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02 May 2018 Photo Charl Devenish
South Campus UAP celebrates 27 years of access to education
Mr Francois Marais, Prof Kalie Strydom, Prof Daniella Coetzee (South Campus Principal), Prof Francis Petersen, Dr Nthabeleng Rammile (Vice-Chairperson of the UFS Council), and Dr Khotso Mokhele (Chancellor of the UFS).

More than 27 years ago, international funding from the Human Sciences Research Council and Anglo American was put to an unusual use for that time. Prof Kalie Strydom’s research unit at the University of the Free State (UFS) was tasked with reviewing how institutional missions would change in the new South Africa. Prof Strydom worked closely with surrounding communities in Bloemfontein to develop a bridging course which would help students who showed potential to access tertiary education, although they did not meet the requirements. His vision brought to birth the University Access Programme (UAP), as it is known today, which is hosted on the UFS South Campus, and is still providing unique access to higher-education institutions in South Africa.

People with a passion for human development
March 2018 saw the 27th anniversary of this remarkable initiative, which has given a second chance to over 18 000 students. Special guests at the event included Prof Strydom, Mr Francois Marais, and representatives from the Department of Higher Education and Training and Investec’s corporate social investment office.

Dr Sonja Loots, researcher in the UFS Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL), singled out two key individuals in the formation of the UAP: Prof Kalie Strydom, who initiated the programme, and Mr Marais, who has been Director of the UAP since its inception. Dr Loots highlighted one of the driving forces behind Prof Strydom’s perseverance, vision, and determination with the UAP by quoting from an interview with him for an upcoming book on student access and success. He said, “It was a decision based on principle … to be part of the solution to a better country.”

Access and success still an issue today
In his presentation on the “Importance of Access”, Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, pointed out the vital role of access in South Africa, especially the value it offers for the betterment of the country’s people. However, he said that student success is also an issue, and institutions need to be accountable for it. Quoting Prof John Martin of the University of Cape Town’s Faculty of Engineering, “We must be flexible on access, but robust on success.” Only by “closing the loop” in this way, can the UFS and other higher-education institutions ensure a valuable contribution to the economy of the country.

News Archive

Help to rural women to become entrepreneurs
2006-10-24

Some of the guests who attended the ceremony were, from the left: Mr Donray Malabie (Head of the Alexander Forbes Community Trust), Ms Jemina Mokgosi (one of the ladies from Tabane Village who is participating in the Women in Agriculture project), Dr Limakatso Moorosi (Head: Veterinary Services, Free State Department of Agriculture), Prof Johan Greyling (Head: UFS Department of Animal and Wildlife and Grassland Sciences) and Ms Khoboso Lehloenya (coordinator of the project from UFS Department of Animal and Wildlife and Grassland Sciences). Photo: Leonie Bolleurs\

Alexander Forbes and UFS help rural women to become entrepreneurs
 
Today, the Alexander Forbes Community Trust and the University of the Free State (UFS) joined forces to create an enabling environment for rural women to become players in the private sector.

Three years ago the UFS set up a unique small-scale household egg production project called Women in Agriculture in Thaba ‘Nchu as a pilot project. The project was officially launched today by Mr Donray Malabie, Head of the Alexander Forbes Community Trust.

The aim of the Women in Agriculture Project is to create jobs, provide food security and to help develop rural women into entrepreneurs. A total of 25 women based in Tabane Village in Thaba ‘Nchu are the beneficiaries of the project.

“This is the first project in the Free State the Alexander Forbes Community Trust is involved with.  The project would help rural women acquire the skills they need to run their own egg-production business from their homes,” said Mr Malabie. 

“The ongoing debate on the shortage of skills ignores the fact that people with little or no education at all also need training. This project is special to the Trust as it provides for the creation of sustainable jobs, food security and the transfer of much needed skills all at once, particularly at this level,” he said.

Every woman in the group started with two small mobile cages that housed 12 hens each. The units are low in cost, and made of commercially available welded mesh and a metal frame. Now, each woman has four cages with 48 hens. The group manages to collectively produce 750 eggs daily.

The eggs are currently sold to local businesses, including spaza shops and the women are using the income generated to look after their families and to further develop their business.

The Department of Animal and Wildlife and Grassland Sciences at the UFS identified the project and did the initial research into the feasibility of setting up such a project.

“A demonstration and training unit has been established at the Lengau Agricultural Development Centre and the women attended a short practical training course. Subsidies are provided for feeding, together with all the material and the lay hens necessary for the start of the business,” said Ms Khoboso Lehloenya, coordinator of the project from the Department of Animal and Wildlife and Grassland Sciences at the UFS. 

“The advantage in using lay hens is that they are resistant to diseases and the women will not need electric heating systems for the egg production,” said Ms Lehloenya. 

According to Ms Lehloenya, the women are already benefiting from their egg production businesses.  “Some of them have used the profit to buy school uniforms and tracksuits for their children and others are now able to make a monthly contribution to their household expenses,” said Ms Lehloenya. 
“In South Africa, possibly due to cultural reasons and circumstances, most black people prefer to eat older and tougher chickens, compared to younger soft commercially available broiler chickens. This preference creates a further advantage for the women. At the end of their production cycle, old hens can be sold for a higher price than point-of-lay or young hens. This brings in further money to pay for more hens,” said Ms Lehloenya.

The Alexander Forbes Trust contributed R191 000 towards the project aimed at expanding it to benefit 15 more women.

“We are in the process of recruiting an additional 15 women in Thaba ‘Nchu who will be trained by the Lengau Agricultural Development Centre in order to replicate the model and extend its reach”, said Ms Lehloenya.

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel:   (051) 401-2584
Cell:  083 645 2454
E-mail:  loaderl@mail.uovs.ac.za
20 October 2006

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