College of Humanities

School of Education

Community Engagement » School of Education

RURAL COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT (23 – 28 June 2013)

We have just returned from a week in the community of aMacambini
(100km north of Durban), where we have facilitated a development
programme for secondary school learners in the area. This initiative
builds on previous joint programming between UKZN and SIT (School of
International Training).

16 SIT students from the United States
and 4 UKZN students in their final year of their degrees worked
collaboratively to facilitate the programme, under the guidance of Dr
Toni D’amant, Social Justice Education, School of Education. The four
UKZN students who volunteered to participate in this programme were
Anele Clive Moli, Sithandwayinkosi Goba, Nlakanipho Mnikathi and Bongeka
Snenhlanhla Gumede.These students are highly commended for bringing
their amazing energy and invaluable insights and expertise to the
programme.

The programme had a social justice focus, and
facilitated youth dialogues on issues confronting rural youth. The main
objectives of the programme were to deepen intercultural and
interpersonal awareness, understanding and respect; and, develop a
critical understanding of the complexities of themes such as community,
democracy, and empowerment.  The theoretical framework which underpinned
the week was one of ‘community engagement’ as opposed to ‘community
outreach’ or ‘community service’. This implies a reciprocal and
inclusive focus involving sharing, dialogue and collaboration. Verbal
and written reflections from learners, SIT and UKZN students show
evidence of having reached these objectives.  Sit students, UKZN
students and school learners benefited equally from the programme.