Rhodes>Community Engagement>Social Innovation>Social Innovation Support

Social Innovation Support

We support social innovators by providing a workspace where computers and the internet can be freely accessed. We also host networking events and story sharing evenings from our workspace to share the brilliant work being done in our city.  The SI Hub also offers social innovators access to our training programmes to develop skills that support and progress their projects.

We define social innovations as novel and creative solutions to social issues (such as poverty and unemployment) that goes beyond conventional and traditional solutions and is powered by the community’s own resources.

Social innovations:    

  • enhance community capabilities and relationships
  • ultimately improve the use of community assets and resources  
  • are sustainable solutions that build community resilience
  • advance people’s capacity to improve systemic and institutional inequality


Common Good First

The Social Innovation Hub also features a website called Common Good First which showcases digital stories from innovators around the world.  Meet some of Makhana’s social innovations on www.commongoodfirst.com.


Ubunye Foundation Trust

Ubunye works with communities in the Ngqushwa and Makana local municipal districts of South Africa’s Eastern Cape province. Our work is concentrated in the former homeland of the Ciskei, an area which was deliberately neglected and underdeveloped during apartheid and where the legacy of this era is reflected starkly by intergenerational and structural poverty.

Amanzi Yimpilo

Amanzi Yimpilo is a city-wide school initiative to bring clean water to drought-stricken Makhanda. The project was driven by a local ECD Forum that noticed a severe problem occurring in their schools and decided to be proactive, using their own knowledge and resources. Using the idea of a Stokvel the group of ECD practitioners set about resourcing their own schools. Since it's inception in early 2019 it has grown tremendously and now involves many city stakeholders.

Intsomi Reading Programme

The project is designed for Rhodes University staff members who are caregivers of children in primary school with the aim to promote literacy development in the home.

Water-testing in Grahamstown

Community-based water quality-monitoring programme in Makhanda, which involved Grade 9 learners. The Grade 9 learners monitored the water from their households the Hydrogen Sulphide Test kit. This engagement programme with the community of Makhanda about the concepts of water quality and health facilitated the development of the necessary connection between academia and the society. The citizen Science program succeeded in generating GIS water quality maps for Makhanda using water quality results generated by Grade 9 learners.

GADRA Education

We offer educational services directly to young people and the other set of programmes worked indirectly in the form of public school. We also work with public schools were we offer support teachers and all types of interventions.

Waste Pickers Movement Makanda

A collective of waste pickers came together to form an organisation to advocate for environmentally and economically sustainable waste management that encourages dignity, fairness and justice for the workers. The organisation was born from an initiative to build a community garden to help combat the poor nutrition of the pickers living on the dumpsite.

Umthathi Training Project

The project is based on Community Development Model which is based on the perception that community members are ultimately in their best position to develop themselves and their own communities and to eliminate the obstacles that impede the process. (Weyers,2011:153). Umthathi Training Project's vision is to increase the quality of life through further developing the knowledge, skills, activities and networks necessary for healthy living within focus area in the Eastern Cape. This is done to empower our beneficiaries so that they will be able to generate income from selling their produce and eradicate poverty along the process.

South African Numeracy Chair Project

We are one of the maths education Chairs jointly funded by the FirstRand Foundation, Anglo American, Rand Merchant Bank, the Department of Science and Technology and is administered by the National Research Foundation.

Grahamstown Scout Group

The Grahamstown Scout Group (initially a Cub Pack) was established in 2014 by a group of Rhodes University students who craved to share the value of Scouting with other young people! The group was established in partnership with St Mary’s Development and Care Centre (DCC), a local organisation, and Rhodes University Community Engagement Division as well as many other student organisations, such as the RU Mountain Club to fulfil a gap for a boys’ life skills programme.

Nine Tenths

Mentees are supported through 9 contact sessions with their Rhodes University student volunteer mentors. The mentoring sessions happen in phases; the first on 'personal planning and goal-setting’, the second phase is on ‘summarising and learning skills’. The programme is concluded with sessions on some career guidance and planning beyond their schooling career. The mentoring sessions are complimented by contact sessions with GADRA Education, who visits the schools, to facilitate the preparation for each phase of the programme.


In an effort to support student organisations (societies, residences and sports clubs) to better understand community development processes and the role of volunteers in supporting community based organisations, RUCE has introduced a programme called Siyakhana@Makana. Embarking on an exciting, creative, and challenging learning experience, participants in Siyakhana@Makana will work closely together for 19weeks. Siyakhana@Makana is a project planning process, which seeks to support students who seek to build meaningful relationships with community organisations while working towards a shared co-created project.

Access Music Project

In an area of historic disadvantage brimming with potential, AMP’s music academy opens up access to high-quality music studies, formal qualifications & tertiary/career pathways through a rigorous, industry-relevant and uniquely South African curriculum.

Science Internship Programme

The Programme welcomes Grade 10 and 11 learners into the University where they work alongside researchers from various different Science Departments. The programme has grown from accepting 5 students in 2013 to accepting 30 learners in 2018 and 2019. The learners get to be a scientist for three weeks of their holidays during the course of the year. They are placed in the care of various research groups across campus to get exposure to different disciplines.

Mfuzo Boxing Camp

We train youth from 10 years to 40 years, from Monday to Friday. Our training times are 17H00 - 19H00. Our members are males and females. We have 48 members aged 10 - 49 years. The mission of our club is to keep youth busy with sporting activities on a daily basis and providing a constructive and healthy alternative to crime and drug abuse – a growing problem in our communities. Our club was established in October 1995.

Allan Gray Centre for Leadership Ethics

We facilitate 'IiNtetho zoBomi'—a student-led, service-learning, ethics course that brings together thinkers from philosophy, and a range of other disciplines, in an effort to raise awareness of the forces that come to bear on our lives. Our aim is not merely to encourage students to think more clearly about ethical matters from the purely intellectual point of view; our aim is rather to foster a transformation in patterns of affect, thought and behaviour, and to show students the extent to which taking responsibility for our lives is a truly difficult thing to do. More information can be found here: https://www.unodc.org/e4j/en/integrity-ethics/module-6/index.html

Ikamva Youth

The project is a youth based afterschool programme providing tutoring, mentoring and career guidance to high school learners in grades 10 to 12. They meet at least three times a week to get assistance with their homework and assignments.

Assumption Development Centre

The Assumption Development Centre (ADC), situated in the heart of Joza community in Makhanda. It is a vibrant space where Life skills, Financial skills through savings model, Second chance matric school and Business skills development are being promoted. ADC seeks to transform the township economy through encouraging people to explore business ideas and placing young people for work opportunities. Its founding members are Assumption Sister, Rhodes University, Makana Municipality, and local NGOs St Mary's DCC, Ubunye Foundation and Gadra Education. It has over 500 members who benefit from workshops and courses. 

Last Modified: Tue, 25 Jan 2022 21:38:35 SAST