IWSN Africa students scoop prestigious awards

Yolandi Schoeman (front left); Naledi Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology (front centre)
Yolandi Schoeman (front left); Naledi Pandor, Minister of Science
and Technology (front centre)

Yolandi Schoeman recently won the Global Cleantech Innovation Programme for SMEs in South Africa, hosted by the Department of Science and Technology’s Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), as part of a global initiative that aims to identify and support small businesses and startups that provide clean technology solutions.

Her creative wetland in a box system emanates from her masters work, which looks at floating wetlands as an ecological technology to enhance water quality. aWetbox – or a wetland in a box – is a cost-effective, nature-based grey water treatment system that eliminates 99% of disease-causing micro-organisms and improves water quality for household use by up to 80%.

After winning the award Mrs Schoeman said: “Winning the award has been a life changing event for me and an absolute honour. It also confirmed that the world is ready for nature-based ecologically-engineered solutions that tackle real sustainability challenges.”

Yolandi with her nature-based grey water treatment system

Yolandi is currently in her final year of MPhil Integrated Water Management studies at Monash South Africa. Her research examines the effects of floating wetlands on water quality of static water bodies. She is also the CEO of a company called Baoberry which specialises in ecological engineering and services.

Yolandi also recently attended the Lloyd’s Register Foundation ‘Bringing Safety To Life’ conference in London where she presented a paper entitled: ‘A green technology developed in treating polluted aquatic ecosystems ecologically intelligently – Floating Treatment Wetland Islands’, which was very warmly received by all participants. “Attending and presenting at the LRF Conference was an absolute honour and an unforgettable experience. It will always remain one of the highlights of my career and life. Attending and being able to present at the conference, on what I am passionate in doing every single day of my life just ignited water security innovation more in me and also made me realise that there is still much to do in water security to come up with real sustainable solutions that can really make a huge impact on the lives of people every day, today and tomorrow.”

Nkosinomusa with her thesis

Recently completed MPhil IWM student, Nkosinomusa Ncube, achieved the top academic mark of all masters students at MSA for the 2016 academic year and was recognised at an awards ceremony held on 25 October 2016. In additional to receiving an official certificate and letter of congratulations Ms Ncube also won a laptop to further her research as a working professional.

Nkosi’s research focused on small scale outgrower schemes in Zambia. Sugar cultivation in Zambia requires irrigation and because it is costly, water is a significant cost in production. The capacity to manage water use affects returns to the outgrowers and the larger industry. She illustrated how two different models affect the development of capacity among small scale outgrowers and their participation in governance.

Ms Ncube, who now works at Sustainability Truthing as a Sustainability Consultant, was extremely honoured to have received the award, saying she could not have done it without all the help and support she received from MSA staff and IWSN.