List of tools for solar bottle installation

For drawing the circles onto the template and roof you need a water proof marker, paper, measuring tape and optionally vernier callipers.

For the actual metal works you need a pair of pliers, the tin scissors and a metal file.

You need silicone, a pop rivet gun and at least four pop rivets.

You need a drill (either battery driven or manual), a hammer and nail (to mark the points where to drill in the metal).

Optionally you can use a grinder to cut off metal from the original corugated iron sheets.

First Uyelele Solar Bottle Installation

On the 16th of August the first solar bottle was installed at the house of Ileni’s farm worker in one of the informal settlements of Windhoek.

Have a look at the picture gallery for details of the installation.

Detailed Instructions for Solar Bottle Installation

Jefnie Savage (l.) and a worker at Pupkewitz

Jefnie Savage (l.) and a worker at Pupkewitz

First of all, go to your local hardware store and organise corrugated roofsheet cut-offs. We went to Pupkewitz in Windhoek and the manager there was more than happy to supply us with 10 sheets. They should be the size of DIN-A4 or slightly bigger.

Now you are ready to produce the installation template:

  1. Cut out two circular templates from paper. The bigger one (outer) should have a radius of 5.1cm, the smaller one (inner) of 4.8 cm.

    Circular paper templates

    Circular paper templates

  2. Use the bigger template to draw a circle onto the corrugated iron sheet.
  3. Now draw the inner circle onto the corrugated iron sheet. Make sure that both circles have exactly the same center.
  4. Using a manual drill make a hole in the middle of the circle.
  5. Use a pair of tin scissors to cut out the inner circle.
  6. Make 90 degree segments 2-3mm wide between the inner and outer circle.

    'Teeth' - cut and bent upwards

    'Teeth' - cut and bent upwards

  7. Cut the segments with the tin scissors and use pliers to bend them upwards – like teeth. These teeth will prevent the bottle from falling through the roof.
    Make sure that the teeth are bent exactly on the line of the outer circle.
  8. [optional] Use a grinder to cut off unnecessary parts of the corrugated iron sheet that you will not be using. The size of the template does not need to be bigger than a DIN-A4.
  9. Drill a hole into each corner of the template. These holes will be used to fix the template to the actual roof with rivets.


With the help of this iron the template the installation of the solar bottle in the actual location can be done in twenty minutes. For the installation of the soalr bottle into the roof follow these steps:

  1. Mark the center of the template onto the roof. Make sure the area that you’ve selected is not shaded during the day. Otherwise the brightness of the solar bottle will be reduced dramatically.
  2. Template riveted onto roof

    Template riveted onto roof

    Use the bigger circular paper template (s. previous step 1) to draw the outer circle onto the roof from the inside.

  3. Drill a hole at the centre of the circle.Then cut out the circle with the tin scissors.
  4. Now get onto the roof and use the template as guideline to drill the four corner holes  into the roof to rivet the template.
  5. Clean the roof surface.
  6. Apply silicon to the back of the template.
  7. Pop rivet the template to the roof.
  8. Put a two litre soft drink bottle filled with a bit of water into the center hole.
  9. Fill up the bottle with water. Add a bit of bleach to avoid the growth of algae.
  10. Seal around the bottle with silicon.

That’s it.

Installed solar bottle from the outside.

Installed solar bottle from the outside.

Solar bottle in action.

Solar bottle in action.

YouThinkGreen at the Official Launch of EcoKids Namibia

On the 31st of Otober 2013 two of the Youthinkgreen Members  were graced with the opportunity to witness the Official Launch of EcoKids Namibia at the Hilton Hotel in Windhoek.

Mr. Mvula Ya Nangolo and Ms Virginia Witts unveil the EcoKids logo

Mr. Mvula Ya Nangolo and Ms Virginia Witts unveil the EcoKids logo

The Namibia Film Commission (NFC) along with the Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) funded the programme with the aim to empower the youth to be media literate through short films of the Namibian environment. In that way creating a vibrant media industry resulting in the youth of Namibia bursting with National pride.

NFC thought of no other to implement this project than the person most known for creating media opportunities for children, Ms. Virginia Witts of Clever Clogs Productions (Pty Ltd). Featured in this programme will be a website offering filming tips, games, activities, links to other sites,”How to make a film” training and much more. Also, children will be encouraged to enter film making competitions where they can  make films of 6-10 seconds long with any mobile device at home about their surrounding environment issues and or solutions to these issues. During a two day annual “EcoKids Film Fest” the children will be encouraged to enter their films and the entries will win prizes. During the day, workshops will be held on different aspects of filmmaking and environmental issues.

EcoKids will motivate excitement about the film’s potential so that they can “show and tell” through Transmedia. The programme wants to inspire life-long environmental guardians cultivating National pride and create unity within diversity.

