Wetskills-South Africa 2021

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Wetskills-South Africa 2021

February 25 - March 11

About The Event

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Join the fifth Wetskills Water Challenge in South Africa!

(note: this event has been postponed to 26 November – 9 December due to coronavirus)

The Wetskills Foundation invites Diploma, Bachelor, Master, PhD students and recent graduates (Young Professionals with max. 5 years working experiences) with a passion for water to apply for the Wetskills Water Challenge programme in Johannesburg/Pretoria, South Africa, from 26 November to 9 December 2020. With water higher on everyone’s agenda than ever because of the persistent drought, your solutions to pressing water issues are urgently needed. Apply for this unique opportunity!

Wetskills Foundation and partners, Department for Water and Sanitation, Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands, Water Institute of Southern Africa and Blue Deal programme, are preparing the fifth Wetskills Water Challenge in South Africa.

Previous events were: Cape Town 2012, Nelspruit 2014, Durban 2016 and Cape Town 2018. Read more about the great finals at the WISA 2018 Conference in Cape Town in presence of Minister Gugile Nkwinti of Water and Sanitation of South Africa, and Dutch Special Water Envoy Henk Ovink.

Participants will work together in mixed teams on water challenges provided by organizations of the local and international water sector. This edition of Wetskills will take the participants to Gauteng region, with Johannesburg and Pretoria, and its magnificent and interesting surroundings. They will get a two weeks progam with workshops and teamwork, visiting interesting water-related locations, and having the finals and awarding ceremony at the biannual WISA 2020 Conference.

While Wetskills is celebrating its 10 Years Jubilee, the 2020 central theme of Wetskills Events worldwide is:

'It was such a wonderful experience. I am so enthusiastic. I want more..' 🙂

Event info

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Deadline for registration:

Registration of candidates from South Africa: closed

Registration for Southern African and international participants: still open, some positions left First come, first served)

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The 2018 programme

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The 2018 Finals & Awarding

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Registration of candidates from South Africa: closed

Registration for Southern African and international participants: still open, some positions left First come, first served)

Who can apply?

Any Young Professional (up to 5 years of working experience) and student (last year Diploma (South Africa) / Bachelor, Master or PhD) from South Africa, Southern Africa, The Netherlands and other countries with a passion for water-energy-food and intercultural teamwork.

How can I apply?

Prepare a motivation letter and resume, click the botton on the right, fill out the online application form and submit it.

Selection criteria

The Wetskills organization will make a final selection among applications received, based on quality of motivation & resume. The organisation will also consider a good diversity of the whole group (incl. backgrounds, local/international, gender balance, etc.).


♦ Participation fee for international participants is € 325,- (excl. VAT). This participation fee includes accommodation, teambuilding activities, some lunches & dinners, field trips, workshop, supervision, trainings and working venues. Participants are responsible for their own travel expenses (plane tickets, local travel, etcetera), meals during working days and other personal costs. This fee does also not include the WISA fee (This year the reduced fee is approximately 200-250 euros).
♦  The Department for Water & Sanitation will provide 15 vouchers for local applicants to participate in the Wetskills programme.

Note: During past editions participants often successfully arranged financial compensation for their Wetskills participation from their university or employer. We therefore strongly encourage applicants to inquire about funding opportunities to compensate the costs (university mobility funds, travel allowance etc.).

Joining this Wetskills Event – What do you get?

A unique learning experience where you will tackle real-life water challenges with your own team!
♦ You will increase your skills in: international cooperation; problem solving, cross-cultural and interdisciplinary teamwork, networking and presenting (pitch & poster);
♦ You will get the opportunity to connect with other international water students/young professionals;
♦ You will exclusively visit the Wetskills finals and awarding at the WISA Conference in Sandton;
♦ You will visit Johannesburg, Pretoria and surroundings: water-related, natural and cultural sites, and meeting with water experts;
♦ You will learn, network and experience more about international and regional water challenges, the main stakeholders and organisations, contemporary issues and current business opportunities;
♦ You will receive a certificate of participation upon completion of the program.

More information

Interested candidates (local) can contact: Odwa Mtembu, Department for Water & Sanitation, odwa.mtembu@wetskills.com.
Interested candidates (international) can contact: Ioana Dobrescu, Water Footprint Implementation, ioana.dobrescu@wetskills.com.
♦ Organisations interested to join this event and submit a case, can contact: Johan Oost, johan.oost@wetskills.com.
♦ Other questions / feedback for this event: Johan Oost, johan.oost@wetskills.com.

Event Cases

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Do you also want to submit a challenge and get an out-of-the-box concept (Pitch and Poster) in this Wetskills-South Africa event, or one of the other Wetskills events worldwide? The Wetskills organization is looking for Case Owners: companies, knowledge institutes and organisations, that formulate their case and support the Wetskills programme. Read the Leaflet Case Owners Wetskills-South Africa 2020. For more information: contact Johan Oost, johan.oost@wetskills.com.

Case 1: Sustainable empowerment of local community for cleaning rivers

Case owner: Blue Deal South Africa (project uMsunduzi River)

The uMsunduzi and Umgeni River systems have become badly degraded through neglect and over exploitation. The mission of the Duzi-uMngeni Conservation Trust (DUCT) is to empower local citizens to be champions of the environment (Enviro-Champs) in their local community. Through a green livelihoods programme, people living adjacent to rivers are given the responsibility to adopt-a-stretch – cleaning, maintaining, greening, restoring, and undertaking citizen science monitoring on that section of the river. The challenge that DUCT now faces is how the program will be made (financially) sustainable. Government, private, and civil society partners all have something to give, and value to gain from being involved. How do we bring this together in a long-term sustainable way?

Case 2:

Case owner: Sasol

More information will follow.

Case 3: Swamp-friendly Water Hyacinth harvesting

Case owner: Blue Deal South Africa (project Vaal River)

The Vaal river is known for its poor water quality. The Blesbokspruit wetland (BBS), located in the Upper Vaal catchment, is one of the 26 RAMSAR sites in South Africa. The BSS is close to losing its status due to threats of pollution resulting in low water quality. One of the main challenges is the invasive alien species like the water hyacinth, which is well-known for its fast growing and destructive attitude. The water hyacinth is also a useful plant for improving water quality and purposes as energy production, water purification and building materials. The main question for the BBS: How can the water hyacinth be prevented spreading or collected in a sustainable and self-supportive way.

Case 4: 

Case owner: Blue Deal South Africa (project Crocodile River)

More information will follow.

Case 5: Investigating the impacts of stormwater drainage pollutants into the Roodeplaat Dam

Case owner: DWS NWRI

More information will follow.

Case 6: 

Case owner: 

More information will follow.

Previous events in South Africa

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Event Partners

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February 25
March 11
Event Category:


Sandton, Gauteng South Africa


Odwa Mtembu
Ioana Dobrescu
Peter de Jong
Johan Oost