The shortage of student accommodation is one of the factors that contribute to dropouts and high failure rates. African Student Accommodation Group (STAG African) is on a mission to address the student accommodation crisis in universities. To tackle the issue, the group is exploring new innovative development techniques.
Innovative building technology (IBT) is a green alternative to bricks and mortar building with lighter steel structures that are pre-fabricated off-site. In the building process, no water is required and 87 percent of the steel used is recycled. This reduces construction costs by 13 percent and time by 40 percent.
“Construction is one of the biggest drivers of climate change and within developing economies it is also a key to growth. It is the way of the future to promote green building practices and a workforce equipped to implement them,” says John Schooling, Director of STAG African.
Schooling saw an opening in the student accommodation crisis in 2008 and decided that with innovation, his company, STAG Holdings, could build affordable and sustainable residences. According to Schooling, their research found that the average spend per student per room for universities in Africa was around R280 000 ($19,500) which he thought was high at the time and saw an opportunity.
“Through optimal architectural design and product innovation, we brought construction costs down dramatically, to around R150 000 ($10,500).” says Schooling.
The University of Fort Hare has received 244 new bed facilities built by STAG African, totalling 880 facilities built for the institution this year. The company is also responsible for building a R45 million residence at the University of Stellenbosch using innovative building technology (IBT) material.
In 2014, STAG Holdings merged with the African Student Accommodation Group to form STAG African. Since inception, the company has successfully delivered over R9-billion worth of developments.
“STAG African has helped quantify the shortfall and convince government of the need to accept the use of IBTs as a solution; we still have a long road to travel, however, we can say with 100% certainty that optimal architectural design, product innovation, the reduction of operational costs and successful grant funding are key to addressing the student accommodation crisis,” Schooling says.
He believes that there is still time for an undeveloped Africa to use green construction methods to build a sustainable industrialised and developed continent which can be an example to the rest of the world.
“I have no doubt that it is the future of world, not only Africa. Africa is at a critical position in both space and time, where sustainable building methodologies and renewable energy have become a cost-effective reality,” says Schooling.
Earn valuable CPD credits
- African law students are changing the way we access data by leading efforts to disseminate Africa’s mining legal frameworks through the African Mining Legislation Atlas (AMLA) project
Naomi Kakundu is from the small town of Ndola in the copperbelt province of Zambia. In 2014, she was a second-year law student at the University of Cape Town Faculty of Law, considering whether to take an elective course in mineral law.
In Scotland, from Conakry, Guinea, Abdoul Karim Kabele-Camara was working on his PhD at the University of Dundee, specializing in mining infrastructure development and regulation in Sub-Saharan Africa.
In Mozambique, Deisy Ribeiro had begun her first year as a law student and became interested in mineral law after hearing about her country’s natural resource discoveries and the lack of local professionals to meet the needs of companies investing in Mozambique.
Naomi, Abdoul and Deisy joined 11 other students in 2014 to become part of Africa’s next generation of leaders in the mining sector, through their role as founding members of the Legal Research Team of the African Mining Legislation Atlas (AMLA) Project.
The AMLA Project gathers, organizes, and disseminates laws and builds capacity across the African continent via three main channels:
An online platform, providing a free, easily accessible one-stop resource for Africa’s mining legal framework;
Production of a guiding template, an annotated document outlining legislative solutions to assist in the preparation or revision of African mining laws; and Capacity building through training (on-ground and remotely) of African law students in the use of the platform and overall mining law issues.
Initiated by the World Bank Group in 2013, the AMLA Project is a multi-stakeholder program that works in close partnership with the African Legal Support Facility, the African Union Commission, several African universities and other global private and public institutions.
Currently, the project has trained 44 African law students—20 women and 24 men—from 17 countries. Students represent all four regions of the African continent and speak French, Portuguese, Arabic and English.
Starting with an intensive 10-day training, pre-selected students attend sessions on a diverse range of topics impacting the mining sector, from fiscal regimes, licensing and local content to community development, environmental protection and health and safety. Students are introduced to the AMLA platform that is populated with the primary mining codes, regulations and related legislation of all African countries.
The best students from each year’s training are invited to join the Legal Research Team responsible for populating and updating the AMLA platform. Each student on the Legal Research Team is assigned to analyze a minimum of two countries’ mining legislation against a common taxonomy of topics, to encourage comparative analysis, and gives each member the mission to also gather related legislation.
Members of the Legal Research Team rely on each other to answer questions of legislative interpretation and formatting, engaging with one another weekly and often daily via the World Bank Group’s Communication for Development (C4D) online platform. A group of experts in the field are also present on the C4D platform, to guide the students in their research assignments when needed.
