Institute for Rural Development & Community Engagement


11 FEBRUARY, 2020


The vision of IRDCE is to be:”To be a catalyst for rural development and community engagement through teaching and learning, research and innovation”


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.


All interested students are required to enlist their names and particulars to the IRDCE offices which are located next to Dr Seme Hall For registration.

For further details contact Senamile Shabalala at 031 819 9422 Email:

Prof Busisiwe Nkonki-Mandleni

Director: Institute for Rural Development and Community Engagement

Tel: 031 819 9413 | Email:

Community Engagement at MUT is the mandate of the Institute for Rural Development and Community Engagement (IRDCE). The institute coordinates and supports all MUT Community Engagement and Rural Development projects and Programmes.

  • 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.
Faculty Community Engagement Flagships – Faculty of Engineering “Green Technology Development” 

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

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: the overall aim of the project is to provide an understanding of the beneficial reuse of greywater generated from household for non-potable purpose such that it will reduce stress currently on the available freshwater supply.The specific objectives of the project are:Provide solution and educate the community on the importance of greywater reuse and recycling with other aspect of water management.Identify specific contaminants that could pose health risks and provide methods in which this contaminants can be removed.Identify possible reuse options for the target community.

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, Technology station and chemicals (TSC)

Faculty Community Engagement Flagships – Faculty of Management Sciences “Project Management” 

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

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

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

An antidote for zenophobia?

Purpose: To empower spaza shops owners with business skills. Target/beneficiaries are Umlazi spaza shop owners

Department (s) involved: Marketing

Faculty Community Engagement Flagships – Faculty of Natural Sciences “Education and Support in Sciences” 

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: Waste Management Ambassadors is a community engagement project dealing with waste management awareness within Mangosuthu University of Technology and the surrounding community. The team comprises of forty (40) enthusiastic students from the Department of Nature Conservation and Environmental Health and the three lecturers from these departments. The project is in partnership with Durban Solid Waste; has also collaborated with various external role players like Mabugana Brothers, Frasha Recycling and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. The team has a drive to educate the community about the impacts of improperly managed waste in the environment and their health. They also educate the community about recycling and economic benefits of waste. Project activities include facilitation of waste management awareness on campus; door to door recycling awareness in various sections of Umlazi; being ambassadors for waste management campaigns eg. orange bag campaign and facilitation of clean up events. The students get the opportunity to gain hands on experience, network and to become part of a solution to a global challenge of waste management.

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

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

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 Technologyv) Nonoti bananas for food securityPurpose: the aim of this project is to introduce banana production to the resource poor community of Nonoti Mouth so that food security can be improved and jobs created. In 2017 there were 20 households that were taught how to produce bananas and plants were planted

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

Departments involved: Agriculture

Ecosystems Rehabilitation and Restoration

Purpose: the aim of this project is to identify and rehabilitate degraded ecosystems in order to improve quality of life and ecosystem services, and to ensure sustainable use of natural resources. Moreover, the Critical Crossfield Outcomes requires our Nature Conservation students to be prepared to contribute to conservation issues with local, national and global impacts in order to present to the future generations a sustainable world with minimal anthropogenic impacts. Keeping in mind the notion of sustainable living proposed by Berry (1971): “… a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children; who has undertaken to cherish it and do it no damage, not because he is duty-bound, but because he loves the world and loves his children”.


–To restore degraded ecosystems to their natural state while providing ecotourism pleasure to communities.

–To raise awareness on human contribution towards environmental degradation.

–To impart nature conservation skill to the youth of communities so that management of ecosystems can continue long after the site has been handed over.

–To promote sustainable use of resources.

–To partner with different institutions, schools, departments, businesses and organisations to promote sustainable use of resources.

–To provide opportunities for field and practical work for MUT nature conservation students. 


–Awareness at Amandawe Primary School.

–Alien plant species training with WESSA (for MUT students and Youth group from Umlazi).

–All  students passed and were certified).

Department (s) involved: Nature Conservation


Special national and international days have been celebrated annually such as Mandela Day (in July) arbour day and International Literacy day (in September). We also host Community Engagement day annually. We hosted inaugural Community Engagement Excellence Awards in November 2016. 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.

Community Engagement day

Arbour day

Mandela Day

International literacy day

Community Engagement Bulletins

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.

Prof B Nkonki-Mandleni


Tel: 031-819 9413


Ms S Shabalala


Tel: 031-819 9422


Mrs B Ngidi

Deputy Director

Tel: 031-819 9416


Mr AK Nzuza

Community Liaison

Tel: 031-819 9420