Monthly Newsletter – June 2012

nwspprThe UKZN Community Development Department’s Kenneth Gardens Community Project, run in partnership with DUT, has now been running for over one year.  We would like to thank you for your interest and support in this initiative thus far.

This first newsletter gives an overview of the various activities and achievements over the last year. The outreach, research and student participation items listed below reflect the commitment and passion of various stakeholders and individuals, who together have made a meaningfully and positive contribution to the project and the Kenneth Gardens community.

That the majority of these programmes and activities have been run with little to no funding is testimony to how much can be achieved when people from both within and outside of the community come together to develop a project that meets community needs.  Thank you all!

This newsletter is the first of our communications that will continue to update you on the project.  If you wish to find out any further details please do not hesitate to contact Damien Naidu at UKZN on 031 260-3151.

Some highlights of outreach activities and achievements

Primary health care clinic 

Photo: 5th year DUT Homeopathy student consulting with Kenneth Gardens resident at the Public Health Clinic, 11 April 2012

On the 11th of April 2012, a health care clinic was opened in Kenneth Gardens. The services are provided by the Homeopathy Department based at DUT. At present about 108 residents of Kenneth Gardens are regular clients at the Clinic. This programme is being run with the assistance of an existing home based care organization, Senzokuhle (an NPO based in Kenneth Gardens). At present the clinic runs from 09:00-12:00 on a Wednesday morning. The clinic is currently based at the Kenneth Gardens committee room and has received a very positive response from the community. A lease agreement with the Municipal Housing Department will be signed in the near future which will allow for the creation of a fully functioning public health care clinic facility.

Nutrition Programme 

A nutrition programme has been initiated at Kenneth Gardens. This is being run by the DUT Nutrition Programme. Regular talks on good nutrition and diet have been held and a nutrition survey has been conducted.

Upgrade of playground area for Kenneth Gardens children

The Berea Round Table provided new swings, thus creating a playground area for the children in Kenneth Gardens. This was completed in December 2011 in time for the school holidays. This playground is well used by the children and adds colour to the grounds of lower Kenneth Gardens.

Tertiary Education Bursary programmes  

In partnership with the HCI Foundation National Bursary Programme, bursary opportunities were introduced for young residents of Kenneth Gardens who are eligible to study at tertiary institutions in KZN. As a result of this programme, two young people from Kenneth Gardens are studying at UKZN, one in Engineering and one in Education.

Scholarships for high school students

In partnership with the Turquoise Harmony Institute, a scholarship programme was set in place for students beginning Grade 8 in 2012 to attend Star College. 17 students from Glenmore Primary School (the feeder-school for Kenneth Gardens primary school children) were recipients of these scholarships and are currently in Grade 8 at Star College. All these students have been awarded academic scholarships. The male students have also been provided with free boarding accommodation at Star College. At present no facilities exist for female scholars, but Star College is planning to provide such accommodation facilities in 2013. These recipients will be funded for their entire high school career and are now attending a school known to achieve some of the best maths and science matric results in the country.

Mini-cricket 

The KZN Cricket Union has begun a programme for training mini-cricket coaches within Kenneth Gardens. Young men and women from the Kenneth Gardens community will be trained as professional cricket coaches. Once this training is completed, a mini-cricket team will be formed within Kenneth Gardens.

Modern dance classes for young people  

The Flat Foot Dance Company has committed itself to running weekly dance classes for youth from Kenneth Gardens. Two classes will be held on a Wednesday afternoon at Glenmore Primary School. Children from other schools who live in Kenneth Gardens are encouraged to attend these classes.

Weekly Capoeira classes for primary school children 

Every Friday free Capoeira (a fusion of martial arts, African dance and movement) classes are provided to primary school children. These classes are run at Glenmore Primary School by Cristina Giampietri from DUT. A traditional African music programmes, run by Sazi Dlamini from UKZN, accompanies the Capoeira training and the children are learning how to play traditional African instruments.

