UNISA’s Department of Geography, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences in collaboration with the GRCF plans to Launch a Short Learning Program (SLP) on CAMP for C In 2012!

Unisa’s Department of Geography have been involved with the Greater Rustenburg Community Foundation since 2007, as a partner in their Community Engagement Program. Through this partnership, the academics in the Department were able to enter communities at grass-roots level, not only to undertake research, but also to understand the various approaches and techniques used by community empowerment organisations and community grantmakers to effect real change in the everyday lives of the communities that fall within their mandate. With this valuable experience and in consultation with the GRCF, the Department has decided to bring together the collective knowledge of philanthropy, communities and academia in the development of short learning programmes (SLP). The relevant documentation for these programmes has been developed and will be processed through the University approval process within the next few weeks for full implementation in 2012.

The first SLP, which will be presented for the first time in 2012, will be on CAMP for Change, (Community Asset Mapping Programmes for Change) and (Community Action Mobilization Programmes for Change). The focus will be on the approach that can be followed by participating stakeholders to support roots driven change projects.

The purpose of the second SLP will be to share the knowledge and skills of existing Community Foundations that will enable relevant stakeholders to create and maintain a Community Foundation or Community Grant-making Organisation, not only within South-Africa, but also within the African context.

Says Melanie Nicolau, Chair of the Department of Geography: “This is a wonderful opportunity for the Department, not only because we are expanding our range of offerings to potential students in this field, we are truly able to commit to UNISA’s vision, of being the African university, in service of humanity”. She further explains, that these SLP’s will be offered as part of their community engagement initiatives, and any financial profit made will not benefit the individual academics, but rather the various organisations participating in the presentation of the programme as well as the communities that are used as case studies in the actual teaching of the programmes. She added that the benefit for the Department would be in terms of the research outputs of the individual academics participating in the community engagement project.

The Greater Rustenburg Community Foundation wishes to extend an open invitation to all other community grantmakers, community foundations and development organisations in South-Africa, and the rest of Africa, to participate in this exciting development in our field. There will be opportunities for knowledgeable individuals from such organisations to present lectures and write study material for the SLPs and any benefits from such activities will be distributed amongst participating organisations.

“This is a huge breakthrough for us,” says Christine Delport, COO of the Greater Rustenburg Community Foundation, “finally, we are able to pool assets from Africa, FOR Africa. For me, this is what epitomises true community mobilisation, and makes me proud to be part of this African community”.

For more information, or to get involved, please contact Christine directly on +27 14 592 1525, or christine@grcf.co.za