Tracy and Petelina with Ms Virginia-Witts

Tracy and Petelina with Ms Virginia-Witts

The programme was officially launched by the Special Advisor to the ICT Minister Mr. Mvula Ya Nangolo on behalf of the Honourable Joel Kaapanda and together with Virginia Witts they unveiled the EcoKids logo.

Two YTG members were privileged to be amongst the invited few such as members of the  UN, UNESCO, UNICEF, NGOs, NFC, Media Institutes, Corporations, the private business sector and other concerned individuals.

The two YTG members later had the opportunity to interact with the invited guests who were intrigued by our initiative and work.

Report by: Petelina Frans and Tracy Hoxobes

Alexander and Beatrice cycle to Swakopmund in their holidays…

Cycle to Swakopmund? You must be crazy! You won’t make it! Is it safe?
When I first proposed the idea to my parents and friends, these were the statements that followed.

Alex and Beatrice about to start their journey...

Alex and Beatrice about to start their journey...

The school holidays had just started and I wasn’t sure what to do with my first week off, so I thought why not cycle to Swakopmund? It’s good for me as well as good for the environment, no pollution at all. Also once the comments were posed that I wouldn’t make it or that it wasn’t safe and then I had to do it. I also was sure I could do it since I cycle enough through Windhoek, but I thought a challenge would be just the thing I needed.

So I intended to cycle the 365km to Swakopmund in 3 days (19th-21st August 2013) as to take it in a more relaxed way since my sister would be joining me. We prepared ourselves, me packing my saddlebag which I had won a couple of weeks prior and organizing luminescent vests.

On Monday the 19th of August at 6:45am we left Windhoek and made our way to our first stop; the Buschhotel situated 50km outside of Okahandja. The cycling was easy for the first 16km, riding in the yellow line zone of the highway, leading out of Windhoek, after the highway ended it became somewhat more difficult, with cars and lorries passing us with what felt like just a few centimeters to spare. The drivers were very considerate though and always tried to give us as much space as possible and so we had no problems what so ever. The only real obstacle we encountered was a head wind from the North-East, this meant progress was slow and we were quite exhausted by the time we reached Okahandja at around 11:45, thus we averaged about 15km/h with a couple of breaks here and there. Food we bought at shops, making sure that there would be as little plastic packaging as possible.
Having made good time we thought that the next 50km that day would be easy, boy were we wrong. The terrain changed to mountains and long hills. As it is with hills it’s nice to cycle down them but one first has to cycle up them as well. This was my sister’s downfall and thus many a break was taken. After a painful 4hours we made it to our first overnight stop, by this time we were both exhausted and after being allocated a room we went straight to sleep.
We had discussed if it were better to camp, but having to take sleeping bags and tents along would have been quite a schlep and would have weighed us down. Thus we had chosen to stay at Bed & Breakfasts, dinner we would either have at the B&B’s restaurant or organize ourselves.

The next day it was clear that my sister was not up for the cycle as she was not well and it wouldn’t be possible to continue. So it was I who continued on the venture of cycling; on that day only to Usakos, a mere 90km from the Buschhotel.  Since I knew that it wasn’t going to be a tough or long ride today, mainly because we had planned to be more tired from the previous day’s ride, I only left at 9am. It was a pleasant ride, mostly downhill for long parts, but with a slight head wind not making it that easy. It was nice though that there was a broad yellow line zone again, so I didn’t disturb the drivers on the road and this meant I didn’t have to concentrate too much on the road and could appreciate nature in its finest. There were loads of Warthogs next to the road which surprisingly didn’t budge at passing cars but as soon as a bicycle passed they fled for the hills. I put this down to the fact that they don’t get to see bicycles very much and this new ‘thing’ scared them. Also to be seen were several Giraffes and the odd small buck. It was also nice to greet people at the side of the road and if they greeted back and were friendly. I took some time to talk to them and explain what I was doing and since I was wearing my YTG shirt explained what the organization is and does. They thought what I was doing was to a small part crazy and dangerous but to a large part great and worthy.
Since it was such a short ride I was there by 1 o’clock and had the rest of the day to sleep and relax. I stayed at JODO B&B which was very nice and very easy to locate, which is important when arriving quite tired and not wanting to have to concentrate. I planned to leave early the next Morning so I sorted out my breakfast, refilled all my water bottles and then went to bed.

