By Alida Divine Irambona
The eagerly awaited pitches competition has finally arrived. In the air as all the participating groups assemble, there is a palpable sense of tension and anticipation. During breakfast, there is a flurry of “Are you ready?” questions. What time is the day’s schedule? Thankfully, one of the supervisors mentioned that the pitches will start at 3:00 p.m., thereby decreasing some of the anxiety. The participants then board the buses that will transport them to the esteemed location, the Netherlands embassy.
The deputy mayor of Ethequini, one of the distinguished guests who attends the Co Create My CITY Durban event, opens it, and extends a warm welcome to everyone. The Netherlands’ ambassador to South Africa enters the room, adding to the occasion’s significance by expressing his sincere gratitude for the two nations’ cooperation. He emphasizes the importance of sharing knowledge and working together to develop long-term solutions to water problems. We would also want to emphasize that Cecilia Chamutota, the deputy minister of public works, housing, and water resources for Mozambique, was honoured during the occasion for graduating from the wetskills program.
As the clock strikes 3:00 p.m., a buzz of anticipation fills the room as the Wetskills participants gather for the long-awaited pitching session. The air is filled with a mix of nerves and excitement, as each group prepares to present their projects to a panel of judges. One by one, the groups take their turns, stepping up to the front with confidence and enthusiasm. Two weeks of hard work, countless hours of research and preparation, and a deep commitment to their cause are about to be showcased.
During the pitching session, the judges adopt a role of attentive listeners, absorbing the presentations and carefully analysing the projects before them. While they are limited to posing just one question per presentation, each question carries significant weight and provides an opportunity for participants to further elaborate on their ideas.
Throughout the day, a spirit of collaboration and support prevails among the participants, despite the underlying sense of competition. Nerves are shared, last-minute advice is exchanged, and words of encouragement are offered to alleviate the jitters. The camaraderie among the participants is palpable.
As the day unfolds, excitement fills the room. Each presentation leaves a lasting impression on the judges and the audience. The showcased innovations and solutions exemplify the potential to make a positive impact on the environment, communities, and the economy.
After careful deliberation, the judging panel announces the winners of the pitch competition. It is a moment of celebration and triumph for those whose hard work, dedication, and ingenuity are acknowledged. However, every participant feels a sense of accomplishment, knowing they have contributed to a valuable learning experience and to the collective effort of finding sustainable solutions.
The event culminates with a closing ceremony, where everyone who got a chance to have a speech commend the participants for their commitment to environmental sustainability. The stage became a platform for heartfelt speeches as each speaker encourages these bright minds to carry their efforts far beyond the confines of the competition. They encouraged the participants to carry their efforts forward beyond the competition.
The pitch competition was a testament to the power of collaboration, innovation, and the collective will to create a sustainable future. It served as a reminder that even the most daunting challenges, such as water challenges, can be overcome through ingenuity, dedication, and the shared commitment of passionate individuals.