Through its Working for Energy Programme, SANEDI (South African National Energy Development Institute) continues to spearhead its applied research mandate by bringing clean energy technologies’ awareness and access to low-income communities across the country.
These interventions also culminate in the development of new knowledge on how communities interact with technologies, and what improvements need to be undertaken to promote a better uptake of sustainability and circular economy interventions. This is done in partnership with leading organisations which also operate in these communities.
The University of Venda (UNIVEN) in Limpopo is leading the field in the research, development and demonstration of waste to energy conversion thanks to the partnership with SANEDI and other prominent local and international role players.
The University’s Green Technologies Promotion (UNIVEN Green Tech Promo) Drive has since 2009 embarked on various successful projects which include the completion of a waste to energy conversion training and awareness initiative in the Vhembe district in 2014. This project formed part of an overall green economy awareness programme that was sponsored by the Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (LEDET).
The UNIVEN’s Green Tech Promo Drive has also attracted other local and international support which includes the rollout of the GEF (Global Environment Fund) project, Promoting Organic Waste-to-Energy and Other Low-Carbon Technologies in Small and Medium and Micro-Scale Enterprises (SMMEs): Accelerating Biogas Market Development, administered by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).
During this period SANEDI co-financed the UNIVEN Green Tech Promo Drive project aimed at enhancing awareness and capacity building amongst Limpopo’s women and youth skills development in clean energy technologies.
This culminated in the greening of the Mhingaville Early Childhood Development Centre, a project which saw the uptake of biogas digesters built by the Vatsekeme, a Community Based Organisation led by a woman – the organisation was also trained as part of the SANEDI partnership.
The above extended to the construction of an additional nine institutional size biogas systems in the Chavani village using additional local beneficiaries from the training of the partnership. UNIVEN is also currently assisting SANEDI with the impact assessment and restructuring of the Gawula Biogas Project for improved impact on the community.
The General Manager of Clean Energy at SANEDI, David Mahuma, said that they were pleased to support the various and ongoing projects at UNIVEN.
“They are doing tremendous work to support the communities to transit towards the circular economy, demonstrating how animal and farm waste can be reused to benefit local communities by providing cleaner-burning biogas and bio-fertiliser which enhance food production.”
Mahuma added that the university’s work with the women and youth of Limpopo has had an“indelible impact that will impart skills, create sustainable jobs and best practices for years to come.”
Limpopo municipalities such as the Capricorn District Municipality (CDM) are also supporting the UNIVEN Green Tech Promo Drive which offers solutions to women and youth unemployment, poverty alleviation, addressing inequality, addressing cooking energy shortages, enhancing food security and other climate change impacts like the reduction of greenhouse gases emissions.
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