An overview of the UNICEF Youth Empowerment and Health/Economic Responses to Covid-19 (YEaH)

The recording of these videos took place during Future Africa Day on 18 November 2020. These presentations focus on applying Transdisciplinary approaches to address COVID-19 challenges. The presentations cover various dimensions such as one-health, job opportunities, food security, plant health, student support, crisis management, youth empowerment, communication, and psychology. It also links with current Future Africa research projects.

Management And Research
UNICEF Galien Forum Combined



The UNICEF project can be displayed with Cluster Leaders and the area of research/activities

Cluster Title Team
    Cluster leader Cluster members
1.1 Startup Management skills Alex Antonites Alex Antonites, Karin Barac, Steve Koch, Vandudzai Mbanda, Dawie Bornman, Muriel Serfontein-Jordaan
1.2 Food, nutrition job opportunities Bernard Slippers
Osmond Mlonyeni
Bernard Slippers, Osmond Mlonyeni
1.3 Agriculture enterprises skills training Bernard Slippers
Osmond Mlonyeni
Bernard Slippers, Osmond Mlonyeni
3.1 TD training workshop Liesel Ebersöhn Liesel Ebersöhn, Stephan Dippenaar
3.2 Online seminars and training on One Health Wanda Markotter, Tiaan de Jager, Stephanie Burton Tiaan De Jager, Wanda Markotter, Stephanie Burton
4.1 Young Academics on One Health practices Wanda Markotter, Tiaan de Jager, Stephanie Burton Tiaan De Jager, Wanda Markotter, Stephanie Burton
4.2 Student research support Stephanie Burton Stephanie Burton, Leti Kleyn, Nokuthula Vilakazi
5.1 Augmentative communication on health crisis Shakila Dada, Vasu Reddy Shakila Dada, Alexandre Johnson, Vasu Reddy
5.2 Analytical skills on social dimensions of health crisis for Community outreach Andeline Dos Santos, Alexandre Johnson Andeline Dos Santos, Alexandre Johnson, Vasu Reddy
Administration Cheikh Mbow Cheikh Mbow, Amelia Cilliers, Rachel Fischer, Erin Klazar

Cluster 1.1: Start-up management and entrepreneurial skills


Project Leader(s): Prof Alex Antonies

Project Team: Dr D.A.J. (Dawie) Bornman

Me Muriel Serfontein-Jordaan

Start-up management and entrepreneurial skills, is designed as a unique hybrid course that is presented through Enterprises@UP. This course focuses on enhancing and understanding entrepreneurial awareness, orientation, intent and action. There are online practical workshop days that run concurrently with academic online units. Each workshop day consists of a combination of online live conversations, theoretical discussions and practical activities that assist each delegate to understand who they are as an entrepreneur, as well as the context of entrepreneurship and its role in the broader national and internal business environment. Discussion points and critical areas that are focused on include among others: creativity, design thinking, innovation, competitive business models and business plans, market feasibility and opportunity identification, day-to-day management of an entrepreneurial venture, strategic communication, entrepreneurial marketing, and sustainability in the new digital age of the Covid-19 ecosystem. Additionally, live entrepreneurship development support services sessions are presented which are aimed towards addressing any questions and refining business plans and models before delegates have to submit their final assessment project in order to be awarded a certificate of completion upon passing the required outcomes.

The teaching and learning approach is practical, opportunity driven and flexible. Not only does it focus on managing a delegate's own learning time but also on applying the theoretical and practical start-up management and entrepreneurial skills knowledge gained in an outcome driven process based on their own effort.

The course is presented by highly skilled, equipped and internationally exposed lecturers in the field of entrepreneurship that will assist continuously with your specific questions in order to establish a unique learning experience towards starting a performance orientated new business. The learning experience is technology driven and also offers the opportunity to constantly engage with other delegates in this course and more so continuously after the course through networking. The course focuses on more than just understanding and developing a sustainable entrepreneurial idea or venture, but also on improving the quality of life of individuals, various communities and the broader society.

Website: https://www.up.ac.za/business-management

Cluster 1.2 and 1.3: Food, nutrition, job opportunities and Agriculture enterprises skills training


Project Leader(s): Prof Bernard Slippers

Dr Osmond Mlonyeni

In rural South Africa, agricultural commodities from farmers are still disproportionately influenced by traditional or informal agricultural farming methods. These farmers are vulnerable to plant pests and diseases which results in significant yield losses. Limited specialist support exists to help reduce yield losses caused by pests and pathogens. Innovation Africa @UP through partnerships with industry (Grain SA), business (Cropwatch Africa), NGO (Social coding SA) and a leading forestry and agricultural research institute (FABI) are collaborating to provide specialist agricultural services and training to these farmers and various agriculture-based stakeholders. This ranges from providing exposure, knowledge and training on pest and pathogen diagnostics, surveillance and ICT tools.

