UFH and ADM seal their symbiotic relationship through an MOU

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The University of Fort Hare and Amathole District Municipality formalized an agreement that could help the municipality and the University identify joint projects that enrich the Amathole District’s educational opportunities while also advancing its economic, social and community development needs. This helps build communities, but also strengthens University of Fort Hare and make it increasingly valuable to the entire region as a key resource for education and knowledge. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the University of Fort Hare Vice Chancellor, Professor Sakhela Buhlungu and Amathole District Municipality Manager, Dr Thandekile Mnyimba on Wednesday, April 03, 2019 is the latest venture to see the District and university collaborate on initiatives that support the strategic intentions of both parties. The MOU will see the two partners create a joint steering committee that explores ways of moving forward by matching the University’s areas of expertise with the Town’s needs and opportunities.

In his welcoming address, the Vice Chancellor said that the University of Fort Hare is committed to supporting the development of local communities, especially in ways that benefit both partners. “For the University, initiatives like this typically lead to work-integrated experiential learning opportunities, while advancing cutting-edge research and transferring UFH’s innovation into our host communities, supporting social and economic needs,” said Professor Buhlungu. This new genre of collaboration between universities and municipalities allows for community co-research models, where the municipalities are an active partner who not only help define the scope of a project, but participate in research whose outcomes are specific and can be realistically implemented by at a  municipal level.

In his reply address, Dr Mnyimba said, “This is a very important and historical moment at Amathole District Municipality. Joining ADM in 2017, the first thing I thought of was to establish a strategic relationship with the University of Fort Hare in order to realise the ideals of ADM Vision 2058.”

“This collaboration serves as a local think tank with focus and expertise, a relationship to benefit ADM, our community, and our staff” said Dr Mnyimba. He further identified the following catalytic projects to improve the quality of life of the people in the Amathole District:

•           Sea-water desalination to curb the shortages of water for community consumption and business prosperity.

•           Integrated Transport System for the movement of goods and services and the exchange of culture.

•           Revitalisation of Irrigation Schemes, and

•           Human Resources and Capital Development.