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 Social Impact - Stellenbosch University



Stellenbosch University Faculty of Law is making a difference through its social impact initiatives University Faculty of Law is making a difference through its social impact initiatives
Cross-sector partnerships are crucial for long-term social impact partnerships are crucial for long-term social impact
SU/Kayamandi initiative uses art to change negative attitudes towards mental illness initiative uses art to change negative attitudes towards mental illness
SU book project to have impact on education during and beyond pandemic book project to have impact on education during and beyond pandemic
SU/ICLD partnership to benefit locals from Stellenbosch and surrounds partnership to benefit locals from Stellenbosch and surrounds



The Amanzi Yimpilo project Amanzi Yimpilo project




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
MGD Annual General Meeting Annual General Meeting 2019-09-26T16:30:00Z



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Latest InitiativesView all Initiatives​​​​ Coast Air Show Saldanha Bay​The Saldanha Airport is located between the towns of Vredenburg and Saldanha, about 110 km driving distance from Cape Town.  The airport is also in close proximity to the Langabaanweg Air Force Base.  The airport host no schedule flights or any schedule activities. It is mainly used for private activities.  The airport is in fairly good condition and ideally located to host an Airshow.  An air show is in essence a “sporting event" where flying performances are showcased with thrilling aerobatics, competitions, and displays of aerial feats that participants and spectators do not easily see in any other setting. Typically, an air show also includes a wide assortment of static aircraft and aviation-related exhibits for spectators. Air shows are held on large exhibition grounds, such as local or regional airfields or military installations, and they are well positioned to draw very large crowds. There can be very little doubt that air shows are very popular.  In South Africa the number of air shows increased significantly since 1994 and especially post 2000.  There is now a domestic air show calendar published by Air Show South Africa (ASSA).  To this end Langabaanweg Air Force Base hosted the last airshow in the West Coast in 2017 drawing thousands of spectators as far as from Gauteng.  ​The basic premise of the project is to host an annual "West Coast" airshow at the Saldanha airport around the end of March of each year.  An integral part of the "West Coast" airshow will be a development programme, spesifically focusing on the youth from underprivalaged backgrounds within the West Coast District to introduce them in the growing avaiation sector.​1410 Learning Community (with Prison-to-College Pipeline South Africa) ​​​​​The Ubuntu Learning Community (“ULC”) is a new Stellenbosch University-prison partnership – the first of its kind in South Africa. Its aim is to rehumanise learning by focusing on learning’s social, ubuntu-focused dimensions – collaboration, community-building and connectedness.  It conceives of collaborative education as the “practice of freedom”​ (Paolo Freire) – a tool for transformation and empowerment. ULC has three components: an educational partnership between Stellenbosch University (SU)  and the Department of Correctional Services (DCS);  social support and reintegration for incarcerated students post-incarceration; and a student-led initiative aimed at educating and sensitising SU students (and wider community) about the incarceration system.​ The educational component entails SU students and students in prison studying together under SU academics, learning with and from each other through dialogue and the sharing of experience. The first Ubuntu Learning first short course, partnering with UNISA students in the Brandvlei Correctional Institute in Worcester in 2019, was interdisciplinary, exploring a common theme from the perspective of a variety of academic disciplines.  The reintegration component  of ULC envisages academic and social supports to aid students transitioning from prison to the community to continue their education, obtain employment, and lead stable, productive, fulfilling lives post-incarceration.  The aim is to challenge social disadvantage as a barrier to higher education learning by offering re-entry facilitation and support for incarcerated students to finish their studies / study further at SU post-release.  The student-led campus initiative component involves breaking down the barriers between universities and prisons more generally, bringing the campus to the prison but also bringing the prison to campus. The focus here is on getting students involved in sensitising and educating the community about the project, our incarceration system, the role communities need to play and the realities of this system.  The Ubuntu Learning Community is supported by Prison-to-College Pipeline (P2CP), a New York-based project  that helped inaugurate the Ubuntu Learning Community as a local P2CP-SA initiative.  The Prison-to-College Pipeline is best described as a marriage of education and prisoner reentry:  It is at once a university-level education program for incarcerated students, a reentry program for them in collaboration with a unified community, and an awareness-building program that sensitizes the community – academics, future scholars, the community at large and practitioners in a host of disciplines, particularly justice-related fields – to the needs and challenges of those incarcerated and formerly so.  