The Faculty of Veterinary Science is the only training institution of its kind in South Africa. Students from all over South Africa come here to study veterinary science and veterinary nursing from where they plough their skills back into their respective communities. The Faculty’s footprint and involvement is therefore nationwide and puts a large responsibility on the institution in terms of all forms and levels of community engagement.
At the Faculty of Veterinary Science, engagement with communities aims to be holistic, collaborative and sustainable, resulting ultimately in their empowerment. Students benefit by receiving the opportunity to interact with professionals and farmers working in developing communities and to learn important communication skills with people from a wide variety of backgrounds. The contact made by students with developing communities must lead to research and services targeted at the veterinary needs of such communities.
Small-scale and emerging farmers have benefited from subsidised veterinary care and advice, and a positive attitude towards the faculty has resulted through consistent veterinary input in order to achieve better food safety and improved animal health and welfare.
Over the past five years significant progress has been made in the level of organization and coordination of community engagement (CEn) in the Faculty. The improvements in structure and capacity brought about further progress in CEn activities and initiatives which now form a solid foundation from where CEn can be embedded further into the teaching, learning and research objectives of the Faculty.