This prestigious occasion, which was held at the Cape Town City Hall on 17 March 2022, welcomed role players from UWC, the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and the City of Cape Town (CoCT), who form part of the Nuffic consortium partnership. This existing UWC short course was offered as a capacity building and financial contribution to the Nuffic project outputs. The event celebrated 21 graduates from the human settlements and water and sanitation departments at the CoCT who completed the seven-month course.
The Stakeholder Engagement Short Course has five themes:
- Networking and Coordination
- Community and Stakeholder Relations
- Conducting Negotiations to deal with Conflict Situations
- Ethical Principles for Practice of Non-Discrimination
- Community Development Process
The course was conducted online for the first time and graduates were asked to attend two-hour online sessions for each of the five themes, along with application tasks for each theme, ending with a summative self-reflective report which tied in with an existing community project selected by each of the participants.
Professor Priscilla Daniels, Director at the CEU, commemorated the moment by reflecting on the significance of being hosted at City Hall - where the late Father of our Nation, Nelson Mandela, addressed the country for the first time after being freed from prison.
"The directive of UWC is to train and upskill not only in the higher education space, but to prepare everyone for graduation through any course at UWC, no matter the length," Prof Daniels stated. "We love that we could partner with you, the graduates, the City of Cape Town, and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam to ensure that all our local communities will be serviced with the knowledge and insight you have gained during the course."
Professor Vivienne Lawack, UWC’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic, explained the importance of Societal Impact through Scholarship of Engagement at UWC. She emphasised the key principles for community engagement at the university, saying for example “that our communities are co-creators of knowledge, that we engage ethically with our communities and we don’t research ‘at’ but conduct research ‘with’ our communities as equal partners.”
“We do not fly in and out of communities, but work together with the communities to find sustainable solutions,” said Prof Lawack.
Mayco member for water and sanitation, Dr Zahid Badroodien, and Mayco member for Human Settlements, Mr Malusi Booi, representing the CoCT, praised the graduates for their resilience and commitment in overcoming busy work and personal schedules in order to obtain the qualification.
"It is very special, and indeed an honour for me to have been part of such an amazing occasion. I would like to thank everyone for having me be part of this special ceremony, which is marked by the pending Human Rights Day which we will celebrate just days after the graduation of these brilliant CoCT employees," said Dr Badroodien. "I have been in this portfolio for less than six months and I have come to understand just how important water and sanitation is for every community. We are ready to empower and support these graduates to engage the local communities."
Mr Booi said: "Congratulations to all the amazing graduates. This is such a great achievement, and I am honoured that the CoCT can be part of all of this. Each of the graduates is an expert in their respective fields, and this expertise must now filter down to the local community level where daily issues and challenges need to be addressed and resolved".
Dr Henk van den Heuvel, Director: Centre for International Cooperation, VU Amsterdam, praised the facilitators and lecturers for walking the road with each graduate and making a concerted effort to ensure that each participant got the very best that the Stakeholder Engagement Short Course had to offer.
“I would like to acknowledge the input from the UWC side. They have gone above and beyond and far exceeded the expectations of all stakeholders. The university has contributed, both financially and with its resources, more than all of those involved with the programme,” Dr van den Heuvel said. “Congratulations to each graduate, and allow me to applaud the facilitators and lecturers for the great work that you have done. During the course, the passion for community engagement of each participant really stood out for me, and for this, I would like to say well done.”
The 21 graduates each received a certificate from Professors Lawack and Daniels, along with Mr Booi and Dr Badroodien.
The graduates are (in alphabetical order):Mr Mogamad Zahier Abrahams, Mr Yanda Bhe, Mrs Riana Boonzaaier, Mr Gerhard Hanekom, Mr Billy Jack, Mr Nicholas Jacobs, Mr Enslin Johnson, Mrs Nashietah Leukes, Mr Luxolo Madubedube, Mr Dumisani Mazelem, Mr Rodney Mc Kay, Ms Nosithandiwe Mene, Mr Sandiso Mgcineni, Ms Nolufefe Mondliwa, Mr Shakeel Moolman, Mr Zolani Mqongwana, Mrs Nondyebo Msolo, Ms Zoliswa Ndlanga, Mr Sihle Ngquleka, Mr Anton Terblanche, Mrs Zuzeka Tyakume
Images courtesy March Moon Photography.