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Available Projects

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These ideas have been submitted to the UCT Knowledge Co-op; they are available to students at UCT who may choose them for their research topics towards a degree.

They are listed in the following categories:

N.B. Projects often do fit in more than one category and so may be listed more than once.


Project Name

Project Description

Category 1: Education

# 213. Test for school readiness

Assess context of ECD project in Delft & develop school readiness testing programme.

# 228. Tracking ECD beneficiaries

Tracer study of ECD beneficiaries: how do they cope in primary school (academic & social) compared to those from other/no ECDs.

# 347. Tool for social/ emotional skill

Literature review of tools to assess grit and resilience of primary school learners; design a tool for the local context (Philippi). Possible longitudinal tracking through existing database. Develop methods of evaluating social/emotional skills in Primary School (Grade 3/4) learners from quintile 3 schools with isiXhosa as home language.

# 358. Safe school for girls

Determine needs around school safety for girls in primary schools of Khayelitsha – violence prevention strategies – and identify possible solutions for current challenges.

# 385. Early (bi)literacy development

Document a programme to develop children's early literacy/biliteracy & mentoring adults to support this.

# 435. Predict aptitude for PC programming

Assess the efficacy of the measures used to predict computer programming aptitude by analysing the correlation between various measures and future programming performance.

# 439. Training needs re gender

Needs analysis of local Sport for Development organisations regarding training workshops for staff in gender related topics and in impact assessment.

# 470. Support for home-based ECD

Document the work and success of a programme supporting non-working parents in Delft to teach their pre-school children at home.

# 471. Materials for home-based ECD

Develop and write up training material for a programme supporting non-working parents in Delft to teach their toddlers at home.

# 505. Where to provide educational support?

Compare benefits and disadvantages of placing disadvantaged learners in Model C schools vs providing educational support programmes to them in their home communities.

# 506. Level of intervention to improve school outcomes 

How much contact time is needed for underperforming learners to succeed in school? What outcomes can be expected from different levels of support - holiday programme vs after school support vs full-time placement in a functional school?

# 507. Successful school phase transition

National annual assessment show that outcomes of learners receiving support improve in foundation phase, but drop in later phases. What is needed to maintain the improvement throughout all phases of schooling?

# 510. Socio-economics of learners

Sketch the socio-economic reality of high school learners in Langa. 40% of learners are from other townships.

# 512. Psycho-social support 

Assess the impact of psycho-social support rendered to learners by a youth support programme in Langa. Identify strengths and gaps.

# 535. Evaluate Ocean Conservation education Evaluation the impact of the Shark Spotters Ocean Conservation and Safety Education Program on the beneficiaries (learners and the schools). 
# 536. Document Ocean Conservation programme Document the Ocean conservation and safety programme at primary schools and the effectiveness of its implementation

Category 2: Community Development/Social Development

# 36. Thirty-year history

Using a participatory approach, write up the history of the Children’s Rights Movement over the last 30 years - either, or considering in-depth any of its focus areas, i.e. food security, health, media, alternative transport, anti-bullying, gender. Purpose: to assess its impact

# 105.1 Foster Mother Screening

Review HfH's process for screening & training foster mothers for cluster foster care; compare to alternatives for good practice.

Keywords: Soc Development, Psychology, child care.

# 157. Evaluate family support work

What role has the Family support programme in improving family life of children in ECD or Child & youth programmes?

#228. Tracking ECD beneficiaries

Tracer study of ECD beneficiaries: how do they cope in primary school (academic & social) compared to those from other / no ECDs.

# 347. Tool for social/ emotional skills

Literature review of tools to assess grit and resilience of primary school learners; design a tool for the local context (Philippi). Possible longitudinal tracking through existing database. Develop methods of evaluating social/emotional skills in Primary School (Grade 3/4) learners from quintile 3 schools with isiXhosa as home language.

# 359. Scaling up an NGO

Develop scenarios for scaling up opportunities for Boxgirls – an NGO to empower girls in Khayelitsha.

# 365. Training tool for foster mums

Develop a training tool for (new) foster mothers in consultation with a cluster foster care provider. Include modules on how to work with troubled children; approaches to stay connected to the kids

# 380. Reality of homelessness

Sketch the reality of homelessness in the Northern suburbs. Provide accurate figures re homelessness and reasons why people are on the streets – differentiated across districts.

