From 16 to 21 April 2017 a delegation from VIVES University College and the Institute of Tropical Medicine from Belgium visited Univen. The visit is part of a collaboration in a project funded by the Belgian governmental funding agency VLIR – UOS titled “Community of Practice”. At Univen, the project is implemented by the Department of Public Health in the School of Health Sciences with the support of the Directorate International Relations. The aim of the project is to develop a strategy to strengthen the practice of local researchers and community health workers in the Vhembe District. Specifically the project aims to improve the capacity of the researchers and health professionals that will be involved in the project in preventing increasingly prevalent non-communicable diseases (NCD) through establishing a “Community of Practice” (COP). A COP is a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.
The project is implemented from 2017 until December 2018. Monthly workshops on participatory techniques will be held to generate transferable knowledge on interventions that may impact community awareness, lifestyle habits and eventually help in the control of NCDs.
The delegation from VIVES included Dr Ellen Vandenbogaerde, Dr Nelle Cox & Elke Denys, whereas the Institute of Tropical Medicine was represented by Dr Josefien van Olmen and Dr Jeroen. During the period of their visit, a series of workshops on community of practice were conducted both in the University and the communities. A courtesy visit was also paid to the traditional leaders of three villages adopted by the Department of Public Health for community engagement activities namely Mbahe, Nweli and Malavuwe. The nine (9) staff members, thirteen (13) MPH students and one (1) Postdoctoral fellow accompanied the visitors to the communities.
The visit of the University guests was concluded with a farewell function, which was held on Thursday 20 April 2017 in the Research Conference Center. Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Prof Jan Crafford thanked the collaborators in his address for the contribution they are making to internationalisation at Univen.
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