EWB-Maties: Review 2018

29 Nov 2018 11:33 PM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)

2018 Project Highlights

Human Centred Design and Personal Development Course

Over the last few years, EWB-SA have encouraged chapters to host Human Centred Design events which aim to enrich our members’ understanding of the importance of sustainable design, focusing on problems that aim to fulfil real human needs. It was identified that for Human Centred Design to be effective, the people implementing such thinking and problem solving need to understand the impact they have as individuals on the success and/or failure of such solutions. To address this issue, EWB-Maties and EWB-UCT hosted a collaborative workshop on Human Centred Design, Design Thinking and Personal Development. The workshop took place in May at the Faculty of Engineering at Stellenbosch University.

The workshop was facilitated by six Corporate and Executive coaches. The coaches helped probe discussions with our members into how they believe they are making a difference and how to further utilize their skills to make a societal and personal sustainable change.

For the Human Centred Design part of the workshop, Dr Keneilwe Munyai (from the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design Thinking) gave a 2-hour crash course on Design Thinking, after which participants were given problems to tackle with the design thinking approach under time pressure. This exercise helped to reveal the importance of designing to understand the problem, so that the solution obtained is sure to solve the correct problem that it remains sustainable in the long run.

Computer Literacy Course

This project was started with the aim of working towards closing the digital divide in schools by teaching computer skills to a group of grade 8 scholars. The benefits that computers bring to facilitate education is outstanding, so it was thought to start with the youngest high school learners so that they can develop their skills throughout their school career before hopefully continuing with tertiary education.

The main goals of this project were to:

  • Create lessons that foster an appreciation for computers and other ICT’s
  • Create an educational environment that is appealing to students
  • Encourage and teach learners to become confident with computer literacy tools and knowledge

A challenge for this project was achieve the above goals in the context of an under-resourced school whose students have limited computer access.

The Computer Literacy project was started in the second term at Kayamandi High School. The plan was to run the project over two terms, with the lessons be spaced out (2 per week), so that learners would have a long enough time period to absorb the knowledge and practice their skills. This long time frame was decided on because of a recommendation made by the project leader that ran this project in 2017. It was suggested that the length of the project be increased because in 2017 the learner received too much information in too little time, so they couldn’t remember all the skills taught to them.

The first part of the project ran relatively smoothly then it was put on pause (because of university and school exams) with the plan to continue after the holiday. After the holiday the principle of the school informed the project leader that too many learners had failed their June exams, so they requested that the project be put on hold so that the learners could focus on their academics. After a while it was agreed that the project can recommence. Unfortunately, soon after this strikes started in Kayamandi and it was advised for our members not too travel to Kayamandi. After this, the executive team decided to cease the project, as it was dragging out and wouldn’t be finished in time to not clash with other projects.

Maties PAWS Collaboration

In EWB-Maties executive committee decided to look into how to our chapter can impact society as a whole – people, animals, and the environment they live in. A proposition was made to do a collaborative project with EWB-Maties and the Maties animal welfare group (PAWS). The advantages behind this collaboration were that PAWS had the connections to local animal shelters and knew where to identify the need, and EWB-Maties could contribute the technical ideas and assistance on how to solve the problems identified.

The project started with an investigative outing to an Animal Welfare Shelter just outside of Stellenbosch. On this trip, the project team identified a list of problems that could be solved at the facility. The most pressing problem was the lack of heat in the puppy kennels – young puppies were dying because of the cold. Due to budget restrictions, the team could only choose to tackle one problem this year and the heat problem was chosen. Puppies make a big mess on the floor and it has to be cleaned often to keep them and the kennels sterile. It’s for this reason that the simple solution of blankets or laying anything on the floor could not be used, therefore it was decided to install wall heaters to heat the kennels.

A couple weeks were used to plan, collect quotes, and order parts. The final day of installing the wall heaters took place at the end of July, soon after the university June/July holiday.

the beginning of the year, the

Career Expo and Application Run

The Career Expo was a workshop planned for grade 11 and 12 learners, with the aim of showing scholars what career options are available for them to follow - as most of them are unaware of what is out there. The plan for the day was for EWB-Maties members to discuss various career fields such as business, tourism, education etc with the scholars of Kayamandi High School, to give them insight into what options the different career fields entail. As well as career information, the members would present a brief introduction on the different tertiary institutions that the scholars would qualify to apply for.

The Application Run is a follow on of the Career Expo, it was scheduled to happen the weekend following the Career Expo (also at Kayamandi High School). The Application Run is a workshop where EWB-Maties members help learners apply for tertiary institutions. Volunteers would need to check learner’s academic transcripts to see which of their interests they qualify to apply for, and then assist the scholars with the online forms and other aspects of the application process.

This project had to be called off due to too few member signups. This project was planned to happen early in the third quarter, but the Computer Literacy Project and Maties PAWS project were pushed back to later in the year so they overlapped with the Career Expo and Application Run dates. This meant that members were tied up in other projects at the time of the Career Expo and Application Run, so there were too few people that could commit to this one as well.

Solar Generator Mentorship

The aim on the Solar Generator project is to teach a selected group of high school student about solar energy and how to build their own portable solar generator, which they get to keep afterwards. Due to the deadline for this report, the outcomes of this project won’t be included here because this project is currently still running. The plans for the Solar Generator Mentorship project are described below, but the outcomes will be recorded in next year’s report.

The first part of the project will consist of 4 lessons spaced over 2 weeks, where EWB-Maties members will present a class to teach the students about solar energy, why renewable energy is important, solar generators, and how to use basic electrical equipment. The second part of the project will be the building of the generators. EWB-Maties will spend a day with the students to facilitate and guide them through the building process for their mini generator, and to help them with the tasks they won’t be able to do. It will be important that the learners physically build the generator themselves so that they can get maximum learning out of the activity, with EWB members just overseeing the process.

Lunchbox – Giving Day Move4Food

In 2018 Stellenbosch University started an initiative called Giving Day, which is an annual charity drive that will have a different cause each year. The cause this year was student hunger. The idea behind this initiative is to get the whole university body (students, lecturers, employees etc) to raise awareness and donate money or food for students that can’t afford to buy their own food.

EWB-Maties was recruited to build a massive “Lunchbox” styled collection box for one of the campaigns they are going to run, which is a food collection station in the main student food hub. EWB-Maties were given the task (and a budget) by the university to design the 135m3 box, source the materials, erect the box, manage and organise the collected goods inside throughout the week that the campaign will run, and dismantle the box after the campaign is finished.

This is a very exciting project for EWB-Maties because it is the first of its kind in the country, and it will target a big audience and hopefully make a great beneficial impact on the cause. This project is currently still running, so the outcomes can only be recorded in next year’s report.

2019 Proposed Projects Ideas And Suggestions


  • Seek external funding from local engineering companies.
  • Reach more students through society fairs of all the other societies
  • Strengthen our relationship with ESC (Engineering Student Council).

Project Ideas and 2018 Reflections.

  • Design a signage for kayamandi railway crossing. There’s basically a taxi rank of some sort close to the area, with a few informal businesses. There’s no sign of the railway whatsoever. I believe a simple sign, or a few of them informing the residents of the railway would be helpful.
  • From 2018, the projects were a huge success with a few shortcomings. We however, intend to keep the following:
  • Computer literacy is good project but it hasn’t been very successful this year. We can review that and see what we can fix or improve on.
  • The solar generator has gained good traction from the past two years and we intend to keep it and increase the number of learners involved.
  • The move4food campaign was a huge success. And this is the one project that stood out for us and got us into all the right places. This society has become evident on campus and surrounding areas because of it.


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