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Ford Motor Company continues building on its commitment to empowering the youth through education with the announcement of the winners of the Ford College Community Challenge (C3), run in partnership with global non-profit organisation Enactus.

The fifth round of the Enactus Ford C3 Building Sustainable Communities Project in South Africa for 2018/2019 saw four universities selected as winners last year. Each team was presented with a trophy for the successful implementation of their pioneering student-led initiatives at the Enactus National Competition held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg yesterday.

Ford C3 is a signature educational programme of the Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company. In partnership with Enactus, it promotes the development of innovative solutions amongst university students to address critical needs in their communities. Projects are supported in Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, South Africa, Brazil, the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom, striving to create a more sustainable place to live and work.

“We are extremely proud of the concepts the student teams came up with for making a difference in their communities, and are inspired by the positive impact they have made,” says Neale Hill, Managing Director, Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa.

“It is apt that during Mandela Month in July, we celebrate the empowerment of youth through education which was one of Nelson Mandela’s key principles. These students are the agents of change and the leaders of the future as they set the example for others to follow.”

The Durban University of Technology created the Kotshiza Pig Farming project that partnered with a hotel in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, to use its waste food – including fruit, vegetables and bread – to supplement pig feed in support of a local farmer. Waste food is also mixed with pig manure to produce an organic fertilizer that is used for the farm’s crops, thus creating a sustainable cycle of recycling.

Students at the University of Cape Town initiated the Imvotho project to introduce fog catchers as an innovative, simple and cost-effective system for sustainable rain water harvesting, which is used for gardening.

Water was also the focus for the University of Fort Hare team, as the students developed a grey water purification system that is easy and efficient to use.

Providing food security was the motivation behind the University of Pretoria’s Patio Pallet project, which developed a vertical farming model that can be easily produced and sold to schools, hospitals and other organisations. It also addressed agricultural and horticultural skills development, along with entrepreneurial action in the community.

New finalists selected for 2019/2020

The finalists selected for the sixth cycle of the Enactus Ford C3 national competition have been announced, each of which will receive grants to implement their projects over the next 12 months.

“The new group of finalists chosen for the 2019/2020 Enactus Ford College Community Challenge has presented equally inspiring projects, and we wish them every success as they set out to build sustainable communities,” Hill states.

“As evidenced by many of these projects, it’s often simple, inexpensive solutions that present the greatest opportunity to address the wide range of economic and social challenges we face in South Africa.”

The Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town was chosen for its Grow a Seed Urban Farming project which aims to address two of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Decent Work and Economic Growth, and Responsible Production and Consumption. It will introduce aeroponics to the Khayelitsha farming community as a sustainable farming method where produce is grown in nutrient-rich water that is circulated continuously around the system. This ensures that the plants receive adequate water and nutrients without being planted in soil.

At the Mangosuthu University of Technology near Durban, solar panels are being installed in a local community centre that was not being utilised. This system recharges a clever portable lighting device the team developed titled Ukukhanya which, loosely translated, means “providing light”. It is made from a two-litre bottle, LED bulb, resistor, wires, switch, battery holder and a removable and rechargeable 3.7V lithium battery. It is used mainly by learners as they study in the evenings.

Food security in township areas takes priority for the student team from University of KwaZulu-Natal as it introduces Project Sack Space – a cost-effective form of vertical farming for low-income households. This enables planting the fresh vegetables in larger quantities in a limited space, which makes it more practical than conventional farming.

At the University of the Free State’s QwaQwa Campus, the student team will be assisting an existing farm, Shayuphondo, with the introduction of organic farming practices, and developing its employees with business management skills and the establishment of additional business ventures to create more sustainable income for the beneficiaries. Rural women and men, as well as the youth of Msinga, will benefit from this project.

Enactus is a global non-profit organization that brings together students, academic professionals and business leaders who are committed to using entrepreneurial action to improve lives. It mobilizes over 1 730 university programs and more than 72 000 students in 37 countries across the globe.

An annual series of regional and national competitions provides a forum for teams to showcase the impact of their outreach efforts, and to be evaluated by executives serving as judges. National champion teams advance to the prestigious Enactus World Cup to experience excellence in competition, collaboration and celebration. The 2019 Enactus World Cup will be held in San Jose, California in the US from 16 to 18 September.

Now in its 11th year, the Ford College Community Challenge program has awarded more than USD3-million to more than 125,000 students around the world. For more information, please visit: http://fordblueovalnetwork.org/ford-college-community-challenge.