Community Based Initiatives


To create a dynamic, relevant and productive Community Engagement programme suited to our African setting.



Our mission is to create an environment where Community Engagement becomes an integral part of academia; where all disciplines in the school have an ongoing and dynamic engagement with society; and where we serve communities, but at the same time carry out research which is relevant to those communities, especially in KwaZulu-Natal. Without compromising our academic fundamentals, we look to a curriculum which speaks to society. We shall establish relationships with the public and private sector which will result in third-stream income accruing to the school and disciplines to enable our Community Engagement endeavour to be relevant, on-going and key to our scholarly purpose.

Community Engagement team:

Professor Lauren Dyll – Academic Leader: Community Engagement

Dr Sazelo Mkhize – Criminology & Forensics Studies
Dr Rawayda Petrus – Psychology (HC) representative
Dr Nana Buthelezi – Psychology (PMB) representative
Ms Patricia B. Zengele – Social Work
Ms Debbie Heustice –Info4Africa

Dr Sarah Gibson – Academic Leader: Teaching & Learning
Dr Maud Mthembu – Academic Leader: Research & Postgraduate Studies
Ms Nadia Paul – UKZN Foundation

Ms Lungi Zulu – Administrator

Message from the Academic Leader

The Community Engagement portfolio was created by Dean Jéan Steyn in 2018. It is a first for the school and is a recognition of the growing importance for academia of forcing links with society beyond the campus boundaries. Being a school of applied disciplines – Criminology and Forensics; Media, Communication and Society; Psychology; and Social work – this is particularly important, especial in a society like South Africa which is undergoing rapid and important transformation and development.

The foundation year is focusing on several key areas. These may be summaries as the following:

  1. Establishing the Community Engagement office and committee, including the appointment of an administrator.
  1. Establishing and implementing a Stakeholder Committees plan for the school. This includes setting up committees which include key external players in the disciplines, opinion makers and funders.
  1. Auditing all existing Community Engagement projects in the school.
  1. Auditing all existing Memoranda of Understanding and Agreement within the school.
  1. Creating a partnership with the UKZN Foundation
  1. Establishing initial contacts with external bodies, in particular with the municipality.

The interaction of the university endeavour with the community it serves is the way forward for universities in South Africa. To an extent this has existed for some years, but increasingly the impact of our work in the university is being viewed in terms of its impact on communities and has taken on a primary functional roll. The School of Applied Human Sciences is ideally placed to pioneer this new thrust and to establish what it is hoped will become the norm throughout the College of Humanities