When I say quite early I’m stretching the truth a bit, since it was at 4:30am that I was already on my bike and ready to leave. It was a full moon and so it was very easy to see and thanks to my lights and luminescent jacket I was easily spotted by the night driving lorries and cars, of which there are actually quite a few. Straight outside Usakos there is a long slow hill that feels like a mountain and stretches for about 25km and so the early morning chill was very inviting as I ascended. By the time the sun came up I was at already past the top of the mountain and could see the Spitzkoppe clearly to my right side. I could already make out the top of the Rössing Mountain, which was covered in fog, since I was nearing the coast. The sight of fog both made me happy and scared, because it meant no wind, but on the other hand it also meant that it would be harder for cars to see me. From Usakos to Swakopmund it is 150km and no broad yellow line zone so it was harder to cycle with the passing traffic. By the time I reached the Rössing Mountain the fog had cleared which in turn meant that there was quite a strong wind coming from the west, yes exactly the direction I was traveling towards. Thus even when the ground started to slant more downwards to get to sea level, I couldn’t simply roll down, but really had to peddle hard in order not to be blown backwards, thus my speed was heavily reduced, but at 11:30, exhausted, I arrived in Swakopmund.

That's a happy YouThinkGreen ambassador in Swakopmund ;-)

That's a happy YouThinkGreen ambassador in Swakopmund 😉

It felt great to have accomplished this feat and was quite proud of myself for having achieved my goal and shown that it is possible to cycle quite easily to Swakopmund and that it has nothing to do with being crazy, it has a great deal more to do with staying power and mental and physical endurance.

Alexander Brock


Goodbye Dirty Looks, Hello Natural Antioxidants

Ever heard your mother say that she’s seen a new cream in the magazine that helps aging?Or covers wrinkles? She wouldn’t need any of those products in my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with her skin but only because we get influenced, is that we think we wouldn’t survive without it. Or your grandmother who swears her still-youthful glow is thanks to a lifetime of shea butter? Depending what part of the world you or your ancestors hail from, you may have grown up with some promise or other about the powers of natural beauty.

Companies conduct market research to find out what words folks respond to most—aloe! shea! vitamin C!—then they sprinkle a tiny bit of the popular ones into an otherwise crappy product. (To get an idea how much of that lauded ingredient is in your product, check the label: Ingredients are listed in descending order of concentration, so if it’s near the middle or bottom, you’re being ripped off.)

Let’s hope you’re not too shocked now. What can you do to prevent “bad surprises?”
We’ll have to use, what has been used many years before by our ancestors- get back to the basics. Forget ‘Q10’ effect or others, because who knows if the wanted coenzymes are even present in a proper dosage? Try using more of this:

  • Argan oil: Nicknamed “liquid gold,” Morrocan women swear by this stuff to treat everything from wrinkles and psoriasis to burns and acne. Science is still catching up but argan is extremely rich in linoleic acid, which applied topically is proven to reduce acne, and vitamin E, an antiager that may reduce scarring as well.
  • Aloe vera: Even if your mom wasn’t a hippie you know that aloe vera gel has calming and restorative properties straight from the plant. Science says that it’s antibacterial and has been proven to speed wound healing in rats. In humans who’d undergone dermabrasion treatment, damaged skin healed 72 hours faster when aloe was applied. (Works perfectly with fever blisters, just cut off a tiny piece of your aloe vera plant and sprinkle it on the blister regularly.)
  • Baking soda: Most of us have it at home it will wash your sink, but it will also whiten your teeth,banish your bad breath, and deodorize bad smells—including your own.
  • Coconut oil: With a molecular structure that allows it to penetrate skin and hair, both preventing water loss and replacing lipids that deplete with aging, it’s a double winner. Science says it also accelerates wound healing, can help treat eczema, and has shown to be therapeutic in the treatment of acne and gives your hair some extra treatment when applied as oil.
  • Green tea: We should all be drinking it, but topical application of green tea has lots of science on its side, too. Several studies have shown it toreduce the effects of UV damage, enhance wound healing, and treat acne. Green tea is also anti-inflammatory and can help reduce the redness associated with rosacea.
  • Honey: Before we had antibiotics we had honey, which was frequently used in wound dressing to accelerate healing. It’s no surprise then that science says it does, in fact, do just that. Its topical application also demonstrates antibacterial action, and helps prevent scarring. (It’s good on toast, too.)
  • Olive oil: Just when you thought you’d heard everything there is to know about the powers of olive oil: A 2000 study done on mice indicated that topical application of olive oil after UVB exposure effectively reduced the rodents’ chances of developing skin tumors. Already proven to be a powerful antioxidant in food, olive oil may play an exciting role in reducing DNA damage in skin, too.
  • Propolis: Bees use propolis, an antimicrobial resin, to sterilize their hives, and a variety of studies have shown its properties to benefit human health—from reducing the duration of common colds to slowing the proliferation of cancer cells. Topically, propolis functions as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory proven to protect skin against photodamage, it’s more antibacterial than honey, and is even effective against cold sores.
  • Shea butter: West African women (and grandmas 😉 ) have been using this stuff forever. Not only does its application exhibit powerful anti-inflammatory properties but recent studies are indicating that cinnamic acid (found in shea) reduces the effects of UV damage. Just make sure to choose a brand that’s sourced fairly, like Alaffia.



