Blog Post

Nelson Mandela University joins hands with DWF

NMU Vice-Chancellor Professor Sibongile Muthwa and DWF Chair, Lord Peter Hain at the signing of a MOU outlining mutual areas of interest

DWF chair Lord Peter Hain and NMU Vice-Chancellor Nelson Mandela University (NMU) Professor Sibongile Muthwa signed a memorandum of understanding identifying broad areas of joint interest, initially focusing on healthcare.

NMU believed that university scholarship should be “in service to society, making a meaningful impact on communities,” Prof Muthwa said at the signing.

“We have gone public with doing what all universities want to do around engagement, but we want to base our scholarship in service to society, using it to address some of the challenges faced by our communities.

“So ours is to ensure that the university is not an enclave, but works with a cross-section of people to make a meaningful impact in society,” Prof Muthwa said, adding that making an impact was important to NMU, which was aligned to DWF’s work.

Set up in 2003 to build on the legacy of anti-apartheid activist and campaigning journalist and newspaper editor Donald Woods, the foundation is a non-government organisation which works closely with local communities, traditional leaders and the three spheres of government to meet community needs, specifically focusing on rural communities in the Eastern Cape.

Its mission is to target the most isolated people, with the focus on lasting improvements in infrastructure, healthcare, education and skills development.

“This innovative agreement between NMU and the DWF will break new frontiers in health provision delivered in a remote rural, poverty-stricken part of the Transkei not far from Madiba’s birthplace,” said Lord Hain.

“It will enable our work to be linked with the university medical school’s training, research, delivery and funding. So DWF will not only be improving frontline healthcare around our centre at Hobeni as we have been doing for years by training local community health outreach workers, but also contributing to frontline training of doctors and nurses.”

The University plans for its first intake of students for its six-year MBChB degree are well underway for January 2021.

It is anticipated that as the partnership develops, specific service level agreements will be drafted, setting out additional needs and areas of focus such as education.

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