Rhodes>Community Engagement>Volunteerism>Engaged Citizen Programme (ECP)

Engaged Citizen Programme (ECP)

Volunteerism and volunteer activities can no longer be seen solely as extra-curricular. Volunteerism provides students with skills that are necessary for the production of well-rounded graduates and good citizens. Volunteering provides students with the soft skills that they need in order to be prepared for their work and social environments. The screening and placing of students has to be done with care as it should attempt to match the student to the needs of the placement. Suitable training and orientation is necessary so that volunteers are able to contribute productively to their placements. Equally important is the development of Community Partners so that they are able to make effective use of the volunteers.

A programme coordinator identifies the specific needs of CBOs and NGOs in order to be able to translate these into volunteer skills requirements. Students are then carefully matched to community projects. Before the students are placed, they attend specialised compulsory training.

Student Cassidy Parker, BA 2nd year, comments:

“Volunteering has taught me about myself and my relationship to people and the world around me in ways that no text book on philosophy or economics ever could.”

Regular monitoring and support visits are undertaken to ensure that both the student and the project benefit from the engagement. Because of the great poverty in Grahamstown, the potential to grow opportunities for students to engage with the community is unlimited.

How do I join the Engaged Citizen Programme?

Volunteering is open to all students, whether you are in 1st year, post-graduate or an international student. Rhodes University students are encouraged to actively participate in the Engaged Citizen Programme, giving at least an hour of their time, skills and energy to make a positive difference in the Grahamstown community.

"It helped me continue to develop my passion for helping people, making the difference I want to see and also cultivating a culture of wanting to learn in scholars at a young age, which they could keep throughout their lives if they really wanted to and found it helpful. I have been given an opportunity to impact a child's life at a point and time where everything they experience will either make or break them into the person they will become when they grow up. I take this seriously and have devoted my energy and time to make the most from the meetings I have had with the kids each Tuesday afternoon."

1) Application and Registration

All students interested in volunteering are required to complete the below application form.

2) Allocation

Your placement is dependent on your choice, volunteering opportunities available, and of course, your timetable. You will have an opportunity to meet all the Community Partners at the training, and choose your placement.

3) Training

You will be required to attend training to prepare you for volunteering placement. Training will take place on Saturday, 22 February at Eden Grove. It will be from 08h00 to 17h00, teas and lunch will be provided.

The CE Unit will provide you with the details of which workshops you will be required to attend during the allocation and registration process. Please do keep these date open as the training will be invaluable to your volunteering experience and you will not be permitted to volunteer if you do not attend your training: Attendance is compulsory.


ECP makes use of Yabo Tours to provide transport to all the volunteer placements that are not within walking distance from campus. (You will be informed if your projects is one of those without transport e.g Good Shepard Primary School) The ECP’s contract with Yabo Tours means that there is an allocated vehicle for the Programme, as well as a dedicated driver who knows the Grahamstown community well. The pick up and drop off point is outside of the CSD and CE offices – 5 Prince Alfred Street. Volunteers are requested to be ready and waiting for the bus at least 10 minutes before their allocated volunteering time.

Please note: there is no volunteering on Sundays, public holidays, and during the Rhodes University vacation period.


Compulsory team meetings are held once a term. These meetings are a space to reflect and plan together with your team leaders and your community partners.  Attendance at these team meetings is compulsory for participation in the programme. Failure to attend these team meetings without a valid excuse will result in being removed from the Student Volunteer Programme.

To find out more contact Thobani Mesani t.mesani@ru.ac.za


Last Modified: Thu, 20 Feb 2020 12:52:06 SAST