# 382. Safe space for the homeless

Evaluation of a Safe Space for Homeless people in the Northern suburbs; study to enable replication of this pre-shelter model.

#391. Active citizenship Explore whether the notion of active citizenship (in a wide sense including the P4 approach) contributes to the long-term sustainability of the physical as well as social aspects around a person’s home.

# 401. What theory fits a social development model

What is Streetscapes – a social enterprise/ sheltered employment? What existing models found in the literature describe the approach used for supporting people living on the street in the process of getting off the street permanently?

# 423. Teaching FAS learners

Study appropriate ways to accommodate high rate of learners with foetal alcohol syndrome in a school near Crossroads.

# 424. Social work placement

Social work practical at Klipfontein Methodist Primary school, Crossroads - alcohol abuse, poverty.

# 430. Getting youth into employment

Comparative study of a volunteering / self-development programme to empower youth for finding jobs with other models.

# 454. M & E system for advice hub

Develop a tool to measure specific interventions (baseline & change over time) of a self-help hub in Khayelitsha for information / advice.

# 463. Rodent control in informal settlements: COCT response

Assess the current methodology of the CoCT in dealing with rodent infestation in townships in the City. Suggest improvements and ways for other municipalities to access such service.

# 464. Engaging communities in rodent control in informal settlements

Research ways the community can be engaged to participate, supplement or join the fight against rats, to create an effective multiple-stakeholder, sustainable solution.

# 467. Enhancing mother-infant relationships in first 1000 days

Conduct a study to measure  the impact of a Home Visitation programme on mother-infant relationships within the first 1000 days.

# 479. Climate change adaptations

Compile case studies of successful introduction of permaculture/ climate change adaptations in low-income communities. Detail elements which are / are not applicable to the context in Mitchells Plain.

# 481. Baseline of self-sufficiency

Conduct a baseline of self-sufficiency (survival/food-security/climate resilience) of homes in Rocklands.

# 486. Unmet needs of cancer survivors

Unmet needs (e.g. psychosocial support, information) of cancer survivors. Informants can be accessed through CANSA.

# 490. Perceptions of cancer risk

Perceptions of cancer risk vs immediate threats to survival for people living in high risk environments. 

# 491. Setting up a service hub

Write up the ‘story’ of setting up an advice / service hub in Khayelitsha – document process, activities, networks, successes.

# 492. Assess service needs

Needs assessment to determine if services offered by a community advice hub in Harare, Ilitha Park and Endlovini (Khayelitsha), meet the actual needs of the community.

# 493. Community agency

 Does the advice Hub make a difference to the agency of the community? Are people enabled to seek and find solutions to their problems? 

# 494. Ocean Plastic

Investigate (and test) means of preventing / reducing plastic waste from a Miller’s Point picnic site to reach the ocean. Technical / behavioural.

# 499. Use of child care grant

Investigate the ways in which child support grants are actually used. Identify approaches to ensure children do benefit from them.

# 500. Assess referral system pathways

Assess referral system pathways of a centre for abused women – do clients reach partner organisations they are referred to? Or alternate services (shelter / ARV / SAPS)?

# 502. Impact of public education on IPV, HTS

Have prevention workshops made a difference to uptake of IPV and HTS services in the geographic area? HIV testing services (HTS) intimate partner violence (IPV).

# 505. Where to provide educational support?

Compare benefits and disadvantages of placing disadvantaged learners in Model C schools vs providing educational support programmes to them in their home communities.

# 508. Remain intact in dysfunctional context

Understand what it is that keeps some families / teachers / learners intact in a dysfunctional schooling context.

# 512. Psycho-social support 

Assess the impact of psycho-social support rendered to learners by a youth support programme in Langa. Identify strengths and gaps.

# 521. Drop-in centre for homeless people Internship / practical placement: New drop-in centre for homeless people in Observatory being set up early in 2019. Assist in developing an M&E system.  Also, offering placements to social work students to work in the centre, under supervision of a Social Worker.

# 522. Intervention quality and fidelity in martial arts programme 

Asses intervention quality and fidelity of an alternative intervention programme using martial arts in order to differentiate from ineffective intervention design and implementation vs effective intervention design and implementation?

# 523. Enrolment and retention rates in S4D

Study enrolment and retention rates for a Sport for Development intervention, compared with non-sport youth development intervention?

