From burning points to brilliant success.

2014: Maragon Olympus Private School

South Africa needs more scientists, engineers, and technologists. Working with our client in the education sector, we proved that we could capture young minds with an irresistibly exciting project.

The Sasol Solar Car Challenge harnesses the power of the sun to bring eager young minds and innovative individuals together with a common goal: to finish in pole position.

Held in South Africa every two years, in collaboration with Motorsport South Africa and the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the challenge is an impressive demonstration of leading technology and the sophistication and performance of solar-powered vehicles. The race takes place over eight days and the car that clocks the most sun-powered kilometres, wins.
In 2014, DevCom’s client, the Maragon Olympus Private School (part of the Maravest Group of schools), participated in the Sasol Solar Car Challenge for the first time, with very specific goals in mind.

We purposefully looked for a project to advance science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) education.
Working with the school’s project team, we guided the project at a Maravest Group and executive level, while also leading the team at the school level and fulfilling a mentorship and project management role.

Our implementation

  • Design of the project identity, name, and branding elements of the Solar Eagle vehicle,
    Social media engagement on Facebook and Twitter,
    Communication training for learners, teachers, and volunteer committee members,
  • Press releases, press packages, media briefings, scripts, etc.,
  • Photographs and videos,
    Inputs into the development of an awareness booklet that was handed out to all the schools on the route,
  • Working with the communicators of the sponsors, race coordinators, FIA, and other stakeholders, and
  • Reports, research, and evaluations.

In addition, DevCom and the project’s fund-raising team had to raise the R500,000 needed to ensure the successful implementation of the project. This was over and above the Maravest Group’s investment of R300,000.

Our impact

We achieved all we set out to, and more. The Solar Eagles came first in their category and won trophies for:

  • The best school team,
  • The best rookie team,
    The environmental award (for waste management on route),
  • Furthest distance travelled by a high school, and
  • Furthest distance travelled by a high school in one day.

The Maragon brand achieved overwhelming public recognition and the school was invited to participate in an international secondary school e-car project. The white paper on STEM education that Maragon developed after the Challenge resulted in the formation of a new division in the Group in 2014.

The project was also showcased as a victory in the growth strategy of the Group at an international conference in Ghana in November 2014, where the concept paper on STEM education was presented to more than 20 ministry of education delegations from across Africa.
Most importantly, however, the children who participated discovered a passion for STEM and enrolments for STEM subjects in the school increased along with new enrolments.

The Solar Eagles in full flight, giving wings to our communication strategy.