The first NRF-DST Research Chair in Sustainable Local (Rural) Livelihoods in the College of Law and Management Studies Professor Betty Mubangizi recently shared her vision and strategic direction for the next five years with her team.
The aim of the Research Chair in Sustainable Local (rural) Livelihoods based at the College’s School of Management, Information Technology and Governance (SMIG) is to add to the capacity of researchers and public administrators to formulate and support effective public administration processes in responding to poverty and social exclusion within the framework of sustainable livelihoods.
Mubangizi, who is a member of the Scientific Committee of the Comparative Research Programme on Poverty (CROP) and the former Dean and Head of SMIG, said the purpose of meeting with her core team of academics, students and research assistants was to share with them ideals of the Chair which will draw on two distinct though interrelated theories – organisational theory and institutional theory – to examine the forward and backward linkages between the state and agencies and/or individuals responsible for implementing public services and anti-poverty programmes in rural areas.
‘During my term, I aim to build a body of knowledge that will develop the capacity of researchers, policy makers and practitioners in developing, formulating and implementing public administration policies and processes that effectively respond to rural poverty and social exclusion within the framework of sustainable livelihoods,’ explained Mubangizi.
A critical aspect of the Chair will be to establish links with rural based municipalities and organisations. With a view to advancing the ideals of the Research Chair, Mubangizi’s post-doctoral fellow Dr Elvin Shava and doctoral student Mr Tshililo Farisani travelled to Umzimvubu Municipality, a local municipality under the Alfred Nzo District of the Eastern Cape, where they represented the Chair in the 21st Quarterly Meeting of the Umzimvubu Catchment Partnership.
Going forward, the Chair will establish partnerships with Environmental Rural Solutions – an organisation with extensive experience in local government and integrated development planning – and it is envisaged the Chair will serve as the nucleus for cutting-edge research in the College.
Words: Thandiwe Jumo