South Africa commemorated Youth Month in June and in pursuit of youth empowerment, skills development, job creation and entrepreneurship, the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) hosted a three-day National Water and Sanitation Sector Youth Indaba, to open up dialog and public discourse on the role of young leaders in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH).

The Quarterly Labor Force Survey (QLFS) for the first quarter of 2022, reported that the unemployment rate was 63,9% for those aged 15-24 and 42,1% for those aged 25-34 years. The program coordinator for scientific discipline at DWS Learning Academy, Susan Andrews, urged the youth to consider studying technical courses in order to fill the skills gap within the water and sanitation sector. South Africa is facing a massive shortage of critical scarce skills in the STEM (science, technology, engineering & math’s) sectors, as well as aging human capital – a large number of scientists and engineers are approaching retirement and South Africa needs to develop a skilled workforce to elevate the high unemployment numbers of the youth.

In Africa, a common element of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) interventions is the goal of empowerment of beneficiaries, particularly poor households. Empowerment is an important development goal in itself, as well as a way to obtain improved WASH outcomes. However, for South Africa empowerment is a complex and multi-dimensional concept that requires the private and government sectors to work together.

We believe in skills transfer and empowerment of the youth, to give a voice to young passionate water leaders that want to be a part of the growing water technology sector – in the Republic and with the international community. Our technology and design application encourages youth to take concrete actions on the ground to influence and implement actions at local and regional levels based on enhanced skills and knowledge on new technologies.

Water is a driver of economic growth and inclusion. MEB engineering, procurement and construction projects engage local partnerships to empower those who want to be a part of the technology revolution in the water sector.