The first 50 learners to form cohort 1 of the Next Engineers: Engineering Academy in Johannesburg were selected and given their first design challenge to tackle. The learners were divided into groups of 5 and each group was assigned to a Teacher Assistant (Wits University post-graduate students). Mr. Rupert Hermanus of the Gauteng Department of Education was also present to show the department's support and endorsement of the program. PROTEC, Wits University and the Kutitiva Foundation have shown a great deal of teamwork when designing the program and the selection test for the final 50 learners.
Participants and their parents are thrilled to be some of the first beneficiaries of this awesome initiative. After being divided into groups of five, different scenarios (places, landscapes, roof types, average rainfall received) were given to the participants to discuss and come up with solutions to water shortages, collect rainwater and how to clean the collected water, making it ready for consumption and domestic use.
Some of the possible methods to clean the collected rainwater that the learners came up with were boiling the water in large quantities, desalinating the water and using chemicals to clean the water. For the distribution of the water, the learners suggested using large tankers and connecting water pipes so that every area can have access to clean water. Their research content comprised of different roof pitches, surrounding structures and different ways to maximize water collection. This research was done with the assistance of the GE volunteers, PROTEC Alumni, Teaching Assistants and the some of the Wits University academic staff.
The entire Next Engineers fraternity looks forward to seeing what design the participants will come up with!