The downstream benefit of this project is that these farmers and associated networks will be able to collect data that will be informative for developing sustainable agricultural business, improve yield production and catalyze advanced training and impact-focused research. For practical benefits this will include (but not limited to):

  • Improvement of datasets for development of pre-diagnosis tools through AI;
  • Surveillance of plant pest and diseases and strengthening of national biosecurity systems;
  • Disease identification using photo imagery and machine learning.

Website: https://www.fabinet.up.ac.za

Cluster 3.1 Trandisciplinary Training Workshops

Topic: International One Health for One Planet Education (1HOPE) Initiative


Project Leader(s): Prof Liesel Ebersöhn
Project Team: Mr Stephan Dippenaar,
George Luedekke: Chair OHC Education Task Force, CSR Research Associate

The Centre for the Study of Resilience collaborated with the international One Planet for One Health Education initiative (The Future Africa - 1 HOPE) to design and offer a webinar series aimed at strengthening collaborative transdisciplinary (TD) research capacity of early career and doctoral students in Africa by leveraging a One Health & Well-Being lens. In this regard, the Centre for the Study of Resilience (CSR), leads Cluster 3.1: Transdisciplinary Training (TD) in the UNICEF Humanitarian Programme through its flagship programme “Generation Unlimited” to collaborate on areas that can advance training and skills for the youth in humanitarian aspects.

Within this coordinated response the webinar series forms part of the University of Pretoria, Future Africa project “Youth empowerment under health/economic crisis” – with participation of Humanities, Health Sciences, Education, Economic Sciences, Natural and Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Science.

Since the webinar series thus positions transdisciplinarity through the lens of One Health, the webinar series incorporates the concept of a collaborative, multi-sectoral, and transdisciplinary approach working at the local, regional, national, and global levels with the goal of achieving optimal health [and well-being] outcomes. This constitutes a recognition of interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment - especially evident in a time of Covid-19 global challenges.

Webinar goals include: to create a platform to meet and engage with a cross-section of multi-disciplinary experts linked with national, regional, and global networks; to raise awareness of the urgent need to shift from disciplinary silos to address complex socially relevant issues (e.g., Covid-19, climate change, food security) by transcending and integrating disciplinary paradigms and engaging in participatory research; to identify transdisciplinary knowledge and research skills needed to co-produce relevant outcomes for society; and to reconcile transdisciplinary research, teaching/learning, and scholarship.

The Future Africa - 1HOPE Webinar Series constitutes three four-hour webinars (November and December 2020, and January 2021). Webinar participation is free and webinar resources are shared as open learning resources via the CSR webpage.

Website: The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) - Future Africa -1 HOPE (international One Planet for One Health Education initiative): Youth Empowerment and Health/Economic Responses (to COVID-19), (YEaH).

Clusters 3.2 & 4.1 One Health for Change


Project Leader(s): Prof Wanda Markotter,
Prof Tiaan de Jager,
Prof Stephanie Burton

Focus areas: Virology and other Zoonotic and Infectious Diseases, Environment (Water), Climate change, Economics, Anthropology, Veterinary Sciences, Entomology, Engineering (Smart Cities), Mathematical modelling, Law (Human rights), Ecosystem Health, Health Systems and Public Health, Animal Biology, Plant Health, Food security and nutrition, Geography, Geology and Meteorology

UNICEF’s Humanitarian Programme through its flagship programme called “Generation Unlimited” is intended to collaborated with University of Pretoria on areas that can advance training and skills for the youth in humanitarian aspects. This proposal is about “Youth empowerment under health/economic crisis”, coordinated by Future Africa with participation of Humanities, Health Sciences, Education, Economic Sciences, Natural and Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Science, with important activities beyond University of Pretoria embracing some other African countries as well.

“COVID-19 and other Emerging Diseases Science for Society outcome” specifically incorporates the One Health concept. COVID-19 has stimulated modern societies to rapidly adopt measures to save lives (humanitarian), protect livelihoods (social dynamics and human solidarity), and safeguard nature (ecosystem red lines) to reduce the risk of future pandemics (resilience, preparedness, precaution). The biggest challenge here is to balance the sense of urgency—with a small window of opportunity in overcoming the challenges of the current crisis—and the sense of long-term solution to prepare our society for likely future crisis such as COVID-19.

Website: https://www.up.ac.za/up-one-health-for-change

Cluster 4.2 Student research Approach: Mentoring, Ethics and Communication

Prof Stephanie  Burton
Project Leader(s): Prof Stephanie Burton
Project Team: Dr Leti Kleyn

The Programme includes a set of focused clusters, each with a set of activities planned, and aspects of capacity building and training for early career researchers and students are included in each cluster. The programme has to be completed in a very short time, and the trainees who are involved in the programme will be expected to absorb new knowledge and skills rapidly.The clusters’ activities all require elements of mentoring, ethics, and communication. In the interests of addressing the broad aims of the overall programme, and in order to minimise duplication and expansion of efforts and resources, the plan includes a coordinated approach to the mentoring, ethics and communication activities.

