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18 April 2019 | Story Rulanzen Martin

The Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice IRSJ) has initiated a Social Justice Week at the University of the Free State (UFS), which started on Friday 12 April  until Wednesday 17 April 2019. 

Ten key events took place during the week. It ranged from dialogues, workshops, talk shows, debates, and interactive displays and events on issues of multilingualism and diversity, social innovation, engaged scholarship, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, gender sensitisation, sexual consent, sexual preparedness, universal access, disability, anti-discrimination, and security.

There was also a round-table discussion on 17 April 2019 with various UFS stakeholders on off-campus student security as well as an inter-institutional discussion on the same topic. The UFS Debating Society will take on the topic of the UFS Language Policy, while Olga Barends from the Free State Centre for Human Rights will host a dialogue on sexual consent.

The IRSJ has also designed and implemented SOJO-VATION: Social Innovation/ Social Change, which strives to create a foundational platform where ideas of social justice, innovation, and engaged scholarship at the UFS and in society can be hosted. SOJO-VATION partners with the Office for Student Leadership, Development, and Community Engagement.

The collaborating partners for the Social Justice Week includes various UFS stakeholders such as the Sasol library, the Gender and Sexual Equity Office, UFS Protection Services, the Free State Centre for Human Rights, the Student Representative Council (SRC), the Office for Student Leadership Development, Kovsie Innovation, GALA, the FFree State Centre for Human Rights, SRC Associations, the Office for Student Governance, Kovsie Innovate, Start-Up-Grind, EVC, EBL, Community Engagement, the Institutional Transformation Plan (ITP) Dialogues Office, Residence Dialogues, UFS Debating Society, Debate Afrika!, the Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS), and the Gateway Office. 

News Archive

New SADC Groundwater Management Institute will strengthen UFS footprint in Africa
2015-07-30

Prof Danie Vermeulen
Photo: Anja Aucamp

The new SADC Groundwater Management Institute (SADC GMI) will be fully operational in 2016, says Prof Danie Vermeulen, Head of the Institute for Groundwater Studies (IGS) at the University of the Free State.

The SADC GMI will have its offices in the IGS building on the Bloemfontein Campus. The UFS will be responsible for the financial side of the operation. The IGS, SADC member states, and the World Bank are co-operating on this project, which will build sustainable groundwater management across regional borders.  Universities in the region tendered for the project, but the proposal by the IGS towered above the rest, Prof Vermeulen says.

The SADC GMI will strengthen the capacity of institutions to establish sustainable groundwater management. It will promote the management and development of groundwater infrastructures, and advance knowledge about national and trans-boundary groundwater. With the establishment of the new institute, research will be conducted, knowledge shared, and capacity built.

Prof Vermeulen says research has shown that groundwater is a primary source of water for more than 70% of the 250 million people in the drought-prone SADC region. The rapid expansion of commercial farming and industry is putting great pressure on water resources; 67% of all water is used in agriculture.

The new institute is an important instrument for the UFS to strengthen its footprint in Africa.  “The SADC GMI is about distributing knowledge across the SADC region. It is important for the UFS to extend into Africa. The official collaboration between the UFS, the World Bank, and the SADC countries enables us to reach the goal,” Prof Vermeulen says.

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