Launched in: 2015
Application Timing: Jan. - March
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.
2019 Ford College Community Challenge Winning Projects
Mangosuthu University of Technology: Durban
Ukukhanya is a community development project located in an area that faces many socioeconomic issues including low literacy rates, lack of basic infrastructure, running water and electricity. The Enactus team has focused on two of the challenges, access to clean energy and improving literacy rates. Last year, they installed solar panels at the local community center, which are used to charge a rechargeable lighting device named Ukukhanya. The portable device is made from a 2-liter bottle, a super LED bulb, a resistor, wires, switch, a battery holder and a removable and rechargeable 3.7V lithium battery. Looking to improve the literacy levels, the team is planning to utilize the same community center as an internet café. They have identified a community member who is knowledgeable in computers to run the internet café expansion. She will then charge for internet and printing services, as well as facilitating computer literacy classes.
University of KwaZulu-Natal: Pietermaritzburg
Sack Space is based on the concept of sack farming, which is the most affordable form of vertical farming. In 2017, the project was launched to serve as a tool for economic development in the disadvantaged communities of the Msunduzi municipality. The Enactus team has targeted the areas of Sweetwaters, France Ext and Woodlands. Farming and then selling part of the harvest is a foreign concept in these low-income communities because they do not have enough space to plant extra crops. Sack farming will allow the communities to plant enough crops for themselves, while also having extra to sell to a market. Going forward, the project seeks to create sustainable agribusinesses that will use sack farming solely for the production and selling of fresh vegetables.
University of the Free State- Qwa Qwa: Msinga
The objective of the Shayuphondo Agricultural Project is to develop climatologically adaptable and environmentally friendly farming practices that will create sustainable and profitable value chains for its beneficiaries. Shayuphondo is an existing farm that grows vegetables and sells them through street vendors; thus, the farm does not have a reliable market to sell its products. Additionally, prior to harvest, the farm does not generate income to sustain its workers and their families. Through the project, value will be added through the creation of reliable and continuous income. This will be possible through the practice of organic farming, competent business management skills and the establishment of more business ventures to create supplementary income for the beneficiaries; therefore, tackling their financial constraints. Rural women and men, as well as the unemployed youth of Msinga, will benefit from the project.
Cape Peninsula University of Technology: Cape Town
Grow a Seed Urban Farming introduced the Khayelitsha farming community to aeroponics, which is a sustainable, modern farming method where produce is grown in nutrient-rich, constantly circulated water. This method ensures that plants receive adequate water and nutrients without being in soil. The benefits of this method include three times the yield per square meter as compared to normal soil farming, and it uses 95% less water than normal ground farming. Two small scale farmers were selected to serve as beneficiaries. Enactus students will provide entrepreneurial training and assist the beneficiaries in marketing their produce. The project goals are for the farmers to produce more stock while increasing their visibility in the community. In turn, this will allow them to generate more profit, thus improving their livelihoods. After completion of the pilot, the project will be replicated at other farms in the area.