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Congo-Brazzaville initiative advances further with exciting prospects

UFS-DiMTEC and NDMC bursary dinner commemoration

The Disaster Management Training and Education Centre of Africa at the University of Free State (UFS-DiMTEC) organized the second year contact session of its Master Programme on Disaster Management from 16 to 25 January 2012. Meanwhile, UNU-ViE/UNU-EHS delegates met with the University of the Free State’s Academic Vice-Rector, Professor Driekie Hay, to further discuss the ongoing UNU-ViE Congo-Brazzaville initiative with UFS-DiMTEC.

Further points of discussion were the yearly UNU-EHS PhD Block course in South Africa and the UNU-FLORES twinning process. As a result of the discussion and the close interaction between UNU and UFS-DiMTEC, Professor Hay showed great interest in visiting the UNU Bonn team in April when the Director of UFS-DiMTEC and a delegation of UFS will attend the academic week of the Dresden University of Technology (TUD).

Mr. Andries Jordaan, UFS-DiMTEC Director

One of the main goals of the tripartite Congo-Brazzaville initiative led by UNU, UFS-DiMTEC and the Government of the Republic of Congo is to develop a postgraduate programme for Francophone Africa similar to the UFS-DiMTEC Master, as an important step towards disaster risk reduction in the Republic of Congo in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals and Hyogo Framework for Action.

UNU-ViE cultivates relationship with Congolese Ambassador to South Africa

During the January 2012 contact session, also an appointment with the Congolese Ambassador Mowelle to South Africa was arranged. The UNU-ViE representative, the Director of UFS-DiMTEC and Mr. Donald Ontsira from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation reported on present and future plans of the Congo-Brazzaville initiative.

The Ambassador was informed about plans of an envisaged visit of a high-level government delegation from Congo-Brazzaville to South Africa in order to meet with relevant government officials and experts in the field of disaster management. The visit is also intended to provide a platform to learn from South Africa’s experience particularly from the national and municipal disaster management centres.

Institutional collaboration with the South African National Disaster Management Centre

During the visit to the Congolese Ambassador in Pretoria, the delegation proceeded to the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) in order to meet with its new Head, Ken Terry, and other staff members to explain the link between UNU, UFS-DiMTEC and the Republic of Congo. As a result, NDMC offered to possibly act as a host for the Congolese delegates visiting South Africa later this year.

UFS-DiMTEC bursary worth over ZAR 4 million

Mr. Chris Liebenberg (UFS Financial Director) and Mr. Tau Mmphaka (Senior Manager at NDMC)

Over the past few years, the NDMC has been involved with UFS-DiMTEC in providing a bursary scheme for South African Masters Students. This year, the UNU-ViE representative Ms. Jessica Johmann had the opportunity to be invited to a commemoration of a ZAR 4,349,093 bursary (approx. 400,000 EUR) for the years 2012 and 2013. The UFS-DiMTEC bursary programme manifests the determination of the South African Government to build disaster management capacities in the country.