Ford College Community Challenge


South Africa

Launched in: 2015
Application Timing: Jan. - March

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In partnership with global nonprofit Enactus, Ford Fund invites student teams to develop ideas for innovative projects that address an unmet social need or problem in the local community—ranging from safety to workforce development to access to mobility, and more. Each year, up to four Enactus student teams are selected to receive a $5,000 USD grant to implement their project. Through this program, students use entrepreneurial action to make people’s lives better and help their community become a more sustainable place to work and live.

2020 Ford College Community Challenge Winning Projects

Diverse group having a conversation in a field with mountains in the background

Central University of Technology: Bloemfontein

The Village Fa project is based in a community of approximately 770 people that suffer from poor soil conditions, climate effects, a high youth unemployment rate and a lack of capital for local economic development activities. Despite the problems, there is a great potential for agricultural development in the rural community. The project is divided into two phases: agriculture and construction. Enactus CUT (Central University of Technology) partnered with a local agricultural corporative, Village Fa Global Parliament, to help implement sustainable and cost-effective strategies within the community. These strategies include using two-liter bottles as part of the irrigation system, old refrigerators to store worms for vermiculture, livestock and food waste to create compost and wood to make beehives. The Enactus team also plans to implement water harvesting techniques to save on water bills. Village Fa Global Parliament corporative and the local youth corporative will farm crops that are suitable for their soil type. The produce will be sold to retailers and community members. Additionally, the farms will be used for research purposes by agricultural institutions. This will help the beneficiaries to continue functioning even when sales are not optimum, as they will have more than one revenue stream. Subsequently, Enactus CUT will generate revenue from the sale of the worms to the local and commercial farmers and through the sale of the packaged vermicompost, which helps nourish the soil before and after planting. The project aims to create a sustainable community and assist in reducing youth unemployment, urbanization, and poor living standards.

Purple shield logo for Rhodes University - where leaders learn

Rhodes University: Eastern Cape

Grahamstown is a small student-centered town, with a land area of just over 65 square kilometers, but there is no reliable transportation solution. The primary modes of transportation for those without motor vehicles are walking or minibus taxis. The Grahamstown E-Bikes project aims to make commuting within Grahamstown less expensive and more environmentally friendly through the renting of electric bicycles. The project promotes smart mobility by making commuting around town quicker, easier and more environmentally sustainable. The predominantly student-run project will enable students on the Enactus Rhodes team to refine their leadership and entrepreneurial skills. Having e-bikes available to rent will allow community members to become more productive by decreasing the time and/or cost of commuting. Enactus Rhodes plans to partner with Assumption Development Centre by serving as a source of alternate transportation for their trainees who have skills but are hindered from using them to earn a living within the community due to the high cost of transportation. The e-bikes will allow Assumption Development Centre members who have their own businesses to expand their current market to the greater Grahamstown area.

Orange and green logo featuring a shopping cart with a letter G growing leaves from the top

University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville Campus: Durban

Food insecurity among the South African university student population is a hidden challenge for both students and university management. A survey conducted at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) found that food security is a critical challenge. There is a direct correlation between nutrition and academic performance—poor nutrition leads to poor academic performance. SmartGro is a web-based application that addresses student food insecurity through smart grocery shopping. The app will assist students by allowing them to order their groceries online and have them delivered to their residences. The application will also provide convenience, smart shopping tips and educational content on healthy living. Furthermore, SmartGro will have a feature that provides financial literacy and budgeting workshops to students, which will help alleviate poor financial management, a contributor to food insecurity. Lastly, SmartGro will offer student businesses and university-based projects a platform to sell their products. Enactus UKZN’s SmartGro team will operate as buyers, purchasing the groceries at local supermarkets as per orders placed by students. The orders will then be delivered to the respective residences for an R20 delivery fee.

Group of adults using a pallet and other materials while crouched on an old fuel tank

University of Mpumalanga: Mbombela

Project Re-fuel is a waste recycling and fuel production project that seeks to leverage pyrolysis, a recycling technique that converts plastic waste into fuels such as petrol and diesel or other valuable materials by the thermal and catalytic cracking process. It allows for the treatment of mixed, unwashed plastic. Enactus UMP (University of Mpumalanga) is partnering with primary and high schools that will help in the collection of plastic while SEDA and Nkomazi municipality will assist with business development and training. Project Re-fuel aims to offer an affordable and environmentally friendly fuel. The key activities of the project include the collection of plastic waste, the manufacture and delivery of the fuel, as well as marketing and training workshops. The revenue streams for Project Re-fuel are derived from the sale of different fuels, and the costs will be kept low by using waste material in the manufacturing process. Currently, the team is reaching out to primary and secondary schools in the Sibange community (Nkomazi municipality) to host competitions on plastic collection, which will also raise awareness about pollution and recycling.