Engagement in Action

PODCART  |  Podcast , ±20 min episodes every 1 week, 5 days  | 
Rhodes sees community engagement differently. Not as something that's bolted on - an afternoon's volunteering here and there. But as something that is woven in to the fabric of the University, that is about authentic relationships, which make a difference to everyone involved - students, staff and the organisations and community members they work with. "Engagement in Action" talks to the people who are bringing that vision to life.

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6. The Reviving Grahamstown Schools Programme (aka the VC's Education Project)

"It is better to light a candle than to curse darkness.” Public schooling in Grahamstown is broken. Just kilometers away from some of the most expensive and well-resourced schools in the country, are schools that are crumbling, teachers who are not coping and a system that is failing an entire generation of learners. In his inaugural speech in 2015, Rhodes Vice Chancellor, Dr Sizwe Mabizela, vowed to do something about it. Three years on, and no one could have predicted how much difference his remarkable education initiative would make.

5. Clement Simuja

“For many people, technology is not empowering, it's disempowering.“ Clement Simuja arrived at Rhodes from Malawi to do a PhD in Information Systems about “something to do with agriculture“. Then a desperate head teacher from Alexandria arrived in the department asking for help. His school had plenty of computers but no one who knew how to use them. Clement went to see what he could do. It changed his research, it changed his life and the lives of many others. This is a story of technology, inspiration and insight into increasing Africa's chances of a genuine digital revolution.

4. Professor Tally Palmer

“Every single human being on this planet lives in a catchment. You are upstream of somebody or downstream of somebody. Water is the great integrating factor.“ Professor Tally Palmer is Director for the Institute for Water Research and founder of the Unilever Centre for Environmental Water Quality. What does she believe we can we do to meet the challenges of quantity, quality and access to water in this country?

3. Dr Nosiphiwe Ngqwala and The Children of the Soil

Nosiphiwe “Nosi” Ngqwala arrived at Rhodes to do a masters in biochemistry. She became a student volunteer but realised there was no organisation focusing on what she felt was the most important job of all - teaching the next generation of South Africans how to look after their environment. So she founded Children of the Soil to do just that. She now has a PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and is a senior lecturer in the Pharmacy Department, but her passion for community building, for youth upliftment and for environmental education is as strong as ever.

2. Professor Jacqui Akhurst

Professor Jacqui Akhurst started her career as a teacher, became a school psychologist and then a full-time academic. Starting in KZN, moving to the UK in 2004 (York and York St John Universities) and then to Rhodes in 2015, her research focus has long been community psychology. Through her inspiration and guidance, Rhodes Psychology Department is one of the university's most active - and effective - when it comes to community engagement. In the second edition of the podcast, hear how she has helped create powerful interventions for students and community organisations alike.
Prof Jacqui Akhurst at Rhodes

1. The Environmental Learning Research Centre and the Amanzi for Food Project.

People need fresh, healthy food. But growing fresh food needs a reliable source of water in a water scarce country. The Amanzi for Food project – funded by the Water Research Commission (WRC) and led and implemented by the Environmental Learning Research Centre at Rhodes – brings together farmers, extension services, local economic development, agricultural training institutions and agricultural NGOs. They share knowledge and skills around harvesting, storing, and using rainwater to improve food production and to make farming as sustainable as possible. Find out how it works in this first edition of ‘Engagement in Action’ and how it benefits every single person involved – from subsistence farmers to academics.
Amanzi for Food webpage

6 episodes