The University of Pretoria is the largest residential university in South Africa with about 40 000 students, including 10000 postgraduate students and 2 200 international students from 60 countries. Approximately 40% of the post graduate students currently enrolled at UP are from countries in Africa.
The Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development is internationally recognized for quality teaching and research in the fields of agricultural economics, extension and rural development. It has a long-standing experience in participatory action research for agricultural development in partnerships with government, NGOs, parastatal and private organisations (e.g. Water Research Commission, National Wool Growers Association, South African Sugar Association). It is engaged in building capacity of agricultural extension workers, farmers and rural communities. Through the CE@UP division at the university, accredited capacity building programs are presented to extension workers and farmers.
The Department is currently involved with several research programmes related to innovation systems and indigenous knowledge: irrigation scheduling models for small-scale farmers; developing governance structures for land reform projects; mentorship research and the training of mentors for land reform projects, the development of a code of best practice for wool sheep farmers. The Department collaborates with several foreign academic and research organizations such as CIRAD, WUR, CSIRO, and Royal Agricultural College and has been partner to several EU projects.
UP is the national convenor for South Africa and co-leader of WP2 and WP4. It also provides support to other thematic WPs
Dr. Joe Stevens (Agricultural Education) is a senior lecturer in Agricultural Extension and Rural Development. He is the current President of the South African Society for Agricultural Extension. His research fields are group dynamics and leadership, adoption and behaviour, agricultural and rural development, extension approaches and principles. He is also deeply involved in research projects such as evaluation of best practices for wool sheep farming; the range, distribution and implementation of irrigation scheduling models and methods; sustainable support to restitution land reform beneficiaries in South Africa.
Ms Brigid Letty (Agriculturalist) is an agricultural development specialist working for the Institute of Natural Resources. She is currently involved in a range of agricultural development work. She is the overall coordinator of PROLINNOVA South Africa and of its HAPID sub-programme, which focuses on HIV/AIDS and participatory innovation development (PID). She has a special interest in participatory approaches to agricultural development based on farmers’ ideas and motivations.
Ms Hlamalini Ngwenya recently joined UP as a lecturer as of July 2011, and since then is part of the JOLISAA-SA team. Hlami was appointed as a lecturer at a college of Agriculture in the Limpopo Province in South Africa in 1998, lecturing rural extension and also coordinating community outreach initiatives undertaken with learners. Since 2001 she became actively involved as a facilitator and trainer in participatory approaches towards good governance at various level. She is a co-founder and the managing director of the SA- Institute for People Innovation and Change in Organizations (PICO-SA). She has practical experience in design and facilitation of strategic change, systemic process and innovation systems in the broader field of agricultural extension, research and rural development internationally. She is enrolled for a PhD at Wageningen with Prof Cees Leeuwis (promoter).
Joe Stevens, UP, coordinator
Brigid Letty, INR, Assistant Coordinator, JOLISAA, and coordinator, PROLINNOVA-South Africa