vrijdag 6 juni 2014

And the winners are....All or...

27 May by Nancy Seleki

And the winners are …. All or ….

The 27th was the second day of the WISA conference and it was the day of the final presentations for the Wetskills program. After many days working from 8.00 till 22.00 this was the day to present our innovative solutions and thoughts!

The day started very well with a healthy breakfast from Bundu Lodge. At 08.00 everyone departed to Mbombela Stadium where all the activities were going to take place. When we arrived at the stadium we received a very good motivation from our supervisor Nakampe Modikel. Some of us were extremely nervous about the presentation and he indeed managed to calm us down. Ntabiseng opened the day with a short prayer that gave us hope and confidence.

We went to the Giraffe conference room to commence with our presentations. Janneke gave a brief presentation on the Wetskills program and shared with the audience all the activities that the YWP’s had been busy with since our arrival at Mpumalanga. The teams were randomly selected to present. Team Lerothodi was chosen to be the first ones to do their pitch and the other 3 teams followed.  After the presentations some of the delegates visited the posters and had a discussion with the relevant team members.

At about 14.00 we then went back to the Lodge to freshen up and get ready for the Gala Dinner. We returned to Mbombela Stadium and found our tables in the Elephant room. The event went very well and the winner of the Wetskills South Africa Challenge 2014 was announced: Team Lerothodi won the competition !!! Nthabisent Masehla gave a vote of thanx to all the people who had contributed on their case study. All the Wetskills participants were called to the stage to congratulate the winners and pictures were taken with the whole group.

It was really an amazing experience for all of us to be part of Wetskills South Africa 2014. We were then given an opportunity to take a few pictures with the Rand Water Board members and some of the delegates that were present. After the award ceremony, the after party began and we had fun dancing, networking and congratulated the winners even more.

After many hours the ywp’s decided to go back to Bundu Lodge for a pool party. Yes, it was indeed a day that we will never forget !

WISA starts!

26 May by Chriselda Makhafola

WISA starts!

Already early in the morning we went to the Mbombela Stadium for the official opening ceremony for WISA 2014 in Nelspruit Province. It started with Mr Anil Singh – Deputy General Director of Water Affairs and Sanitation. He spoke of focus on critical issues and providing innovative solutions for the country.
Mr Sabelo Mahlalela, a motivational speaker, said that inspiration was drawn from God who created the universe. God created water and that is life. Trust in the Lord and He will direct you and have passion in whatever you do. There is a Power in your tongue.

At midday it was time for the young water professionals. Ms Suvirtha Ramphal addressed us. As ywp’s we are to provide innovative solutions and generate of adaptive idealist to survive in this competitive world.

After this it was time for a cocktail party with the Dutch delegation and everyone, our whole team, was invited to come and join the networking.

It was nice to be networking with people from WISA, IWA and other ywp’s from all over the world as it is important to assist one another with
ü  knowledge sharing
ü  skill building
ü  and capacity building
in order to build innovative and quality leaders

In other words: hold down, the light is about to shine

Posters, pitches and almost start of WISA

Sunday 25  of May by Jan Menkveld

Posters, pitches and almost start of WISA

After a relatively short night and a heavy breakfast , we continued working on the comments that we received on de poster the day before.  We had to finish all the deliverables before 3 p.m. Eventually everybody succeeded to finish in time. The posters were looking very professional.

Beside finishing the posters and the memo’s, the pitches that every group has to give on Tuesday also needed more work. This gave some extra stress! And we had extra confusion as the person who was assigned to give the pitch had to change. The reason was that the presenters where all from South Africa. After some discussion, all four groups changed their presenters. Now the new presenters have some extra pressure, because they only have two more days to prepare the pitch.  

In de evening we went to the football stadium in Nelspruit to meet the Dutch delegation. Everybody was dressed semi-official, which must have looked very special, because people started taking hundreds of pictures. After meeting the Dutch delegation and some explaining about the WISA conference, we went to the Elephant room (a tent). Here we met a lot of other people attending WISA. The atmosphere was very good.

After this party a few people went to Nelspruit to go out for dinner. The others went back to the Bundu Lodge. Monday, and WISA will start officially !

First presentation of poster & pitch!

24 May 2014 by Mashudu Tharaga

First presentation of poster & pitch!

The day was well spent with an aim of impressing our honourable crew of South African & Dutch experts. The teams were finalizing the memos, posters and the pitch practices since the morning hours immediately after breakfast.
During the afternoon some participants were as busy as the bees in such a way that they did not even grab a single snack striving to get a job well done. Some of our Dutch experts arrived early for the attendance of the pitch practices and that have gave us the opportunity to meet and social-network with them. People like Mrs Agnes Maenhout the owner of the team 4 case study owner.
We also celebrated Neusa’s birthday by singing together. She also received the nice gift from the supervisor’s crew. She was so happy and she is been offered the cup cake from the Bundu Lodge kitchen.

Dutch and South African experts then introduced themselves.  Followed by Janneke who announced how the programme is going to be run.
Presentations practice was performed and the posters were also presented as per each team.

It was a very interesting programme or session seeing young water professionals dishing in their ideas to build one another and to have something to carry with in our minds as our homework.

