Part 3: Case Study


1. Case Study Review

The purpose of this activity is to ensure that you have a thorough understanding of the case. This is accomplished in class by review of the Assignment Question answers and your comments during the Discussion Questions. You should demonstrate knowledge of the sustainability issues involved in the case and the strategies being used to address the issues.

Core Reading

  1. Working for Water, A South African Sustainability Case: Introduction, Background, Section A and Section B

Assignment Questions

  1. Explain the concept of ecosystem services. How does this concept relate to efforts to preserve native ecosystems in South Africa? What are examples in the case of ecosystem services provided by the fynbos?
  2. In South Africa, how much water do invasive alien species currently consume above what would be consumed by native vegetation? What percentage of run-off water can be kept from being lost by controlling invasive alien species in South Africa?
  3. How much more soil erosion do invasive pine forests create after fires compared to native fynbos?
  4. For Black Wattle, there are two possible mechanisms for controlling the invasion: a combination of physical and chemical control or biological control. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each method?
  5. Ignoring the social benefits and focusing only on the environmental results, is Working for Water cost-effective? Why or why not?

2. Issue Connections

The goal in this activity is to develop your understanding of how issues in the case relate to regional sustainability issues in Part 2. This is accomplished through class discussion of questions that involve an issue or issues in the case. By connecting the issues to what was learned in Part 2, the real life implications of issues and issue interrelationships should become clear.

Core Reading

  1. Working for Water, A South African Sustainability Case: Section A and Section B

Assignment Questions

  1. Most Working for Water projects take place on public lands. What initiatives of the program are aimed at private landowners and why are these important? Does what you learned about landownership issues in Part 2 change your recommendations?
  2. Explain the “exit strategy.” Why is it a goal of Working for Water and what programs have been launched to promote it? How does this approach compare to poverty reduction strategies in Part 2?
  3. What types of skills do participants in Working for Water learn? How does this help the country in the long term? Are these skills relevant outside South Africa?
  4. Explain why forestry interests and conservation interests are opposed regarding biological control of invasive species. What compromises are possible? What are the other major forest issues in Africa?
  5. Why does Working for Water have workforce targets for women and disabled persons? What are strategies that might assist women or disabled persons?
  6. How did the designers of Value-Added Industries view waste? Could this approach be applied to other types of waste in Africa?

3. Challenges

The purpose of this activity is for you to learn about the types of real obstacles there are to implementing sustainability strategies. In discussion of the project’s challenges, you will consider the difficulties of project implementation and recommend how such obstacles can be best approached.

The discussion is also a time for you to recognize that some of the challenges faced in the project are the types of obstacles that can occur with any project and that need to be considered and addressed when you develop your own project strategy in Part 4.

Remember the values and principles of sustainability from Part 1 and put to use issue and strategy information from Part 2 in your discussions. Creativity is encouraged.

Core Reading

  1. Working for Water, A South African Sustainability Case: Section C

Assignment Questions

  1. It has been noted that Working for Water’s less centralized partnership-based structure makes decision-making and accountability difficult. How would you suggest improving this?

  2. How might the “exit strategy” be made more effective?

  3. What are some of the symbolic roles of Working for Water in South Africa?

4. Example Project Analysis

The purpose of this activity is to help you prepare for your project in Part 4 by analyzing a specific local project within the much larger project presented in this case study.

By analyzing a real sustainability project of similar scale to that which you may develop in Part 4, you will have the details of an actual project to refer to as you plan your Part 4 project. Use this example to help you understand how to address economic, social, and environmental considerations as well as practical issues like project costs and likely implementation problems in your written and oral project presentations. (You are not to choose control of invasive alien species as your project.)

Core Reading

  1. Working for Water, A South African Sustainability Case: Section D

Assignment Questions

  1. What particular social problems does the Tsitikama project address?
  2. What administrative difficulties have arisen in the Tsitikama project?
  3. How might the childcare services for Tsitikama workers be improved?
  4. How might delays in payment due to the incorrect completion of forms be avoided?