Second edition of TCS Sustainathon South Africa to tackle sustainable water and sanitation

8th August 2023 By: Natasha Odendaal - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

The second edition of TCS Sustainathon South Africa has been launched under the theme ‘Sustainable Water and Sanitation Management’, encouraging entrants to develop solutions for the country’s water and sanitation challenges.

TCS unveiled the challenge, which is open until August 31, with partners Geekulcha, UbuhleBakhe Water and SkillsLAB.

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

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

This year’s Sustainathon aligns with Goal 6 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, aimed at achieving universal, equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for everyone.

Water and sanitation remain pressing global concerns, with about two-billion people lacking access to safe drinking water and 3.6-billion people using 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.

“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,” said uBuhleBakhe Water founder and CEO Colleen Makola, adding that the challenge is a great way to drive positive change and create a lasting impact in South Africa.

Geekulcha cofounder Mixo Ngoveni said that collaboration is the key to innovation and that the company is excited to partner with TCS Sustainathon to provide a platform for South Africa’s youth to collaborate with private companies, nonprofit organisations and government agencies to cocreate solutions to the country’s water and sustainability challenges.

“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," concluded SkillsLAB founder and broad-based black economic empowerment information and communications technology sector charter council chairperson Andile Tlhoaele.

Entrants have until August 31 to make an online submission of their solution proposal, with 10 finalists selected by September 10.

Following this, the finalists will have a chance to prepare their presentation for the grand finale event on October 2, where the winning TCS Sustainathon team will be awarded a cash prize of R30 000, while second place will win R20 000 and third place R10 000. All finalists will receive R5 000.

TCS Sustainathon, a global initiative that is also held in the UK, Europe, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand and India, aims to inspire the youth to envision a sustainable future by leveraging digital technologies to solve real-world problems.