Today, Naomi, Deisy and Abdoul are all applying the knowledge they gained through AMLA training as legal professionals in the mining sector. Naomi serves as a reviewer of the Legal Research Team’s research results and is preparing to begin postgraduate studies in Tax Law with a focus on mining tax. Abdoul serves as a reviewer and Project Coordinator for the AMLA Project at the African Legal Support Facility. Deisy graduated with distinction from her legal studies, has published and lectured on criminalizing the illegal sale of precious stones, and now works as a junior legal researcher at a Mozambican law firm, focused on legal services in oil, gas, mining, energy and infrastructure projects.
“The work of the AMLA legal team not only provides the world with an incredible resource but it also prepares the next generation of African leaders to develop mining frameworks that foster sustainable development in our countries,” said Abdoul Karim Kabele-Camara, member of the AMLA Legal Research Team and AMLA Project Coordinator at the African Legal Support Facility.
The AMLA Project continues to train law students in the use of the platform and mining law in general, and is preparing for its third annual training with 33 African law students in December 2016.
Deadline: before 1 Oct (annual)
Study in: USA
Program starts Apr-Sept 2017
The Humphrey Fellowship Program is for experienced professionals interested in strengthening their leadership skills through a mutual exchange of knowledge and understanding about issues of common concern in the U.S. and Fellows’ home countries.
Fellows are placed at one of the participating USA universities. Fellows are not able to choose which university they will attend. Rather, they are assigned in diverse groups of 7-15 to the most appropriate host institution based on their area of interest and professional field.
Level/Field of study:
As a non-degree program, the Fellowship offers valuable opportunities for professional development through selected university courses, attending conferences, networking, and practical work experiences. The eligible program fields are:
• Agricultural and Rural Development
• Economic Development
• Educational Administration, Planning and Policy
• Finance and Banking
• Higher Education Administration
• HIV/AIDS Policy and Prevention
• Human Resource Management
• Law and Human Rights
• Natural Resources, Environmental Policy, and Climate Change
• Public Health Policy and Management
• Public Policy Analysis and Public Administration
• Substance Abuse Education, Treatment and Prevention
• Teaching of English as a Foreign Language
• Technology Policy and Management
• Trafficking in Persons Policy and Prevention
• Urban and Regional Planning
Number of Awards:
Approximately 200 Fellowships are awarded annually.
The Fellowship provides for:
• Payment of tuition and fees at the assigned host university;
• Pre-academic English language training, if required;
• A maintenance (living) allowance, including a one-time settling-in allowance;
• Accident and sickness coverage;
• A book allowance;
• A one-time computer subsidy;
• Air travel (international travel to and from the U.S. for the program and domestic travel to required program events);
• A Professional Development allowance for professional activities, such as field trips, professional visits and conferences.
The applicant must have:
• An undergraduate (first university) degree,
• A minimum of five years of full-time, professional experience
• Limited or no prior experience in the United States,
• Demonstrated leadership qualities,
• A record of public service in the community, and
• English language ability
Please contact the U.S. Embassy, Public Affairs Section or Fulbright Commission in your country of residence to learn about possible specific program requirements (link found below).
Application deadlines vary by country but falls around May to September each year. The nominating U.S. Embassy or Binational Fulbright Commission will advise you of its internal deadline for receiving applications. Embassies and Commissions must submit their nominations to the Institute of International Education office in Washington, DC by 1 October.
Please contact the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy or Bi-national Fulbright Commission in your country for more information about application procedures.
It is important to read the FAQs and visit the official website (link found below) for detailed information on how to apply for this scholarship.
Official Scholarship Website: http://humphreyfellowship.org/
Related Scholarships: List of USA Scholarship Grants
A ‘cluster research’ model that worked for seaweed growers in Zanzibar should be widely adopted, says Flower Msuya.
The results of scientific studies are of little use to farmers unless they stem from applied research that can enhance the work they do to make a living. Such research could, for example, lead to innovative methods that help seaweed farmers earn more by producing high-quality crops or adding value to their seaweed by processing it rather than selling it raw.
But research results often fail to reach the people who can benefit from them. To avoid this, the Zanzibar Seaweed Cluster Initiative (ZaSCI) has been practising cluster-based research, an approach that has improved the applicability of research over the past ten years with interesting results.
Direct line to research
Two features differentiate cluster-based research from other forms. One is that it tackles challenges brought to scientists by a particular community, such as farmers. The other is that the research findings are given back to this group as direct feedback, which they then use to improve their day-to-day activities. ZaSCI is a good, current example of how cluster research programmes can link farmers directly with research institutions.