Most broadly, it aims to ignite interest in education among those impacted by the criminal justice system. The Ubuntu Learning Community is a proudly South African embodiment of P2CP’S vision.As regards the educational component, unfortunately, since the COVID-19 outbreak, activities within the prison have been severely curtailed, particularly in respect of SU students entering the prison.  This meant that the 2020 short course was cut short and no Ubuntu Learning short course was offered in 2021. From the latter half of 2020, an effort was made to maintain contact with the incarcerated participants by means of online engagement.  A laptop, speakers and data were donated, which enabled a number of fruitful engagements via MS Teams and Zoom with those behind bars during 2021.  Invited speakers included Justice Edwin Cameron and Mbongiseni Mdakane, a formerly incarcerated UNISA lecturer.  Logistical issues regarding internet speed and MS Teams logins were experienced, but were mostly overcome.  It is hoped that face to face sessions will be able to resume in the near future.As regards the reintegration component, we are partnering with Prison-to-College Pipeline, and its affiliated organisation, Incarceration Nations, and also the Message Trust, to assist with reintegration of previously incarcerated Ubuntu Learning participants.  A proposal has been put to SU about the possibility of a coffee truck run by formerly incarcerated individuals being positioned on campus.  There is SU buy-in for this, but the logistics still need to be finalised.  The project will be sponsored by our international partners.During lockdown and beyond, we have kept contact with formerly incarcerated ULC members via WhatsApp and offered informal support and encouragement.As regards the student-led component, because of the limited face to face campus contact, we have nothad any ULC student meetings on campus in 2021.1313 Entrepreneurship Programme​Youth Unemployment and Hopelessness are rife in Noordhoek.  Noordhoek is a sub-burb of Laaiplek. It is a historically colored area.  Laaiplek is situated right at the mouth of the Berg River.  ​The prospects for the youth in Laaiplek unfortunately have not improved much in the last decade. Jobs are in very scarce supply in the greater Laaiplek/Velddrif region.  With such significant numbers of youth unemployment it is no surprise that all sorts of social ills are part of everyday living.  For example, drug abuse and violence are common practices.  There seems to be not much hope.  Without hope, life becomes fairly meaningless.  Therefore all hands must be on deck to create hope, where hope is very elusive.  The purpose of this project will be to run/present a youth entrepreneur program twice a year focusing on around 10 identified young people (age 18 to 25) lasting about 12 weeks each.  The program will be practical as much as possible. The program will also focus on linking these young people with established businesses and organizations.  Post-program support will also be available to keep track of the successes and failures of the program.  The program will also align and work with existing NGO's within Noordhoek to pull resources and create synergies.  Working the Bergriver Municipality and the Velddrif Chamber of Business will also be relevant and significant, especially in terms of selecting the youth and mentorships.   1389 Professional ServicesResearchers and senior postdoctoral students affiliated with the Microbiology Department regularly examine postgraduate theses (MSc and PhD) for universities in South Africa and for international universities. We also review numerous manuscripts for national and international journals such as Science of the Total Environment, FEMS Yeast Research, Folia Microbiologica, Water Research, Applied and Environmental Microbiology and Environmental Science and Technology, amongst many others. Academic staff members serve on the editorial boards of various journals and annually, researchers and postgraduate students present papers and posters at national and international conferences. The primary investigators affiliated with the respective research groups are often invited to present keynote and plenary presentations. We also serve on the Advisory committees and sub-committees for governmental organisations, as external reviewers for courses presented as part of BSc programmes offered in South Africa and publish non-peer reviewed publish popular publications and opinion pieces. Additionally, we serve as reference group and panel members for organisations such as the Water Research Commission, the National Research Foundation, where we review funding and rating applications. Furthermore, we review funding applications for international organisations such as the European Union.​1349 to media and popularisation of Science - Microbiology​​ Researchers, senior postdoctoral and postgraduate students affiliated with the Microbiology Department are frequently invited to participate in radio talk shows presented by local or community talk radio stations such as Radio Sonder Grense (RSG), Radio 786 and Cape Talk. Additionally, staff members have been interviewed by eNews Channel Africa (eNCA), where the content of the interview may either focus on the research conducted by a specific group in the department or may focus on a current research topic of interest which links to the expertise of the specific researcher. They also publish non-peer reviewed publish popular publications for magazines such as the Water Wheel (published by the Water Research Commission) as well as opinion pieces on “hot topics” of interest in local magazines and newspapers. The primary aim of this initiative is to ensure that research which benefits the public is explained in lay people terms and that the expertise of the respective researchers is used to broaden the understanding or popular topics.