• Drew Wilson

ECO ENG ONSITE: Wildoceans's Community Marine Hubs, Isimangaliso Wetland Park

Read our latest project profile to see what Eco Eng has been up to onsite for Wildoceans in Isimangaliso Wetland Park.

Vital community amenity

Eco Eng is partnering with Wildoceans to bring to life a vital community project in Isimangaliso Wetland Park. Isimangaliso needs little introduction, the World Heritage Site is South Africa’s third largest protected area and spans an impressive 280 kilometres of biodiverse coastline. Backed by international funders, Eco Eng, along with an expert team of consultants and supporters, will build a series of community centres in three remote locations to serve the needs of locals.

These Marine Hubs in Mabibi, KwaDapha and eNkovukeni will become a valuable resource for those who are isolated from everyday facilities like ablutions with running water, electricity, internet access and childcare services. The designs also make provision for entertainment and training with flexible indoor and outdoor spaces for skills development initiatives, community meetings and tourism.

"Working with Eco Eng on a project that introduces new design models while involving the community has been very exciting. They are always keen and willing to engage with local stakeholders and this will have a huge, positive impact - not only on the completion of the project but also in providing opportunities for skills upliftment. Eco Eng brings technical skills and solutions to the team with a positive attitude and expertise." - Nozi Mbongwa, Senior Project Manager, Wildoceans

Flexible and sustainable

The objective of the project is to build and convert modular spaces that can expand and adapt as the centres grow in momentum. The first phase will see the refurbishment of office containers and existing buildings to speed up the construction of the centres, which would otherwise be overly complicated in such remote settings. The team has also prioritised the use of recycled and natural materials as far as possible to ensure the end result is low maintenance with minimal environmental impact.

Eco Eng has provided a holistic, sustainable engineering design solution to make this project a reality. Finer details include a rainwater harvesting and filtration system and solar infrastructure for uninterrupted power supply in the training centre. Resources such as these allow the Marine Hubs to become self-sufficient, making their viability sustainable in the long-term.

Upliftment programmes and community involvement

Community participation and ownership is key to the ongoing success of these Marine Hubs. A programme of upliftment initiatives will equip local people with the skills necessary to complete some of the minor building works, including carpentry, plumbing, paving, painting and renovating. Facilitators will provide a mix of classroom and onsite training and graduating trainees will receive toolboxes to use on other projects within their communities. A local graffiti artist will also take on a handful of trainees to complete a wall mural at each of the Marine Hubs.

The first phase in Mabibi and KwaDapha is currently under construction with anticipated completion in August, 2021.

“Eco Eng has a can-do positive attitude, personable approach and extensive engineering expertise that makes working with them a great pleasure. They have been instrumental in putting forward out-of-the-box solutions and ideas for the hands-on implementation of the Wildoceans project, particularly through the training of local community members. Eco Eng has taken a building concept on paper and brought it to life using best practice and sustainable methodology. Solid and innovative engineering expertise with heart!” - Louise Duys, Strategic Project Consultant

If you enjoyed reading this project profile, please get in touch or join our mailing list! Or to let us know what you think, send your feedback to drew@ecoeng.co.za or leave a comment in the section below.

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