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 Social Impact - Stellenbosch University



Sooliman receives Social Justice Champion award receives Social Justice Champion award
SU joins other global higher education leaders to discuss universities' role in aiding COVID-19 recovery joins other global higher education leaders to discuss universities' role in aiding COVID-19 recovery
WOW continues to empower learners continues to empower learners
Toyota SU Woordfees TV pop-up channel live from Friday SU Woordfees TV pop-up channel live from Friday
Dave Pepler and Science Café Stellenbosch make TV debut at Woordfees Pepler and Science Café Stellenbosch make TV debut at Woordfees



The Amanzi Yimpilo project Amanzi Yimpilo project




e'Bosch - Stellenbosch University Annual Heritage Lecture'Bosch - Stellenbosch University Annual Heritage Lecture2021-09-23T16:00:00Z
Division for Social Impact Annual Symposium Invitation for Social Impact Annual Symposium Invitation2021-09-02T07:00:00Z
SU facilitates creation of Lückhoff Living Museum facilitates creation of Lückhoff Living Museum2019-10-26T10:00:00Z



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Latest InitiativesView all Initiatives​​​​ University Telerehabilitation Initiative (SUTI)​The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) and related government regulations hindered access to rehabilitation for vulnerable groups, including people with disabilities [1]. The delivery of rehabilitation requires often demands close contact between the provider and patients and physical distance regulations are therefore not possible. In addition, important aspects for optimal functioning and participation such as home assessments were not possible during the pandemic. A person with disabilities is dependent on access to rehabilitation to attain optimal function for social and economic livelihood [2].  Due to limited access to rehabilitation during the pandemic, new and innovative service modes, such as telerehabilitation (TR) are critically needed to support people with all levels of disability.TR is an emerging segment of telehealth and telemedicine that has been considered as a suitable alternative health care delivery system. TR uses electronic or digital information and communication technologies to deliver quality, accessible, cost-effective and efficient rehabilitation services where distance is a critical factor [3-6]. In order to overcome the crisis due to COVID-19, TR should be adopted as soon as possible because it allows individuals to continue rehabilitation services in their own social and vocational settings, thereby reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection. In response to the disruption of rehabilitation services due to COVID-19, the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences pioneered the Telerehabilitation Initiative (SUTI) in November 2020. The purpose was to develop a model of telerehabilitation to complement clinical training in the three rehabilitation divisions (Occupational therapy, Physiotherapy and Speech and Language therapy) and to bring complement rehabilitation service to individuals who sustain impairments that could lead to functional limitations and participation restrictions. SUTI is currently being implemented in Bishop Lavis Rehabilitation Centre, while five more sites are participating in a readiness assessment. ​The COVID- pandemic has disrupted the delivery of rehabilitation services, resulting in an extensive and increasing waiting list and waiting time.  Failure to address this issue will result in deterioration in the health, functioning and economic livelihoods of people with disabilities. Thus, the purpose of this application is to request funding to increase awareness and provide access (e.g., providing data) to rehabilitation services for those in need by using TR, a COVID- safe, evidence-based, innovative service delivery mode that has the potential to positively impact communities during and beyond the pandemic. 1427 Safety for Primary Schools ​Proposal for Rail Safety Education and Awareness for Primary School Learners1. IntroductionThis is a project proposal for rail safety education and awareness for primary schools, while at the same time expose learners to Science, Engineering and Technology. A similar initiative was planned in March 2020 for learners of the Spark School in Lynedoch and the St. Vincent RC School in Koelenhof, but the outreach was stopped because of Covid-19. This proposal builds on the proposal of 2020, and it is hoped that Covid-19 will allow the initiative to be executed as planned.2. BackgroundEvery year there are many rail incidents that are investigated by the Rail Safety Regulator (RSR), such as collisions between trains, derailments, accidents at level crossings, accidents at station platforms and people struck by trains (PSBT). PSBT incidents are the most concerning and most often caused by the ignorance or recklessness of people, resulting in 264 fatalities and around injuries in 2019/2020.  