News Archive

Development Management in Practice: Master Students Reaching Out to South African Township Community

Thirteen Master students of the Bochum Program of Development Management at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in South Africa recently started to work together with the Iliso Care Society (ICS), a non-profit organization supporting various community development activities in the township of Khayelitsha near Cape Town. As part of a course module on "Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation," the students from Botswana, Ethiopia, Germany, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Portugal, Zambia and Zimbabwe conducted practical planning exercises to support two on-going programs of the Iliso Care Society, namely the Iliso Youth Choir and the Iliso Feeding Scheme. Beyond the one-off planning exercise, the majority of the Master students have pledged their longer-term commitment to support the Iliso volunteers by sharing their experience and academic knowledge.

MADM students and Iliso staff

Khayelitsha, designated by the late Apartheid government as an area for workers mostly from the Eastern Cape area, is estimated to house more than a million people today, making it one of Africa's largest informal settlements. Despite increased government efforts to formalize the township and improve basic infrastructure, unemployment, poverty, crime, drug abuse and diseases such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis continue to be widespread, and the work of Iliso aims at addressing these problems.

Students learning about township life

Together with the ICS volunteers, one group of Master students identified and discussed various strategies to achieve financial sustainability of the Iliso Feeding Scheme for poor and sick community members. This program currently provides one hot meal a day for 80-100 people, enabling them to regularly take their medication against HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Mrs Vivian Zilo, founder and Managing Director of Iliso, started the organization in 2005, knowing from her previous work as a research assistant that those suffering from HIV/AIDS were often too weak to take their prescribed medicine because of undernourishment and poverty. While the feeding scheme has continued to be one core activity of the Iliso Care Society, programs have expanded to include early childhood development, vegetable gardening and youth development as well.


The second group exercise aimed at planning a trip of the Iliso Youth Choir to Germany. Since their awe-inspiring performance during the 10-year celebration of cooperation between the IEE, the School of Government and the Institute for Social Development at the University of the Western Cape, the IEE is planning to invite the choir to Germany to perform, among others, at the graduation ceremony for the MA in Development Management in Bochum in March 2014. For this purpose, we are urgently looking for sponsors!

For an acoustic impression of the Iliso Youth Choir, please click here.

Please contact IEE Executive Director Dr. Gabriele Bäcker (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Dr. Martina Shakya (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) for further information!