PONT - partnerships tackling poverty together

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University Overview

mbale 08 353A wide university portfolio of resources and expertise surrounds PONT. The scale of activity and volume of interest from within the university has led to the creation at the request of the Vice Chancellor of a University of Glamorgan PONT Board - chaired by the Dean of Health, Exercise and Sport Science – and a cross-faculty PONT operational group. University staff engage in a range of volunteering activity, in partnership with the wider Pontypridd community. Examples include:

Health

  • Partnership working between University of Glamorgan health science lecturers and Mbale health workers - including use of the Mbale Study Centre. This includes working with local midwives and NGOs to train traditional birth attendants, health promotion, support for learning disabilities, mental health and developing chronic disease management
  • Collaborative research on the diagnosis and management of diabetes.
  • The management and prevention of malaria and the use of mosquito nets in order to reduce morbidity rates amongst children.
  • Arranging staff and student placements within health care

Construction

  • Visiting groups of University of Glamorgan students working on a building houses project, under the auspice of Habitat for Humanity mbale 08 206
  • Responding to the degradation of road surfaces in the approaches to schools where there is a school bus service, and identifying low-cost alternatives based on locally available materials.
  • Assessing the quality of stabilised earth blocks and developing unfired clay brick cement-stabilised construction blocks produced by NGOs as an income-generating activity. The quality of these depends on soil quality, and a change in the process may result in lower usage of cement. There may also be scope for substitution of some of the binder with waste material.
  • Collaborating with the Consortium for Industrial Training on Sustainable Constructed Environments (which was set up by the Welsh Assembly Government’s Knowledge Exploitation Fund with support from the European Social Fund), to adapt courses for the pilot study countries.

Energy

  • Improving standards of living within rural communities in Africa through using energy efficient low cost vegetable oil candle lamps and cooking stoves
  • Stimulating the village economy and relieving pressure on natural resources (such as wood and other fossil fuels).

Mathematics

  • Students and staff participating in classroom activities which provide assistance in mathematics, working alongside Ugandan teachers.  Some will also take classes in football and netball. They will also develop a teacher resource centre through the cataloguing of equipment.

Community development

  • Devising shared principles and metrics for sustainable community development including, in the Ugandan context, pro-poor growth. The informal settlement at Namatala is among the very poorest areas of Mbale. University visits in 2007 and 2008 focussed on community engagement to elicit priorities for projects that will assist in achieving Millennium Development Goal Target 11, indicators 31 and 32 (Proportion of population with access to improved sanitation and Proportion of households with access to secure tenure).

Geography

  • A residential field course venue for Geography and other Earth Science students
  • Research links in the field of development studies

Education

  • Engaging faculty-based academics and their students in projects and event which introduce issues of poverty, health and cultural development in Africa to the next generation of RCT school children. The University is keen to explore potential links between the increasingly popular Welsh Baccalaureate’s Wales Europe and the World curriculum and PONT projects which use higher education resources.

Engineering:

Develop the clean water initiative, to include systems for collecting rain water, and building dams.

Future Developments mbale 08 319

The University of Glamorgan PONT Steering Board is now considering best ways for promoting and resourcing the following future activities in order to achieve sustainable partnership:

  • Planning a new major-minor curriculum and qualification pathway for undergraduates who have an interest in the developing world, African Studies, and globalization.
  • Developing work experience projects, field trips, placements and dissertations which prepare University graduates for future careers in charity and voluntary work.
  • Linking Police Science expertise within the University of Glamorgan with police services in Mbale. Two of our lecturers have in recent years established police training programmes in sub-Saharan countries.
  • Piloting a payroll-giving scheme where donations are made by staff to a PONT charitable account that would then sponsor PONT projects and visits.
  • Developing TEFL pathways and initiatives, and embedding PONT within a broader international strategy for the University.
  • Involving educational development and widening access staff in advisory work associated with the establishment of an education and lifelong learning resource centre in Mbale.
  • Making connections between the University chaplaincy and the faith networks associated with PONT partnerships.
  • Preparing research bids and encouraging academic staff to apply for the UNESCO Chairs scheme.
  • Linking PONT with community regeneration and housing association expertise
  • Advanced Technology projects on solar power and sustainable energy production within villages which currently have no electricity.
  • Computing applications for engineering challenges surrounding water production, storage, and distribution.

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