Mother Nature’s Gift: Soap Nuts

Soap nuts are the berries of the Sapindus Mukorossi (soap nut tree) that grow in the  region of the Himalayan Mountains of India and Nepal. Their pulp and outer shell contain natural saponin, which is also a 100% natural surfactant. This saponin is a healthy, safe, and free-of-synthetic-chemicals substance that is a great green alternative to commonly used commercial detergents and cleaners like handy andy, sunlight, you name it.100% biodegradable and compostable

The whole process of their “production” is sustainable and earth-friendly. The fruits are harvested between September and February, then dried in a natural way using just the sun. No additional chemicals or fossil fuels are used to produce them.
They remain harmless to the water system and the environment in general.

On top of that Soap Nuts are:

* 100% biodegradable

* Work on all fabrics, even silk and wool

* Hypoallergenic – can even be used on baby clothes or those with sensitive skin / skin conditions (no need for mommies to worry)

* Brightens colours and does not fade

* Natural fabric softener- forget Sta-Soft, Comfort & co.

* Versatile: Exist as natural pet shampoo, windows and general household cleaner, natural pesticide/mosquito repellent and even toothpaste

* Cost Economical

Sounds great doesn’t it? Unfortunately no supplier in Namibia- who would have guessed and there aren’t many suppliers of soap nuts in South Africa, but I discovered one site that sells them, reasonably inexpensively. Visit ‘nature soap.’ On their site you can find out more as well as order them for R85 per 500g. Not sure how we’ll get them to Namibia but maybe they have got an idea.

Green Your Life- The coolest method of contributing to the removal of pollution ever.

Green Your LifeA new liquid laundry additive called ‘CatClo’ which, after only one wash, will allow your clothes to start purifying the air of pollution as you wander around Maerua Mall, Wernhill, in your garden or wherever you desire.

Items of clothing need only be washed once in ‘CatClo’ before they can start depolluting the air around them. The nanoparticles of titanium dioxide grip on to fabrics very tightly, and when these particles come into contact with nitrogen oxides in the air, they react and oxidise them in the fabric.

By wearing clothing treated with ‘CatClo’ everyone of us would be capable of removing approximately 5 grams of nitrogen oxides from the air. Yes, I know that might not sound like a lot, but it adds up to roughly the equivalent of the amount of nitrogen oxides produced by the average family car in a day.

It’s a unique and fascinating idea. Created by the partnership of artist Helen Story and scientist Tony Ryan, the idea behind this innovative concept is to create a movement that will allow everyday folks like you and me to make a positive difference for our environment by helping to create cleaner air.

Namibians here’s hoping this product makes it to market soon- would be a big step forward. Then no lame excuses for not being able to make a change. This one would be for everyone.


Organic Food- a luxury or the way of the future?

Eat your fruits and vegetables!- is what our parents used to say when we were little.The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Try to reduce your exposures as much as possible,but eating conventionally-grown produce is far better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all.  You can lower your pesticide intake substantially by avoiding the most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated produce and research has also proven a vast nutritional difference between organic food and chemically grown food.

Greenspot Organics, an organic farm of 4,6 hectares outside Okahandja is one of a few farms that can provide Namibian CItizens with organic foods.

Buy These Organic if available to avoid pesticides:

  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Spinach
  • Cucumbers
  • Potatoes
  • Lettuce

One Planet- Think Outside The Kitchen

The Organic and Natural Experience

We tend to think of food when we hear the words “natural” or “organic“, but there are more products that can help reduce our chemical impact on the planet. The solution is avoid and try using:

*Natural Cleaners – all natural dish soap, all-purpose cleaner, and detergent work just as well as their toxic cleaner counterparts but without harm to you or the planet.

*Pet Products – Buy high-quality natural pet food made from pure protein sources raised without growth hormones or antibiotics, and that does not contain any animal by-products or rendered meat or chicken meals.

*Clothing and Fabric – Organic & Natural fibers, such as organic cotton and wool, are available many places these days. -Difficult in Namibia, but not impossible.

*Shampoo and Skin Care Products – The demand for Organic & Natural shampoos and skin care products has encouraged the development of many different varieties and brands. – try the Body Shop

*Personal Care Items – Using Organic & Natural cotton balls, feminie hygiene products, diapers, and toothpaste can make a huge difference in our impact on the planet.

*Paper Products – there are many companies that offer office paper, tissues, toilet paper, and paper towels made with post consumer recyled materials. Switching to recycled paper products is a small step that can create a huge impact. Try to avoid white paper, it’s bleached and has a negative impact as well. Rather go for brown.