These numbers are shocking as one injury or one fatality is already one too many.Since the 2010/11 reporting period, the Gauteng, Western Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal provinces recorded 85% of the PSBT incidents during movement of rolling stock, of which the Western Cape recorded 25% or 125 incidents. During the 2019/2020 reporting year the contribution of the Western Cape increased to 28%, which is reason for concern.3. The proposalIt is believed that PSBT incidents can be reduced through rail safety education and awareness initiatives, something which the RSR also regard to be important. It is further believed that the most benefit will be achieved if rail safety and awareness initiatives are focussed on children, not only will children themselves then understand the dangers around trains and railway lines, but they can also identify unsafe practices and tell their family, friends, other children and adults about rail safety. It is not known how many PSTB incidents are recorded for children, but it is never too early to do rail awareness in a child's life. Therefore, this rail safety initiative is focussed on intermediate phase primary school learners and aims to: 1) teach the learners about rail safety in a practical way, and 2) expose those learners to SET (Science, Engineering and Technology). Detail of each aim is as follows:Aim 1 : Rail safety and awarenessFor the rail safety and awareness the learners will be transported to Winelands Light Rail (WLR) near Koelenhof, Stellenbosch ( ). WLR operates a miniature railway system using electrical and steam operated locomotives (see Figure 2). During an interactive session at WLR they will be taught about rail safety, the safe crossing of railway tracks, behaviour at a station platform, behaviour when onboard a train, personal hygiene, etc. After the formal rail safety programme, the learners will be allowed to ride on the trains and apply what was learned. The learners will also enjoy lunch at WLR and be engaged in recreational activities.This initiative partnered with the RSR, Ms Daphne Kayster (now retired Marketing and Promotions Manager for Metrorail in the Western Cape) and Prof Neels Fourie (now retired Chair of the PRASA Engineering Research Chair). Ms Kayster and Prof Fourie have vast experience in railways, education, and railway safety, and the RSR will provide promotional material for the learners and rail safety posters for the schools.Aim 2: Exposure to Science, Engineering and Technology (SET)The learners will then visit the SUNSTEP (Science Technology Education Programme, ) facility at the Engineering Faculty of Stellenbosch University (SU). SUNSTEP (Stellenbosch University Science Technology in Electronics Programme) aims to inspire learners for SET (Science, Engineering and Technology) by exposing them to basic practical engineering and knowledge (see Figure 3). It is done through the assembling of an electronic device and SUNSTEP will provide the electronic kits, tools, and the guidance in how to assemble the kits in their well-equipped laboratories. The learners will be taught the basics of electronics, the use of tools (such as soldering irons, pliers, screw drivers) and assisted in assembling a kit that they can then take home. It is hoped that some learners will be inspired and continue their studies in SET one day. There are two types of electronic kits that are appropriate for intermediate phase primary school learners, and only one will be built by a group of learners:Dark activated light: With this kit one saves energy, as the light will switch on only when it becomes dark. It can be switched on in the morning before work but will light when dark.Alarm: When completed, it demonstrates knowledge and understanding of how simple electronic circuits and devices are used to make an output respond to an input signal (e.g., resistors, LED's, transistors, switches.   4. Detail of the proposalOne school will be included in the programme at each outreach, and 60 learners can be accommodated at each outreach.  