True to its commitment to bring about social, cultural, environmental and economic development and change in communities, Stellenbosch University (SU) recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with Radio KC, a leading community radio station in the greater Paarl and Wellington areas. Together they aim to find solutions that can sufficiently meet the energy needs of households in Paarl's Groenheuwel community and later in the greater Drankenstein region. Prof Ingrid Woolard, Dean of SU's Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, and Gail Jacobs, Executive Director of Radio KC, signed the agreement on behalf of the two parties.
In terms of the agreement, SU and Radio KC will work towards setting up of a social innovation lab in the Groenheuwel community. It will be known as the Gender for Energy Security (GENS) Living Lab and will form part of the GENS Trilateral Research Chair led by Chairholder, Prof Josephine Kaviti Musango from SU's School of Public Leadership.
The agreement will, among others, allow the parties to (i) better understand the context and alternative energy solutions in the Groenheuwel community; (ii) co-design gendered energy solutions that not only aim at counting the numbers of women and men involved but also how they contribute knowledge in designing the solutions; (iii) foster policy changes and tangible commercial outputs related to energy solutions at community and industry level; and (iv) advance capacity building and collaborations at multiple levels. These include the Groenheuwel community, government, academia, industry, funders and the wider society.
The GENS Trilateral Research Chair will conduct research in the setup of the GENS Living Lab and Radio KC will provide a platform to coordinate, mobilise and manage stakeholder engagements with the Groenheuwel community, co-researchers and GENS Youth Champions aged 18-24 years.
Commenting on the value of the new partnership, Musango said “the MoA demonstrates a commitment from Stellenbosch University to collaborate with Radio KC to empower, educate and entertain the Groenheuwel community and to come up with gendered energy solutions that are relevant to them. Our purpose is to do research to transform lives and inspire our world."
Echoing Musango's sentiments, Gail Jacobs said “Radio KC, a community radio station with a 24-year strong geographic footprint across the Cape Winelands, is grateful for the opportunity presented by Stellenbosch University to co-facilitate a citizen-centric initiative on energy. KC commits to sharing the case studies and will give a voice to the community leaders, business and government as together we make meaningful impact on the lives of the Groenheuwel community over the next four-and-a-half years."
The signing of the agreement is the result of engagements that started in November 2019.
- Main photo: Credit: Publicdomainpictures. Photo 1: Prof Josephine Kaviti Musango (left) with Gail Jacobs from Radio KC