 Urban agriculture programme

An urban agriculture programme is underway, led by Mr Clive Greenstone who is a Ph.D student in the School of Built Environment and Community Development. This programme will be aligned with similar programmes that are being planned by the Municipal Area Based Management unit and the ANC PR councilor. The project will mobilise all those residents who are interested in gardening. A modality to manage this project in a self-sustainable way is being developed in consultation with all the partners and stakeholders.

Capacity building and organizational development 

Staff of the UKZN Community Development Programme, together with other partners are engaged in a range of capacity building programmes for the residents’ committee and for two non-profit organizations that operate within Kenneth Gardens, Carrots and Peas a feeding scheme run by a group of women in Kenneth Gardens that provides hot meals to residents in Kenneth Gardens and Flamingo Court; and Senzokuhle Community Based Organisation, run by a group of Kenneth Gardens women who provide home-based care and health support to residents. Capacity building programmes included organizational development, strategic planning, funding, administrative and financial advice and assistance, negotiating skills and goal setting activities.  Capacity building for Carrots and Peas Feeding Scheme has also generously been provided by Ken and Norma Lancaster who have historically been very active in running Operation Hunger in Durban.

Kenneth Gardens Advocacy Group 

In mid-2011 a Kenneth Gardens Advocacy Group was formed. This group consists of influential members of the community who have the interest of the Kenneth Gardens Community at heart. This group comes together to support the Residents’ Committee in their efforts to uplift their community, such as by lobbying government for core needs and services. To date, that relationship yielded benefits in safety and security, as well as donations to the soup kitchen called Carrots and Peas, and lobbying local government departments for improvement in living conditions in Kenneth Gardens. An advocacy group meeting will be convened in August 2012.

Bhakti Yoga Kitchen 

UKZN has facilitated a weekly provision of food to the residents of Kenneth Gardens from the Bhakti Yoga Kitchen. This is now provided every Friday at lunch time.

Research activities and achievements

Demographic survey

A demographic survey was carried out from 3rd September – 7th October 2011.  In total Kenneth Gardens has 282 units and the survey sampled 157 of these, covering 641 residents.  Community Development third year students were trained in constructing and administering this survey. Over and above the demographic data collected this research offered insight into the needs and support services required by residents.  A statistical narrative of some of the key data is available if required.

Oral history interviews 

The oral history project is well underway. This project aims to capture the narratives and history of residents from their own perspectives.  It also provides rich qualitative data to determine the exact nature of the social and economic conditions in the housing estate.  Thus far, twelve oral histories have been completed and are currently been transcribed and analysed. Another 20 oral histories will be conducted by the end of October 2012 by UKZN academic staff.

Student Participation activities and achievements

UKZN Community development students 

The 3rd year students from the Community Development Program at UKZN, get access to practical community development and research experience through the Kenneth Gardens Community Project. The students get to work with the two existing NPO’s by pitching in to help with daily routines and extra mural activities for the youth at Kenneth Gardens.

DUT Homeopathy students 

Dr Ingrid Couchman, lecturer & clinician from the Homeopathy Department at DUT together with her students, run a successful clinic every Wednesday from the Kenneth Gardens residents committee room. The students get valuable practical experience both in the clinic and through visiting home bound patients in the estate.

DUT Nutrition Students 

Prof. Carin Napier from the Department of Food & Nutrition at DUT together with her students are currently conducting a survey on food security in Kenneth Gardens, as well as checking residents BMI and offering residents free advice on how to eat healthy on a low budget. They also host monthly talks on topics pertaining to primary health issues and how healthy eating can change your lifestyle.

DUT Public Relations Management Students 

Miss Nisha Ramlutchman, Lecturer from the department of Public Relations Management at DUT together with her first year students have to engaged with a non-profit organisation of their choice to complete a formal assessment, that is based on public relations, media studies and communication science curricula.

The students identify an NPO, and after conducting an assessment of the organisation, they plan and execute a public relations activity geared towards meeting a specific need/s of the NPO. The students work from a zero-based budget, and put their theoretical knowledge into practice in completing their project. In addition, the students also try and generate media awareness for the NPO by drafting and disseminating media releases to local newspapers in Durban.

The student project is premised on the idea of promoting authentic learning and encourages the participation between community and classroom, forging partnerships that encourage deeper learning.

 

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