The visit to WLR and SU will occur on the same day and to limit the number of learners at each facility, two groups will alternate between the facilities. While the first group build the electronic kit at SUNSTEP, the second group will follow the rail safety programme at WLR. The two groups then get together at WLR for lunch and recreational activities and swap after lunch, where the first group will follow the rail safety programme at WLR and the second group build the electronic kit at SUNSTEP. It is planned that teachers from the schools will join the initiative to assist with supervision and discipline. The proposed programme for the day is shown in Table 1. Table 1 : Proposed programme for Rail Safety Education and Awareness for Primary SchoolsGroup 1 learnersTimeslotGroup 2 learnersTravel from school to SU08h15-08h45Travel from school to WLRSafety briefing and built electronic kit at SUNSTEP08h45-10h30Safety briefing and Rail Programme at WLRTravel from SU to WLR10h30-11h00Rail Programme at WLR (continue)Lunch and recreational time at WLR11h00-12h00Lunch and recreational time at WLRSafety briefing and Rail Programme at WLR12h00-12h30Travel from WLR to SURail Programme at WLR (continue)12h30-14h30Safety briefing and built electronic kit at SUNSTEPTravel from WLR to school14h30-15h00Travel from SU to school Key points of the initiative:The initiative will focus on schools in and around Stellenbosch, and the schools will be identified in collaboration with SU. Typical selection criteria will be whether the children are exposed to railway lines where they live, exposed to railway lines while they travel to school, whether they use trains to travel or whether there are railway lines close or around the school. There are four initiatives planned during the school holidays of 2022: one outreach in the April holiday, two outreaches in the June/July holiday, one outreach in the September holiday.One school will be identified per outreach and two groups of 30 learners each will be accommodated per outreach. Teachers will be asked to accompany the groups to assist with the activities and for the supervision of the leaners. Health and Safety is of outmost importance and the numbers are reduced to only 30 learners per group. The ruling Covid 19 requirements at the time will be followed (e.g. use of masks, hand sanitiser, etc), and safety briefings will be done before each activity. Transport will be arranged by SU to transport he learners from their school to WLR or SUNSTEP.A lunch pack will be provided to all learners and assistants, which will be enjoyed at WLR. After lunch time will be allowed for recreational activities and free play at WLR. 5. CollaboratorsThe initiative is a collaboration between the Gibela Engineering Research Chair, and/or PRASA Engineering Research Chair, SUNSTEP, RSR, WLR and the schools. The reason why PRASA Engineering Research Chair is referred to as “and/or" is because at the time of writing this proposal, it was not certain whether the PRASA Engineering Research Chair would continue in 2022. The collaborators, their contact details and contributions are summarised in Table 2.Table 2 : Detail of collaborators for the initiativeCollaboratorContact personContact numberContact emailContributionPRASA, through the PRASA Engineering Research ChairPieter ConradieOlabanji Asekun072 264 3451074 637 funding, rail expertise (if continued in 2022)Gibela, through the Gibela Engineering Research ChairPieter Conradie072 264 funding, rail expertise, programme coordinationWinelands Light RailGisela KeyserAndries Keyser082 326 for venue for rail safety, lunch, recreational activitiesSUNSTEPMiranda MyburghWerner Mybrugh083 212 1356076 931 for the building of electronic kits Rail Safety RegulatorSiviwe Xola087 284, promotional material for learners, posters for schoolsPrivateDaphne Kayster065 551 6560kaysterd@gmail.comAssist with rail safety programme at WLR, experience in railways, education, and railway safetyPrivateProf CJ Fourie082 809 with rail safety programme at WLR, experience in railways, education, and railway safety 6. FundingTable 3 gives a cost breakdown of the initiative and the cost of R50 000 is indicative of one outreach, exclusive of VAT. It is expected that part funding will be sourced from the Gibela Engineering Research Chair and/or the PRASA Engineering Research Chair, and that the RSR will sponsor promotional material for learners and posters for the schools.Table 3 : Proposed funding for the initiative WLR (including lunch)R 15 000SUNSTEP (including electronic kits)R 10 000Transport (2 busses)R 10 000Rail experts (Ms Kayster, Prof Fourie)R 10 000Extras R   5 000Total CostR50 000 7. Conclusion This initiative is supported by the Engineering Faculty, the RSR and the respective Chairs, it has the potential to create a legacy and contribute to the well-being of our nation.8. Abbreviations:FWIFatalities and weighted injuriesPSBTPeople struck by trains RSRRail Safety RegulatorSETScience, Engineering and TechnologySUStellenbosch UniversitySUNSTEPStellenbosch University Science Technology in Electronics ProgrammeWLRWinelands Light Rail  1431 socio-economic survey, Williston, Northern Cape Province​The DSI/NRF Research Chair in the Sociology of Land, Environment and Sustainable Development, located in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, conducted a household survey in Williston in the Northern Cape in September 2021, with the support of the Hoogland Local Municipality and the local Community Development Centre. The survey received ethical clearance from the Research Ethics Committee of Stellenbosch