# 524. Health service for the aged

Determine the benefits of a cluster of primary health services provided to pensioners attending NOAH health centres.

# 525. Policy for serving pensioners

Develop a Policy document including rules/codes of conduct relating to programmes for pensioners, ); review existing policy, address gaps.

#534. Do homeless shelters 'work'? Why are homeless shelters often not seen as a desirable option in assisting the person to move from the streets. Are there any other transitional housing models which would be more effective?
# 537. Forest beekeeping for rural community development A review of the success of various types of forest beekeeping methodologies, training programmes, and beekeeping organisational structures and their impact on rural development.
# 538. Pro-community ecosystem restoration. A study of the types of interventions or structures needed to ensure that ecosystem restoration projects are ecologically successful and supportive of local communities in rural areas.

Category 3: Economics / Commerce

# 250. Marketing electric vehicles

Develop a marketing programme for Evs on UCT campus and beyond.

286. Models for conserving bio-diversity

Develop alternative models to manage agricultural use of Renosterveld. What is the cost of conserving bio-diversity of critical areas and how is it shared. Link to local land reform initiatives.

#446. Social and environmental festivals as a tool for perception and behaviour change.

.  A study on the short and long term impacts of social and environmental festivals/events on the perceptions and behaviours of attendees. Consider literature & local example. Consider literature & local example.

# 456. Impact of non-violence work in prison

A study into the impact of the Alternatives to Violence project with prisoners in Pollsmoor on recidivism rates post release.

# 478. Economics of fynbos harvesting

Determine the economic feasibility within the wild fynbos harvesting sector; consider achieving legal and sustainability compliance.

# 499. Use of child care grant

Investigate the ways in which child support  grants are actually  used. Identify approaches to ensure  children do benefit from them.

# 510. Socio-economics of learners

Sketch the socio-economic reality of high school learners in Langa. 40% of learners are from other townships.

# 520. Feasible recycling in Obs

What is feasible for Recycling in Observatory – economic potential, volumes of materials, infrastructure and other resources required?  Complete landscape review and SWOT analysis, develop programme framework, develop community communication content, and develop a draft budget / costings.

#528.  Cost of factory farming Examine the economics of forms and systems of food production and distribution, esp factory farming. Identify costs & who bears them.
# 531. Economics of prostitution in SA Compare the costs to the state of the present legal framework on prostitution vs a system where those selling sex are decriminalised and supported to exit
# 537. Forest beekeeping for rural community development A review of the success of various types of forest beekeeping methodologies, training programmes, and beekeeping organisational structures and their impact on rural development.

Category 4: Orphans/ (vulnerable) children/ parenting

# 36. Thirty-year history

Write up the 30-year history of a movement focussed on children's rights; either as a whole or an in-depth look at one of its elements, for example, child-to-child health centres, well-being, (massage and yoga).

# 161.1 Evaluate "First 1000 Days" programme

Assess the First 1000 days programme run by Living Hope” – measure the impact of the programme via health outcomes of the babies of participating mothers.

# 358. Safe school for girls

Determine needs around school safety for girls in primary schools of Khayelitsha – violence prevention strategies – and identify possible solutions for current challenges.

# 365. Training tool for foster mums

Develop a training tool for (new) foster mothers. Esp best way to work with troubled children.

# 423. Teaching FAS learners

Study into reasons for and possible interventions into alcohol abuse at very young age (7 years) at a school near Crossroads. Study appropriate ways to accommodate high rate of learners with foetal alcohol syndrome in a school near Crossroads.

# 424. Social work placement

Social work practical at Klipfontein Methodist Primary school, Crossroads - alcohol abuse, poverty.

# 439. Training needs re gender

Needs analysis of local Sport for Development organisations regarding training workshops for staff in gender related topics and in impact assessment.

# 459. TB in families

Sketch the social impact of TB-infected mothers (esp DRTB) on families, children.

# 460. Culture of child abuse

Why the perception that child abuse (physical, sexual) is acceptable. Is it culture?

# 467. Enhancing mother-infant relationships in first 1000 days

Conduct a study to measure the impact of a Home Visitation programme on mother-infant relationships within the first 1000 days.

# 470. Support for home-based ECD

Document the work and success of a programme supporting non-working parents in Delft to teach their pre-school children at home.

