Community Engagement Project Internationally Recognized
By Liesl Dyson and Phindiwe Nkosi
Posted on 02 December 2008
ONE LEAP FOR MANKIND: Liesl Dyson (third row with children on her lap) and the 2007 Community Project team members wearing the light blue shirts.
The University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences is proud to announce that one of its lecturers won a prize in the esteemed Educating Africa, Pan-African Awards for Entrepreneurship in Education: Teach A Man To Fish.
Liesl Dyson, a lecturer at the Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology stood out from the international applicants to receive the prize for a meteorology community project – a project presented as a second year subject which forms part of the BSc (Meteorology) degree since 1999.
“We aim to introduce meteorology students to project management. Emphasis is placed on group work and the students are required to identify a community, which would benefit from an outreach program. The students consequently have to find sponsorship and then plan, execute, and document the project,” says Dyson.
According to Dyson, the second aim stems from the outreach program at a rural community. “The community project has found a synergy with the projects responsible for the erection of fog water collection systems at rural schools,” says Dyson.
Some of the accomplishments achieved by this project during the period of 2002 until the present (2008), include the establishment of a weather camp at Tshanowa Primary School as well as fixing rain gutters on a school roof and obtaining storage tanks to store rain water the following year. Fog water collection systems were erected and maintained at Tshiavha Primary School another school in Soutpanberg.
“The personal growth that the meteorology students undergo during the project is one of its real accomplishments. Students are often amazed to experience the infrastructure and facilities at rural schools. It is a very valuable learning experience for them to understand the real needs and problems with education in South Africa,” concludes Dyson.