University, with stipulated protocols to ensure compliance with covid-19 regulations. The aim of the survey, the fourth undertaken by the Chair since its inception in 2016, is to gather data on household demographics and socio-economic conditions in the town, in order to provide the municpality and other local stakeholders with an overview of household dynamics and development challenges in the town and also to contribute to the Chair's larger research programme on the challenges of sustainable development in the Karoo region. Williston is one of four small Karoo towns in the vicinity of the major international radio astronomy project, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) which are impacted to varying degrees by the land-use change from commercial sheep farming to astronomy and in line to benefit from the SKA’s local Human Capacity Development Programme. An important feature of the survey, which has been followed in previous surveys conducted by the Chair, has been the recruitment and training of unemployed matriculants from the town to act as survey enumerators. The training that the enumerators received is in the form of an accredited University short course (SAQA level 5) that the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology has developed. Once the survey data has been analysed, the resulting Research Report will be presented to the Municipality and other interested persons at a report-back workshop provisionally scheduled for early 2022.1434 community care during the COVID-19 outbreak in Worcester, Breede Valley sub-district​ The Breede Valley sub-district faces a high burden of patients with chronic diseases of lifestyle as well as infectious diseases, many of these patients live in close quarters with limited access to resources as a result of lockdown. Ukwanda Centre for Rural Health (CRH) has become part of the health care system and has established a good working relationship with Cape Winelands District Health over the last 11 years. Considering this relationship and previous commitment to the Worcester community, Ukwanda CRH has a social responsibility, which we take very seriously. The initiative presented below is aligned with the Stellenbosch University strategy on Social Impact by providing an opportunity for both transformative learning and active citizenship in a community with whom the FMHS and the University have had a long standing relationship, which begs the need for responsive social responsibility. The main focus of this initiative is active, responsible and critical citizenship of students and staff in the local Worcester community to help address priority health concerns of the National and Provincial Department of Health. This can be done by collaboratively working with the Breede valley sub-district, Cape Winelands District Health (CWDH), to ensure patients known to Ukwanda with chronic diseases, and their families, are followed up in their homes and discussed interprofessionally during the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure optimal access to care.Below of the objectives of this projectFirstly connect and plan with CWDH, Boland Hospice and other stakeholders where necessary (getting proper input, buy-in and permission to proceed)Identify patients in the Worcester area who are known to Ukwanda using existing databases and develop a working database of patients known in the community with ongoing care needsContact patient telephonically and where necessary conduct a home visit to assist with health promotion and disease prevention initiatives, Assess and evaluate the patient and family health status – include Landrum outcome levelsIf on a home visit - do appropriate assessments for diabetes mellitus, hypertension, respiratory disease, malnutrition,  etc.determine medication availability and adherence, food security and accessibility of COVID-19 grantsCOVID-19 screening could be included depending on the plans for CWDH (Case tracing – obtaining clinical information and assessing risk)Collaboratively discuss further management based on patient centered care with interprofessional team – this can be done via teleconferencing with the team after the call with the patient and / or home visit.Refer where necessary to ensure adequate health care including access to medication, food and social grants.1417 Diseases Awareness Month​The UN-SDGs aim to achieve a world in which “no one is left behind”. Among those furthest behind are people affected by Rare Diseases (RDs), as undeniably, they have been disproportionately deprived in terms of research, diagnosis and treatment, especially in Africa. Although individually “rare”, they collectively affect a large proportion of the population; yet, there has been too little in terms of their prioritization from African governments. Over 80% of rare diseases (RDs) are genetic in origin, collectively estimated to occur in 