# 471. Materials for home-based ECD

Develop and write up training material for a programme supporting non-working parents in Delft to teach their toddlers at home.

# 504. Role of Nutrition in schooling

Conduct a literature review on evidence that providing food to children in Primary school supports their learning.

# 506. Level of intervention to improve school outcomes 

How much contact time is needed for underperforming learners to succeed in school? What outcomes can be expected from different levels of support - holiday programme vs after school support vs full-time placement in a functional school?

# 507. Successful school phase transition

National annual assessment show that outcomes of learners receiving support improve in foundation phase, but drop in later phases. What is needed to maintain the improvement throughout all phases of schooling?

#532. Youth living on the street What factors push and pull youth to live on the street? Is there a generational cycle?
#533. Mothers with babies on the streets Identify effective intervention models to assist mothers living with babies/children on the streets to move from the streets. How break the generational cycle?

Category 5: Health / Public health

# 161.1 Evaluate "First 1000 Days" programme

Assess the First 1000 days programme run by Living Hope” – measure the impact of the programme via health outcomes of the babies of participating mothers.

# 347. Tool for social/ emotional skills

Literature review of tools to assess grit and resilience of primary school learners; design a tool for the local context (Philippi). Possible longitudinal tracking through existing database. Develop methods of evaluating social/emotional skills in Primary School (Grade 3/4) learners from quintile 3 schools with isiXhosa as home language.

# 459. TB in families

Sketch the social impact of TB-infected mothers (esp DRTB) on families, children.

# 463. Rodent control in informal settlements: COCT response

Assess the current methodology of the CoCT in dealing with rodent infestation in townships in the City. Suggest improvements and ways for other municipalities to access such service.

# 465. Health risks of rodent infestation in informal settlements

Highlight the serious health issues resulting from ineffective response to rodent infestation in townships. Focus on Imizamo Yethu, Hout Bay.

# 483. KAB of cancer risk in HSF students

Determine the Knowledge, Attitudes, Behaviour (KAB) of cancer risk factors of Health sciences students at different stages of their training.

# 485. Quality of life of cancer survivors

Assessment of health related quality of life (HRQOL) of cancer survivors staying at CANSA care homes.

# 486. Unmet needs of cancer survivors

Unmet needs (e.g. psychosocial support, information) of cancer survivors. Informants can be accessed through CANSA.

# 487. Where find health information?

Investigate what sources are deemed credible for health related information; which communication channels are used to access it?

# 488. Lifestyle Risk Assessment

Pilot a new Lifestyle Risk Assessment tool (addressing cancer risk factors).

# 489. Evaluate health awareness campaign

Evaluate a key health awareness campaign (cancer risk factors) in terms of changing Knowledge. Survey/ focus group/ experimental study.

# 490. Perceptions of cancer risk

Perceptions of cancer risk vs immediate threats to survival for people living in high risk environments. 

# 502. Impact of public education on IPV, HTS

Have prevention workshops made a difference to uptake of IPV and HTS services in the geographic area? HIV testing services (HTS) intimate partner violence (IPV).

# 504. Role of Nutrition in schooling

Conduct a literature review on evidence that providing food to children in Primary school supports their learning.

#530. Health risks arising from flashers Is there evidence that flashers pose a risk to people with photosensitive epilepsy (PSE)? a) compile a literature review on associated hazards; (b) assess the likely exposure to flashing from such devices; (c) make recommendations for a municipal bylaw to limit any health consequences.

Category 6: Information Systems / IT

#324. IT course development Develop training material for accreditation purposes for one of more of the following courses: Graphic Design; Web Development; PC Support; Mobile Application User.

# 435. Predict aptitude for PC programming.

Assess the efficacy of the measures used to predict computer programming aptitude by analysing the correlation between various measures and future programming performance

Category 7: Science & Engineering

# 248. Electronics needed for EVs

Improve electronic systems for use of electric vehicles in local conditions. development of the control and management system for the vehicle and the development of the back end system.

286. Models for conserving bio-diversity

Develop alternative models to manage agricultural use of Renosterveld. What is the cost of conserving bio-diversity of critical areas and how is it shared. Link to local land reform initiatives.

# 352. Best practices for fynbos harvesting

Survey the impacts of harvesting on re-sprouting species rootstocks and survival.

# 354. Fynbos Vulnerability Index

Identify and add new species to the Vulnerability index for sustainable harvesting of fynbos species through a survey of pack sheds; expand the sustainable harvesting field guide.

