2015 Water for Life – Best Practices Award being presented to the Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation. From left to right: Vukani Mtya (DWS), Charlene Russell (WESSA), Lydia Peters (DWS), Prof Bimo Nkhata (Monash), Curtis Mabena (DWS), Deputy Minister Pam Tshwete (DWS), Dr. Jim Taylor (WESSA), and Clive Nhlane (DWS).

The South African government’s commitment to improving water education practices has been recognised by the United Nations. This follows the joint winning of the UN 2015 Water for Life – Best Practices Award by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) and the WESSA Eco-Schools. The award recognises outstanding best practices in ensuring sustainable long-term management of water resources. The award was formally presented to the Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation, Pam Tshwete, at this year’s National Youth Water Summit which is supported and co-organised by the International Water Security Network (IWSN).

Every year the summit brings together hundreds of learners and educators from different parts of South Africa to participate in a range of water education activities. This year’s event was yet again co-organised and attended by IWSN representatives who included Prof. Bimo NkhataMs. Linda Downsborough and IWSN-funded students from Monash South Africa as well as Prof. Chad Staddon from the University of the West of England.

According to Dr. Jim Taylor from WESSA, the joint winner of the award, the National Youth Water Summit was a perfect opportunity to present the award to the Deputy Minister. The Deputy Minister praised the joint water summit as a significant milestone in the country’s efforts directed at enhancing water education practices. Ms. Tshwete indicated that she was pleased with the level of support given by Monash South Africa. She observed that the joint water summit was a clear demonstration of how organisational cooperation can be effectively used to ensure viable water education practices and help achieve national water and sanitation related targets. The Deputy Minister also acknowledged, among other organisations, WESSA, RAND Water, Water Research Commission (WRC), MTN South Africa, and GroundTruth for providing support to the water summit over the years.