40–82/1000 live births. Most of these conditions, also called “orphan diseases”, have their onset in childhood (often recognized at birth), continue for life, and are disabling, posing a considerable health burden. Additional burdens include stigma and alienation from the community. The majority of African RD families, numbering in the hundreds of thousands, remain undiagnosed. They are thus understudied and under-represented globally. Our group has established an undiagnosed disease programme (UDP), in which we use state of-the-art technologies to end the diagnostic odyssey for South African patients with RDs. This is the first project of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa, conducted in a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, scientists and bioinformaticians, in close collaboration with patient/parent support groups. We are applying for funding to support our societal impact activities, focussed around the “Rare Diseases in South Africa Awareness Initiative”. February is Rare Disease Awareness month, which culminates in Rare Diseases Day on the last day of February. In order to host a successful line-up of activities, we will begin in October with planning our activities for 2022. The activities planned are aimed at raising awareness of the spectrum of RDs in South Africa, giving the affected families an avenue to voice their experiences and producing materials which can be used in both formal and informal teaching activities around genetics, genomics and RDs. The participants are all patients seen at Tygerberg Hospital and outreach clinics: not the demographic which gets their voices heard in the media (for example, Carte Blanche this year had an insert on RDs with no families from disadvantaged backgrounds – we aim to change that!). Ultimately, we hope that this will translate to increased awareness and advocacy for better access to healthcare and services for families with RDs, to increased adoption of policies to benefit them and increased education about RDs in South Africa. We also envisage that increased awareness of the research activities around RDs, like our UDP, will enable more patients/families to be enrolled to get access to testing and a definitive diagnosis. This will contribute to the success of ongoing research and open avenues for new research. Rare Diseases in South Africa Awareness Initiative aligns with SDG 3 (improving health outcomes through increased awareness and diagnosis), SDG 10 (reduced inequalities, as RDs will be centre stage and receive attention, especially since this demographic of patients has not received any attention in the past) and SDG 17 (increased partnerships across stakeholders in RDs, including medical personnel, researchers and patient/parent support groups, hospital administrators and local government representatives). The initiative also aligns well with several of the University’s and Faculty’s themes. Students (both research and clinical) will be engaged in the activities of the month, thereby raising their awareness of RDs and especially for the researchers will allow a unique experience of the real impact of their work on real people. We will network widely and form purposeful partnerships, which are inclusive and involve families with RDs form disadvantaged backgrounds. Most patients have some form of mental or physical disability. Most of their conditions have been classifies as “orphan” diseases. This initiative is also important for facilitating better networking across clinical and scientific groups and between TBH and SU and WC Health.​1425 Sport and Health Matters​​This project aims to create a Community of Practice (COP) around sport, health, social justice and decolonisation. This COP will  provide young scholars opportunity to publish their work in scholarly publications and create networks for further exploration in their prospective fields of study. From this COP learning materials will be developed, especially for the Division of Sport Science Department in Ethics and Sport History modules but also for a broad range of sport and health related fields. Finally, the participants will develop opportunities for inter-disciplinary contact between subjects, faculties and broader communities. This initiative is therefore based on the importance that the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences attaches to Community Interaction - that is, it is a cornerstone on which the faculty was built in 1956. Therefore, this initiative rests firmly on the FMHS vision statement: “To be a dynamic, people-centred and inclusive environment, internationally recognised for its excellence in research, education and clinical training in medicine and health sciences, and for the contribution it makes to improving health and health care in South Africa, the African continent and beyond​. ​​1426

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