“Because of the initiative, farmers are now communicating with each other through mobile phones to discuss challenges and day-to-day needs that they can then take to research institutions for answers.” Flower Msuya
Two types of seaweed are farmed on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar: cottonii and spinosum. Cottonii is in higher demand because it has more applications in industrial processes than spinosum (for example in food and cosmetics manufacturing), and so at 50 US cents per kilogram, its price is double that of the other seaweed. But cottonii has failed to thrive in recent years because of the impact of climate change: increased surface seawater temperatures and diseases have kept it from growing at all in many areas, and have cut its production in the few places where it still grows.
Farmers were troubled by the failure of this higher-value seaweed to grow, and brought the issue to ZaSCI meetings. Researchers listened to their concerns and focused on developing innovative methods to both produce the higher-valued seaweed and add value to the lower-priced seaweed.
They developed bamboo rafts, floating lines and recently a novel method of using tubular nets to do this. These methods can be used in water that is one to three metres deep as opposed to water of a few centimetres in depth, where seaweed is currently farmed. Conditions such as temperature and salinity are more stable in deeper waters, and so they favour better growth: more seaweed is produced per unit area, and die-offs are minimised.
Over the past ten years, ZaSCI research has enabled farmers to farm more of the higher-valued seaweed and produce a number of value-added products — such as foods including juice, jam and cake, and powder used to make products or against infections — that sell at a much higher price than raw seaweed. A good example is seaweed powder, which sells at US$6 per kilogram compared with 25 US cents per kilogram of unprocessed spinosum.
And the benefits go beyond the direct economic impact of research: because of the initiative, farmers are now communicating with each other through mobile phones to discuss challenges and day-to-day needs that they can then take to research institutions for answers.
ZaSCI operates using a ‘triple helix’ model that promotes interactive relationships between universities, industry and government. The presence of the government is important but not sufficient: policy issues are addressed by soliciting opinion from a variety of people, and assessed alongside views from government representatives.
In practice, this means ZaSCI links farmers (60 per cent of whom are women) with research institutions and government departments responsible for seaweed farming. It also links farmers or processors with each other as well as with exporters.
Chinese president, Xi Jinping, has announced that China will provide 30,000 government scholarships for African students as well as 2,000 educational opportunities with degrees and diplomas, as part of the country’s aim to strengthen cooperation with Africa.
Speaking at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation summit Xi said China will also offer 40,000 training opportunities to African students in order to further boost education and training relations.
China will set up a number of regional vocational education centres across the continent, as well as several schools for “capacity building”, which will help to accommodate the training of 200,000 technicians.
“We will also support African countries in building and upgrading five transportation universities,” he said in his address to the delegates.
China also committed to sponsoring visits from 200 African scholars as well as study trips by 500 young Africans to China. In addition, the country will train 1,000 media professionals from Africa annually.
Between 2000 and 2011, 79,000 African students studied in China, according to a paper published by NORRAG, a Switzerland-based independent network for international policies and cooperation in education and training.
It added that the cooperation between the two regions is “becoming a new form of China’s higher education internationalisation”.
“The current new cooperation modality between China and Africa has provided the opportunity for Chinese higher education institutions to export Chinese knowledge to the world,” it said.
In his address, Xi also committed $60bn in funding over the next three years to plans in 10 major areas including industrialisation, agricultural modernisation, financial services, infrastructure, green development, poverty reduction and public welfare.
The funding tranche will include $35bn of preferential loans and export credit, as well as a China-Africa production capacity cooperation fund which will see an initial capital of $10bn. Five billion will come via interest free loans and aid, Xi said.
The plans in these ten areas will be implemented in order to address “three bottleneck issues holding back Africa’s development”: inadequate infrastructure, lack of professional and skilled personnel, and funding shortage.
He said the country aims to help in “accelerating African industrialisation, and agricultural modernisation and achieving sustainable self-development.”
The summit took place last month in Johannesburg, and was attended by representatives of 50 African countries. Focusing on “win-win cooperation for common development”, this was the second conference held by the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
Civil Engineering Bursaries 2016 – Jones & Wagener
Closing Date: 31 July 2015
Jones & Wagener is offering civil engineering bursaries to students studying at South African Universities. This bursary will coverAccommodation, University tuition fees and Book allowance
Who can apply?
Grade 12 students and tertiary students can apply
How to apply?
– URL: http://goo.gl/UKWpn6. The completed forms must be sent to the Bursary Administrator at the Jones & Wagener postal address or by email to email@example.com
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