​1421 and wings: Improving quality of life for beneficiaries of government-initiated affordable housing projects​It is well established that safe and secure homes can significantly improve the quality of life for communities and also more broadly, the life of the community. This works through promoting dignity and quality of life, but also via economic channels that ensure that household members have a secure asset and thus a deeper and more long-term stake in the specific community. While the government's affordable housing initiative has envisioned this, such benefits have often not materialised due to deficient beneficiary participation in the planning and construction process and poor and variable construction quality of houses. The quality of houses have often been so inadequate that the municipality could not confer title deeds, thus meaning that the houses are not legally recognised as transferable assets. Also, due to the lack of participation and the poor construction quality, the government has missed the opportunity to create a strong sense of ownership and to realise the full quality of life improvement associated with the transfer of a high quality brick house to a new beneficiary.  The aim of the initiative is to introduce an accountability intervention in the construction of subsidised government housing so as to improve the quality of the houses being constructed. The houses are constructed for beneficiaries which currently reside in the poorest areas within South Africa. The first phase of the study was completed in between 2017 and 2019 and involved a randomized control trial (RCT). In this phase, 60 plots from the Rooidakke building site outside of Grabouw were randomly assigned to a treatment group and approximately 60 plots to a control group. Two postgraduate engineering students (who had completed their engineering degrees, but were completing their masters' dissertations) were appointed as research assistance and visited and inspected the plots in the treatment group on a weekly basis during construction. The students sent their feedback on to the contractor as well as the foreman on site. No such inspections took place at the building sites on the plots in the control group (which is a group of houses which were completed just prior to the commencement of the intervention, i.e. around June-October 2017). The visits were announced and arranged with the building contractor, who had full knowledge of which plots are in the treatment group. The theory of change of the RCT is that, with the inspections, the building contractor will be more diligent in the building process of the houses on the plots in the treatment group compared to the plots in the control group, leading to better quality houses. Quality was be assessed in two ways: first using an instrument which captures the technical quality of the houses, and secondly more subjectively by asking home owners about their experience living in the house. Fieldwork was conducted by community members residing in Rooidakke, who received training from the Stellenbosch team of researchers.The preliminary results from this pilot study indicate that the additional oversight was successful in the sense that the perceived quality of the houses receiving additional oversight was statistically significantly higher than for the houses which were in the control group and did not receive any additional oversight.​Provisional approval has been obtained from the provincial Department of Human Settlements to introduce two additional interventions in 2021. The first intervention will be aimed at bolstering upward accountability. It will involve remote monitoring using an application which runs from a smart phone. The application will allow inspectors to conduct their inspections more efficiently and capture valuable information immediately on site through the use of the app, rather on paper as per the current system. It will also allow for data to be compiled automatically and this data could offer very valuable input to inspectors and their supervisors about where to focus their energy and time in order to correct for the most egregious construction flaws. The technology is currently being developed collaboratively between the University of Stellenbosch and the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements. The second intervention will be aimed at bolstering downward accountability by assisting and training new homeowners on the identification of serious home defects and distinguishing the defects from problems that arise from lack of maintenance or incorrect or poor use and providing training on home owner rights and channels for reporting home defects. This intervention will also focus on improving home owners' sense of ownership as well as awareness around the responsibilities of home owners, such as maintenance. Beneficiaries participating in the intervention will receive informal training through the use of various videos which will be tailor-made to address various themes, including ownership (what does it mean to be the owner of a new house); maintenance of a new house; identification of building flaws (which are serious, and which are not, also to distinguish between maintenance issues and building flaws), and the legal rights around home ownership (title deed registration, drafting a will, insurance, etc.). These videos will be shown as part of Department of Human Settlements' Consumer Education Programme.  The partners in the initiative include the Department of Economics and Civil Engineering at Stellenbosch University, the Department of Economics at Bath University, UK, the Theewaterskloof Municipality, the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements, and various community leaders from the Rooidakke community.1381

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