Sustainability of Community Outreach Projects in Post-Apartheid South Africa

By Martina Jordaan.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Community involvement is one of the three pillars in higher education in South Africa (the other pillars being teaching and research). Students must get involved in outreach projects at various levels in their local communities. Outreach initiatives must be sustainable in order to prevent any discouragement in the targeted communities and with the students involved for future endeavours. The suggested steps to simplify the task of initiating a sustainable community endeavour, as proposed by the United States Department of Energy, will be used as a framework to evaluate the sustainability of a community outreach module at a higher education institution in South Africa. The concerns relating to sustaining the campus-community partnerships will be discussed, as well as the actions taken to sustain the projects executed by the students during their fieldwork. The paper will discuss the specific topics with regard to sustaining a community engagement module in higher education within the post-apartheid South African environmen

Keywords: South Africa, Higher Education, Community Outreach, Sustainability, Campus-Community Partnerships

The International Journal of Social Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp.77-87. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 580.225KB).

Dr. Martina Jordaan

Senior Lecturer, Community-Based Project Module, Faculty Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa

Dr. Martina Jordaan is a senior lecturer responsible for the compulsory undergraduate course, Community-Based Module, of the Faculty Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. More than 1600 students register annually for the module. Students have to do a project, for at least 40 hours, at one of the 500 possible community partners. Thereafter they have to reflect on their experiences. Her experiences as an educator and field worker in the informal settlements next to Pretoria, ensured that she was able to develop this module and adapt it to the challenging circumstances in South Africa.