# 373. Western leopard toad demographics

What are the current estimated population numbers of wlts in the Western Cape? How long do wlts live for? In a built-up area Vs rural area? Males vs Females?

# 374. Leopard toad migration

Establish Western leopard toad migration and breeding patterns and reasons for variations.

380. Reality of homelessness

Get accurate figures re homelessness and reasons why people are on the streets – differentiated across districts.

# 445.  Mapping potential fynbos biodiversity corridors in Cape Town.

A study to map potential fynbos biodiversity corridors in Cape Town, considering various fynbos ecotypes and urban spaces that could become stepping stones for animals, birds and insects.

# 446 Social and environmental festivals as a tool for perception and behaviour change.

A study on the short and long term impacts of social and environmental festivals/events on the perceptions and behaviours of attendees. Consider literature & local example. Consider literature & local example. 

# 461. Fish audit

Audit of fish in the Silvermine river estuary/wetlands - impact of waders feeding on fish, recent dredging and sewerage spills on fish stocks.

# 462. A model for rodent control in informal settlements

Examine rodent control options for an informal settlement (Imizamo Yethu). Identify sustainable environmentally friendly solutions & related issues (waste control / separation / recycling).

# 475. Fynbos harvesting methods

Investigate impact of harvesting methodologies on regrowth for re-sprouting fynbos species (Brunia), i.e. breaking stems vs traditional cutting stems.

# 476. Monitor vegetation changes

Monitor changes in fynbos vegetation across the Agulhas Plain using long term repeat photography; set up suitable sites & establish baseline.

# 477. Model harvesting compliance

Develop an automated model to estimate the population size and level of harvesting compliance using monitoring data collected through the ifynbos app.

# 479. Climate change adaptations

Compile case studies of successful introduction of permaculture/ climate change adaptations in low-income communities. Detail elements which are / are not applicable to the context in Mitchells Plain.

# 480. Indicators for climate resilience

Identify suitable indicators for changes in resilience to climate change, self-sufficiency and wellbeing resulting from permaculture / the SEEDing Futures programme.

# 494. Ocean Plastic

Investigate (and test) means of preventing / reducing plastic waste from a Miller’s Point picnic site to reach the ocean. Technical / behavioural.

# 519. GIS mapping of green areas 

GIS mapping of green areas in Observatory – detailing those cared for by the City of Cape Town, and others; assess potential of each for use by residents; assess planting / usage options (ornamental versus functional) given water restrictions / location

# 526. Humane animal care centre

Outline best practice for developing a humane animal care /adoption organisation’s operational centre based on Green Building principles.

# 527. Factory farming and Avian flu Explore the causal links between factory farming of poultry and Avian flu. Review international literature & apply it to SA.
# 538. Pro-community ecosystem restoration A study of the types of interventions or structures needed to ensure that ecosystem restoration projects are ecologically successful and supportive of local communities in rural areas.

Category 8: Other

# 352. Best practices for fynbos

Survey the impact of harvesting on re-sprouting species.

# 355. Prominent lives in Gugulethu

Document the lives of Gugulethu’s prominent citizens past and present
Keywords: citizens' history; local culture

Keywords: citizens' history; local culture

# 456. Impact of non-violence work in prison.

A study into the impact of the Alternatives to Violence project with prisoners in Pollsmoor on recidivism rates post release.

# 495. A history of Gugulethu’s people.

A history of Gugulethu and its people. Where did they come from? What brought them there? How did people manage to thrive, build community?

#496. Research skills Workshop to teach oral history  research skills to high school learners.

# 501. Linkages between HTS and IPV

Does use of HIV testing or other services offered to abused women result in domestic violence?

# 511. Establishing a law clinic

What barriers do residents of Langa experience in access to legal advice? What specific legal needs are most common?

# 516. Early history of Knersvlakte

Study and document the archaeological sites and early history of the Knersvlakte. Whole or specific reserves. Funding may be made available for the study.

# 526. Humane animal care centre

Outline best practice for developing a humane animal care /adoption organisation’s operational centre based on Green Building principles.

# 529. Regulations for rotating flashers Document policies to manage health and light nuisance risks/ limit the installation of flashers in urban areas. What arguments and evidence inform such policy?

This table was updated in June 2019.

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