University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

The University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) is a public university in Johannesburg, South Africa. The origins of Wits lie in the South African School of Mines, which was established in Kimberley in 1896 and transferred to Johannesburg in 1904. The institution achieved full university status as the University of the Witwatersrand in 1922. Wits now enrolls over 24,000 students in five faculties: Commerce, Law, and Management; Engineering and the Built Environment; Health Sciences; Humanities; and Science. University of the Witwatersrand’s website>>

Community Engagement at the School of Human and Community Development

 The School of Human and Community Development in the Faculty of Humanities hosts a Community Engagement Committee that coordinates the School’s outreach work. The objectives of the committee include:

  • The promotion of community engagement as an active form of academic citizenship through the fostering of extra-curricular activities which enable civic leadership, community development and institutional change
  • The promotion of the development of academically based community service courses in partnership with communities and service providers
  • Stimulating collaborative research activities which address the developmental needs of our society and which serve the interest of the community

 They work with local schools, NGOs, churches, old age homes, and hospitals to provide service learning opportunities for their own students while providing services to the community. For example, the Psychology Department runs a peer-support project in schools which aims to train students as peer-educators who in turn facilitate workshops and provide support services to their peers. These peer-educators, with the assistance of MA Psychology students facilitated workshops on drug- and alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, career guidance, violence, conflict resolution skills, and anger management skills. Learn more>>

Centre for Rural Health

 The Centre for Rural Health is an initiative of the Health Sciences Faculty at Wits, which has a long-standing history of involvement in rural areas in South Africa. The Centre develops postgraduate programs in rural medicine and rural health, conducts research in the area, supports undergraduate education in rural health care, contributes to local and national policy development in the field, and develops programs to facilitate recruitment and retention of health care professionals in rural areas. The Centre’s Rural Health Advocacy Program advocates for improved access to high quality, comprehensive health care services in rural areas. The RHAP seeks to make rural health issues more visible to key stakeholders such as the government, the media, and the public. Learn more>>

Wits Law Clinic

The Law Clinic at the Wits School of Law has been in operation for almost thirty-five years. It started as a small advice office with the assistance of students who participated on a voluntary basis. In 1989 the course Practical Legal Studies became a compulsory course for all final year law students. Today, the Wits Law Clinic is one of the biggest law clinics of its kind in South Africa, and is renowned for its work, particularly in areas of public interest law and claims against the State as a result of police brutality. The clinic mainly serves indigent residents of the greater Johannesburg area. Through their work on actual case (supervised by practicing attorneys), students learn vital skills such as interviewing and statement taking skills, writing skills, drafting of legal documents, problem solving, ethical and professional rules and courtroom skills or trial advocacy. Learn more>>

Emthonjeni Centre

The Emthonjeni Centre (EC) was launched in 2007 as a multidisciplinary initiative by the School of Human and Community Development. The EC offers psychological, social work, speech pathology and audiology services to the public. The Centre aims to provide quality services at nominal fees for the disadvantaged communities and offers assessment, intervention, counselling and psychotherapy with particular emphasis on early diagnosis and intervention. Read more>>