Although there were lots of the suggestions, recommendations and changes to be made we believed that we are still on a right track to give great presentations. It has been a great experience pitching within a short space of time.

Afterwards we were given a chance to social-network with the Dutch experts over a glass of wine and some refreshments!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

zaterdag 24 mei 2014

5 days and still working hard on pitch, poster and memo

23 May by Sihle Magaga

Five days into the official WETSKILLSSA2014 and we were all still hard at work. The fun and games (Team Building) of the Kruger National Park have since faded into the distant memory as we look towards the deadline in the next 2 days. The past few days have been a lot of hard work and today was no different, if anything we are starting to feel the pressure as the poster, pitch and memo are not where we want them to be.

Anyway, the day started off on a very festive note. It was Marga’s birthday and we took the opportunity to wish her a great XXth birthday (You never ask a woman her age). Unfortunately, that’s where the festivities started and ended for day (except for the cake and a bit of dancing in the evening of course) as we once again got back work.

Happy Birthday Marga !!!

"Moves like Jagger"

The rest of the day was a typical day. Typical meaning that you think you are on the right track only to be “hurricaned” by one of the supervisors. So it was business usual as I heard that “Hurricane Nakampe” hit some parts of WETSSKILLSSA2014 land. Tough times.

The aftermath of Hurricane Nakampe 

As usual we signed off at 22:00 with sleep the only thing on our minds.

Working day 4: Proceeding towards ‘somewhere’

Thursday 22 May by Frank Meijns

Everyone arrived for breakfast at the usual time between 7 and 8 am. The sky was clouded and the temperatures were considerably lower than the days before. With the WISA conference being only 4 days away the pressure was rising and the groups started working on their cases early. The schedule was empty so the entire day could be used to work on the cases.

Our team, ‘Team 2’, continued working on the case of providing water and sanitation in rural communities. There were some intense discussions during the morning but fortunately Nakampe came by to provide us with some new insights and a lunchbox. We are well taken care of by this man.

Later in the afternoon three senior members from Waterschap Groot-Salland (a Dutch water board) came by to have a look at the program and to meet the participants. They had a chat with most of the participants and were really interested in what solution everyone had come up with. They were most interested in Team 1 as they were working on the case that was provided by the Waterschap. So the pressure was on team 1 now who had to explain their ideas with regards to the ‘App’ they are developing. Of course this also provided a nice discussion on which possible directions to take.

Once the sun had set, work was halted as the plan was to go ‘somewhere’ at 6:30 pm. Nina decided to order snails, for some a great delicacy and for others not so much. After some serious peer pressure Anna and I joined in some sort of fear factor exercise and ate the snails without throwing up and being applauded loudly by the group. They weren’t so bad actually. Gao’s meal on the other hand had a mishap so she received a new plate. The food was studied with great care - even a pH meter was offered but did not turn out to be necessary.

After dinner we went ‘somewhere’ which turned out to be a difficult place to find. We first went to Nakampe’s hotel where we had to wait for him for a while for reasons yet to be known (somebody suggested he had to put on make-up). After that we visited a cement factory which was quite interesting to see by night, but not the place we were looking for. Fortunately Erin took over and brought us to the location we were actually aiming for, which was a bar near Crocodile River. 

This bar turned out to have a rather homogeneous audience of middle aged men drinking and talking about their business. We shared drinks and had a good time, we were being hugged and got served beverages by the lovely waitress Chelsea. When the bar was closing we left and the bill was ‘taken care of’ by an unknown beneficiary. Part of the group went home right after that, another group went to a club which they could enter after performing some serious dance moves. Later on when the club closed they continued the party with a local DJ on the parking lot who played his set on the front of his car.

At about 1 am everyone went to bed after a long day filled with both hard work and great fun.

Pitch & Poster training

21 May 2014 by Gaopalelwe “Gao” Meraba

In life you are never certain on what tomorrow will bring. The only trick you need is to commit to the task you have set out to do regardless of what may happen. This day started on a low for most of us as we were so exhausted from staying till late the previous night plus that the weather conditions were not that favourable.

The only thing that kept us going was the activities that were set for the day. This was mainly cantered round continuing working on our group case studies. The interesting part was really when Jannekke gave a presentation on how to make a poster and an elevator pitch. This was mainly because most of these concepts were not that new to most of us. Now we have the opportunity to practice or sharpen them.

What really stood out for me with regards to the poster was that we must be as relevant as possible. With the pitch the key is to leave the audience begging for more. It was in fact clear from the group discussion that most of us have learned the do’s and don’ts of how to put a poster together and give a brilliant elevator pitch.

With all that morning activity it was then time to drive back from the venue at Protea Hotel to Bundu Lodge. On arrival, with the sun now being out, the trampoline and the swimming pool proved to be more favourable as we all remembered that ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’. This break in transmission assisted very much as the energy was now very high and work could continue.

As jokes and laughter was shared amongst friends who in less than a week ago were strangers, goes to show that no man is indeed an island. ‘Ubuntu’ (The spirit of togetherness) amongst the delegates still remains the order of the day.

When I now look back on the day is how it is never how you start that matters but rather how you finish.

Team 2: Trampoline at the lodge