The FLAGH programme (Farm Labour and General Health) falls under the School of Physiology, Nutrition and Consumer Sciences. It was initiated in 2001 on farms in the Ventersdorp and Rysmierbult districts to teach farm women good eating habits. The programme, led by Prof Annamarie Kruger, has since expanded significantly: more than 160 families are benefiting from it and have become self-supporting.
Today, the original Rysmierbult income-generating group is practically independent. They have a product range consisting, amongst others, of denim bags, aprons and table place mats. Each of the seven participating women earn a good income per month (depending on the size of the orders they receive) and provide work to several women to whom they subcontract specific tasks such as embroidery.
In 2005 and 2006, the School of Physiology, Nutrition and Consumer Sciences received the Santam prize for the best income-generating project for tertiary institutions. One of the outcomes is a book with stories about the Rysmierbult area, as told by the women and their children, which was recorded and written by the School of Languages at the NWU.
Another FLAGH project was founded in the Rysmierbult area, as well as in Venterskroon and in the Vredefort Dome World Heritage site. Known as the Promosa Arts and Crafts group, it was established in 2008 and produces school clothing and track suits.
Yet another FLAGH project is the cultivation of vegetable gardens at farm schools to supplement school feeding programmes. Vegetable gardens have been established in Rysmierbult and at the Vredefort Dome World Heritage site. In cooperation with the Ventersdorp Municipality and Tlokwe City Council, a vegetable garden was also developed on a farm between Ventersdorp and Potchefstroom, at the request of the farm residents.
Students and staff of the NWU facilitated the intervention programmes by becoming involved in the daily lives of the women and providing literally years of training. With the women’s groups now functioning independently, the NWU is now focusing on creating new groups and consolidating the projects to encourage networking and skills exchange. This will in turn enable the groups to explore new markets, including export markets, and to cooperate in working on larger orders. Projects are self-supporting, but are individually supported by, amongst others, sponsors such as the Tlokwe City Council, the Department of Agriculture, Santam, the National Research Foundation (NRF) and others.
The Musikhane community project is aimed at exposing primary school learners in grades 5 to 7 to music training. The training is presented once a week by volunteers and music students. The project has had an enormous impact on the children and the community for the past number of years. When newcomers learn music, they experience the joy of making music with others and acquire musical skills.
The project also makes it possible to identify children with musical talent for a possible career in music. Furthermore, Musikhane offers formal music training to a community where training is not readily available, and gives the beneficiaries opportunities to learn new skills and broaden their horizons.
Musikhane is already well known through their concerts across South Africa. Various Musikhane members have enrolled for and completed music diplomas and BA Music degrees at the NWU following their exposure to the programme.
The Centre for Community Law and Development delivers free services to people who cannot afford legal assistance. This includes help with matters ranging from land claims to divorces.
Furthermore, the Centre provides training programmes for communities in the North-West and Mpumalanga provinces. It has established the North-West Access to Justice Cluster, which draws together institutions that deliver legal services to poorer and remote communities. The same is done in Mpumalanga by the Mpumalanga Access to Justice Cluster.
The Centre for Community Law and Development also assists rural communities through its involvement with the North-West Land Legal Unit. It is represented on the South African Women Lawyers Association (SAWLA) which, amongst others, promotes the rights of women legal practitioners. The lecturers of the Faculty of Law serve on 23 councils where their knowledge is ploughed back into the community.
The Ikateleng project is one of the most successful programmes for Grade 12 learners in the country. This project aims to improve the overall examination results of historically disadvantaged learners, through additional classes in Science, Mathematics and English, thus making tertiary education accessible to them. Through the Ikateleng programme, thousands of matriculants have already been trained so that they can enroll at a tertiary institution. The programme was initiated on the Vaal Triangle Campus in 1988 on the request of the community. Two years later it was extended to the Potchefstroom Campus. In 2004 it was extended to Taung and in 2005 to Mafikeng.
In 2007 three centres in Upington, Zeerust and Mooinooi (Brits) were added. The North-West University presents the programme on the three campuses, stretched across 18 Saturdays.
The average pass rate of Ikateleng learners during the past few years was far beyond the national and provincial average pass rates for matriculants.
One of the success stories is that of Dr Joe Modise. This learner of Ikageng obtained all his degrees (up to PhD) at the Potchefstroom Campus and was appointed as senior lecturer in Chemistry at the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) in Vanderbijlpark.