In all the actions and dealings with both internal and external customers, the institute commits itself to the following mission statement:

Coordinate and support rural development and community engagement activities as well as establish and maintain relations with internal and external partners, with an aim of enhancing research, teaching and learning thus contributing towards socio-economic upliftment of communities based on the identified needs.



  • Supporting the MUT community with the development of their Community Engagement project proposals;
  • Linking the MUT community with relevant community groups and structures;
  • Organizing training sessions that address identified community needs;
  • Coordinating various rural development projects and
  • In partnership with external stakeholders, coordinating the celebrations of special days such as International Mandela Day, Arbour Day, National Science Week, International Literacy Day and World Food Day.

Professor Busisiwe Nkonki-Mandleni
Director: Institute for Rural Development and Community Engagement
Business: +27 (0)31 907 7630/7671
Email: mandleni@mut.ac.za


The vision of IRDCE is to be:
a vehicle that promotes MUT as a socio-economically responsive institution through rural development and community engagement.


    Community Engagement at MUT operates under three Faculty Community Engagement Flagships:


    The flagship is housed in the Faculty of Natural Sciences. It encourages MUT community to base their CE projects on:

    • Education on basic hygiene, healthy eating habits, conservation of environmental resources and the use of information and communication technology.
    • Support in the teaching and learning of science subjects in schools. 

    Current registered projects under the flagship:

    • Education support for agricultural teachers

    Purpose: To equip grade 12 educators of Agriculture subjects in the Umlazi district with advanced knowledge in Agriculture. The intended outcomes are an improvement in the pass rate of grade 12 learners. This initiative is expected to benefit MUT because of the possibility of getting better prepared students for Agriculture qualification.

    Service: Improvement in the knowledge of Agricultural Science subjects

    Department(s) involved: Agriculture

    • Teaching Mathematics at the school level using Free Dynamic Mathematics Software Geogebra

    Purpose: To educate Umlazi district Maths Educators and grade 12 learners at high school based in Umlazi on the use of technology in teaching and learning. This initiative is expected to increase educator's self-efficacy in teaching Maths. It is also expected to make learners motivated and proficient in the subject especially those that have access to computer since the software is not bound.

         Service: Improvement in the teaching and knowledge of Mathematics

    Department(s) involved: Mathematics

    • Mangosuthu University of Technology Waste Ambassadors

    Purpose: To educate MUT students and the public on waste management, and in providing support to Durban Solid Waste, and formulation for a long standing mutually beneficial partnership.

    Service: Facilitation of waste management education programmes at Umlazi Primary schools, MUT campuses and Umlazi surroundings.

    Department(s) involved: Nature Conservation; and Environmental Health

    (iv) Information and communication technology (ICT) for small medium enterprises (SMEs)

    Purpose: The purpose of the project is to make SME’s aware of ICT and to provide the training on relevant ICT programs.

    Service: By offering training on computer application among small medium enterprises, within particular organizations or groups.

    Departments involved: Information and Communication Technology

    (v) Nonoti bananas for food security

    Purpose: To provide resource to the poor people in the Nonoti area with the knowledge and resources to improve food security as well as to create agricultural jobs within the community.

    Service: To teach residents how to grow good quality bananas.

    Departments involved: Agriculture

    1. FACULTY OF ENGINEERING “green technology development”

    The flagship is housed in the Faculty of Engineering. It encourages MUT community to base CE projects on:

    • Water management.
    • Energy management.
    • Waste management.
    • Development of alternative building technologies for dignified living conditions. 

    Projects under the flagship

    (i) Automated Solar Irrigation System (ASIS)

    Purpose: To assist Empangisweni Trust commercial farm with automated solar irrigation system that derives power from solar energy through photo-voltaic cells as a way of saving energy and maximising profits generated from farming.

    Service: Skills and knowledge about saving energy.

    Department(s) involved: Centre for Development of Green Technology, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering

    • Potential greywater recycling and reuse to aid sustainable water demand management.

    Purpose: To provide an understanding of the beneficial reuse of greywater generated from household for a non-potable purpose such that it will reduce stress currently on the available fresh water supply.

    Service: Provide solution and educate the community on the importance of greywater reuse and recycling with other aspect of water management.

    Departments involved: Chemical Engineering


    The flagship is under the Faculty of Management Sciences. It encourages MUT community to focus on:

    • Business and Financial Management skills
    • Entrepreneurial skills.
    • Exploring every avenue in which target communities can be assisted to improve their ability to enhance and sustain their business entities.
    • Social and career guidance in schools
    • Support tin the teaching and learning of Management Sciences subjects in schools.

     Projects under the flagship

    (i) Improving community livelihoods through agricultural activities.

    Purpose: To assist agriculture co-operatives of the South Coast region of KZN to produce and market own food in order to generate income to support their families.

    Service: Skills and knowledge about farming and market access

    Department(s) involved: Marketing; IRDCE; Accounting 

    (ii) Phumelela resource centre

    Purpose: Project will commit to provide access and promote discovery through provision of comprehensive library resources and world class communications to benefit the wider community.

    Service: Support the quality of learning and teaching culture campaign of the department of education.

    Departments involved: Accounting, Public Administration, MUT Enactus



    Special national and international days have been celebrated annually such as Mandela Day (in July) and International Literacy day (in September). We have been involved in the National Science Week that is celebrated between the end of July to the first week of August each year.


    IRDCE has initiated partnerships with the following organisations:


    • Dexter and Matu Zama (DMZ) Agricultural Academy is in partnership with MUT-IRDCE in an effort to train communities on the identified needs, promote environmental awareness and sustainable use of natural resources, co-ordinate technology transfer and promote entrepreneurial skills, share results of research conducted collaboratively, assist the academy in the implementation of research findings.
    • Empangisweni Trust is in partnership with MUT- IRDCE with a purpose of placing MUT students for Service-Learning and Work Integrated Learning. Planned projects are field crop production, vegetables production, fruit production, piggery, livestock feedlots, small stock and broilers. Food processing, aquaculture and game farming are additional projects. Green Technology (Energy management), Reverse Engineering and agro mechanical, applied research. Education programme for schools (intervention in the form of workshops/ trainings for teachers and community upliftment programmes are part of the partnership agreement although the MOU is not finalised.
    • AgriSeta is in partnership with MUT- IRDCE with a purpose of exposing unemployed graduates in Agriculture to a hands-on experience in the field of agriculture.