Cluster 5.1 Augmentative Communication on a health crisis

Topic: Co-Designing accessible health education materials for Covid-19


Project Leader(s): Prof Shakila Dada,
Prof Vasu Reddy
Project Team: Prof Kerstin Tönsing,
Dr Alecia Samuels,
Dr Kirsty Bastable,
Ms Adele May,
Ms Maureen Casey,
Ms Constance Ntuli (Disability Advocate).

Health is a fundamental right enshrined in the South African constitution which extends beyond the right to basic health care, into the right to equality of opportunity to healthcare, preventative health care, and health care which is acceptable and of a good quality. In spite of these rights, not all persons receive equality in health care. In South Africa persons who are vulnerable, for example persons with disabilities, are reported to have increased barriers to access to health care, as well as disparities in the quality of services received in comparison to their peers without disabilities. Within the group of persons with disabilities those with communication disabilities has been specifically highlighted as having increased vulnerability in health care quality and safety. This project proposes a mixed method approach across stakeholders (youth with disabilities, caregivers, professionals) in order to co-design healthcare materials relating to COVID-19 and other health related matters for use with individuals in South Africa with communication vulnerability. The materials are aimed at facilitating the communication of individuals with communication vulnerability in healthcare settings, as well as increasing understanding of the healthcare environment. The project utilised elements of co-design in order to ensure that materials are designed in collaboration with youth with disabilities and their communication partners. These materials will be available in various languages (English, Afrikaans, Tswana, isiZulu, isiXhosa, Sepedi) on the Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication website by the 16th of December 2020.

Website: https://www.up.ac.za/centre-for-augmentative-alternative-communication

Cluster 5.2 - analytical skills on social dimensions of health crisis for community outreach


Project Leader(s): Dr Andeline dos Santos and
Prof Alexandre Johnson

This cluster includes seven projects run by members of the University of Pretoria’s School of the Arts. These projects focus on the development of resilience within the context of Covid-19. Through Shape Shifters: An arts-based participatory action study with NEET youth (run by Andeline dos Santos in collaboration with Beth Arendse the South African Creative Industries Incubator) an eight-week process has been facilitated with youth who are not in employment, education or training. Through arts processes participants were able to build social capital, develop prospects for entrepreneurial endeavours, critically examine social issues that directly impact their lives, and be witnessed as strong and resourceful. In the project The impact of arts on the health and well-being of children and youth in South Africa (lead bySunelle Fouche and Marlize Swanepoel with Andeline dos Santos and Dominik Havesteen-Franklin) the role of arts-based programmes are being explored in order to contribute to the evidence-base and develop insights that will be useful for organisations as they develop arts-based practices that contribute to the resilience of the individuals and communities they serve. Through Opening up empathy by learning with each other (run by Andeline dos Santos), local and international music therapists, staff from MusicWorks and the Field Band Foundation, teenagers and children attended workshops aimed at facilitating understanding and application of empathy. Functioning with heightened empathy is a protective, restorative and growth-oriented skill for individuals and groups. The project Creative collaborations: using arts therapies approaches with teachers to build resilience (run by Carol Lotter, Andeline dos Santos, Faith Busika, Kate Dodd and Danielle McKinnon) offered primary school teachers a supportive space to process the challenges they have faced during a year marked by adjustments to teaching and learning caused by Covid-19. This project has demonstrated the rich potential of joint work between arts therapists. Against the backdrop of forced removals and Covid-19 in South Africa, The Harfield Village project (run by Siona O’Connell) sought to understand the construction of a community in Harfield Village, Cape Town and the ongoing costs borne by the dispossessed as a result of race-based evictions during apartheid. The project highlights the devastating impact that forced removals can have when a pandemic such as Covid-19 brings further layers of adversity. The project Deliberate practice as a component of grit (lead by Hanli Stapela) was borne out of the challenges experienced by the need to move education online during the national lockdown in South Africa as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Practical modules were arguably most affected by the sudden lack of face-to-face learning and Classical Voice studies at tertiary level were no exception. This project aimed to create awareness among undergraduate students in the Classical Voice and Opera Studies programme about the role of engaging in deliberate practice for the development of grit. The Javett-UP Job Shadowing project is demonstrating how early-career artists can be equipped through an internship in order to embark on the path towards curating art exhibitions. This project has explored how such an internship can take into account the restrictions imposed within a global pandemic.

Website: www.up.ac.za/school-of-the-arts