NWU gives new meaning to ‘Food for thought’
Reaching out to and supporting its communities is of utmost importance to the North-West University (NWU).
In light of this, Prof Marilyn Setlalentoa, deputy vice-chancellor for community engagement and operations on the NWU’s campus in Mahikeng, has embarked on a food security project at local schools in the district.
Her office, in partnership with the subject group Crop Science is driving the project, and Ms Motsei Modise, an NWU alumnus, donated funds for the project.
In addition, the e-Agro-Tourism Colab, a project within the School of Communication on the campus, provides funding to train community members. The CoLab is funded by the National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa (NEMISA) and Prof Mpho Chaka is the director.
The main aim of the food security project is to provide schools with the necessary garden tools, seeds and seedlings to start their own vegetable gardens.
The schools that will benefit from this outreach are Lokaleng, Signall Hill, Ramosadi, Seetsele, Lotlamoreng and Podile primary schools.
Members of the community, crop science students and the Student Campus Council showed their support and assisted the various schools to start their vegetable gardens.
“This project has a twofold benefit,” says Prof Setlalentoa. “On the one hand our students get the opportunity to do their practical work and get involved with their community. On the other hand, the community also gain the necessary skills to grow their own food.
“Our students from will monitor the project and ensure the sustainability thereof,” she adds.
“Our long-term goal is for these schools to maintain their gardens, continue planting and to use the vegetables to raise funds. Furthermore, members of the community will also benefit as they will be able to have easier access to fresh produce at lower prices. In the end this will certainly contribute to a healthy diet that will enhance learning and growth,” explains Prof Setlalentoa.
She says they also want to train parents to play a role in addressing poverty, hunger and good health, while they acquire agricultural skills.
“With the help of other stakeholders, we will supply and erect green houses to protect the crops.”
Members of the community, Crop Science students and the Student Campus Council of the NWU’s campus in Mahikeng are hard at work while starting a vegetable garden at one of the schools.