UFH participates in University of Bologna's Virtual Mobility Programme

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Mr Maliviwe Mpayipheli, Livestock and Pasture Science Lecturer and two postgraduate students, Ms Nasiphi Bontsa and Mr Sikhumbuzo Ngcuzana from the Faculty of Science and Agriculture have been selected to participate in a virtual mobility programme hosted by the University of Bologna in Italy. 

 
The participants have joined a Sustainable Development and One Health (OH) online course where they have been attending classes and will sit for final exams to earn credits. The course started last month and will run until 21 April 2021.
 
This is a benefit that accrues from the ELEPHANT collaborative project between eight Higher Education Institutions in South Africa and Europe.
 
The term ELEPHANT derives from the project title: Empowering universities’ Learning and rEsearch caPacities in the one Health Approach for the maNagement of animals at the interface between humans, livestock, wildlife and environment in SouTh Africa. 
 
The primary objective of the project is to contribute towards poverty relief by boosting innovative learning and research capacities in the One Health context. The project is funded by the European Commission under the Erasmus + Cooperation for Innovation and the Exchange of Good Practices – Capacity Building in the field of Higher Education programme.
 
About the Course According to information published on the website of the University of Bologna, the course aims to provide the basis of systemic thinking for the improvement of surveillance programmes, timely response to emergencies and economic savings by applying the OH approach. 
 
It intends to make students understand the need for an integrated and cross-sectoral approach toward the achievement of the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. It also provides basic knowledge on the main issues related to health at the human/animal/environment interfaces. 
 
The programme targets students of all disciplines, who see their future as leaders in local and international bodies such as: 
 
• Institutions involved in health management and food security 
• Organizations dealing with cooperation and development in the field of health and food security 
• Companies active in the production and marketing of food products abroad and in international trade 
• Research institutes dealing with sustainable development • Biosafety and bio-defence agencies 
• Advice to public bodies on health management, responsiveness and sustainability 
• Academic institutions 
• Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) active in the field of cooperation and development. 
 
Mpayipheli, an aspiring academic who is passionate about community engagement, said he was very excited to be part of the programme. “It will expand my knowledge of OH approach and afford me a chance to work and learn from other colleagues from different disciplines.” According to him, the focus of this module is on climate, water, food and health, which are crucial priority areas of the Sustainable Development Goals. 
“Therefore, we stand to acquire knowledge and skills that may potentially reshape our university curriculum, increase research outputs and assist in the attainment of food security in the near future.” 
 
Ms Bontsa said she is grateful for the opportunity “I will be empowered with more knowledge and it will enhance my research skills, especially around the OH methodology.” 
Mr Ngcuzana described being selected for this programme as “a once in a life-time opportunity.”
 
by Aretha Linden