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Empowering Youth To Lead The Charge: TCS Sustainathon South Africa Tackles Sustainable Water And Sanitation

  • 4 min read

TCS has launched the second edition of TCS Sustainathon South Africa, with partners Geekulcha, UbuhleBakhe Water, and SkillsLAB under a theme critically important to the country: “Sustainable Water and Sanitation Management”.

TCS Sustainathon is a global challenge that aims to inspire the youth to envision a sustainable future by leveraging digital technologies to solve real-world problems. It is a platform that enables our young minds to collaborate with private companies, non-profit organisations, and government agencies to co-create solutions to sustainability challenges.

TCS Sustainathon was launched last year to great success, exposing students to many of the real-life environmental issues and challenges facing South Africa today, and providing a platform to address these problems through policy, design, and innovation.

“We are proud to be able to help empower our country’s young people to make a difference through TCS Sustainathon,” says TCS Country Head for South Africa Langa Dube. “We also provide mentorship and access to corporate South Africa, which we believe inspires them to advocate for a more sustainable world.”

This year’s theme of “Water and Sanitation for All” aligns with Goal 6 of the United Nation (UN) Sustainable Development Goals, aimed at achieving universal, equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for everyone. TCS is a registered UN partner, and has collaborated with the organisation on numerous initiatives. 

“We look forward to working with young people on their TCS Sustainathon ideas, and together  coming up with sustainable, practical solutions, to help our country meet its water and sanitation needs,” says Colleen Makola, CEO / Founder of uBuhleBakhe Water™. “The challenge is a great way to drive positive change and create a lasting impact in South Africa.”

Water and sanitation are pressing global concerns. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), around 2 billion people lack safe drinking water, and 3,6 billion people – almost half the world’s population – use sanitation services that leave human waste untreated

Each year at least 1.4 million people – many of them children – die from preventable causes linked to unsafe water and poor sanitation. In South Africa, deadly cholera outbreaks have returned.

“We are excited to partner with TCS Sustainathon in providing a platform for our country’s brightest young minds to collaborate with private companies, non-profit organizations, and government agencies to co-create solutions to our country’s water and sustainability challenges,” says Mixo Ngoveni, Co-Founder of Geekulcha. “Collaboration is the key to innovation.

The objective of TCS Sustainathon South Africa is to empower and engage young individuals, aged 18+, including current students and graduates from any university in South Africa, to tackle pressing societal and sustainability issues.”

“Embracing the power of design thinking, TCS Sustainathon unites students and startups to address water issues. Together, we innovate and take on social responsibility, fostering a brighter society where creative solutions flow, making a lasting impact on our communities.” Said Andile Tlhoaele, Chairperson of BBBEE ICT Sector Charter Council and Founder of SkillsLAB. 

TCS Sustainathon 2023 is open to anyone over 18. Details about the challenge are available on the TCS Sustainathon website. The Sustainathon takes place in three steps.

Step 1: Entrants can read through a set of challenge statements and select one.

Step 2: Entrants have until 31 August to make an online submission of their solution proposal.

Step 3: Ten finalists will be selected by 10 September. They will then have the chance to prepare their presentation for the grand finale event on 2 October.

TCS Sustainathon is a global initiative that is also held in the UK, Europe, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, and India. 

The winning TCS Sustainathon team will collect a cash prize of R30 000, while second place will win R20 000, and third place R10 000. All finalists will receive R5 000.