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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.

# 468. Training for Positive Parenting

Randomised control research on a Positive Parenting Skills training programme in Athlone; measure the impact on parenting skills and parent-child relationships.

# 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.

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?

# 163. Substance abuse rehab

Document and assess an out-patient substance abuse rehabilitation programme. Describe the approach and programme followed and assess the impact of the programme on its beneficiaries and the community (or develop a tool to do so).

#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.

#315. Tree planting as a method to restore land

Develop a monitoring system to assess tree planting as a method to restore land/forest landscapes after alien clearing. How best to integrate the 2 processes

# 316. Land owners & restoring forest

Assess the potential of drawing land owners into tree planting as method to restore land / forest landscapes around Knysna after fire.

# 322. Parenting support for resilient families

Evaluate a programme that educates parents to be more involved in their children’s lives, ages 3 - 12.  Consider elements like discipline, connection & relationship, rights of child; factors like attendance at school, teenage pregnancy, truancy. Provide a description of the programme as well as feedback on its impact.

# 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.

# 364. Training for behaviour change

Randomised control longitudinal study to measure impact of training programme & sustainability of behaviour change of teenage parents.

# 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.

# 381. Services for homeless

Needs assessment: Are the MES services for homeless persons provided in the different areas appropriate to the needs there

# 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 contributes to the long-term sustainability of the physical as well as social aspects around a person's home

Keywords: Civil/civic participation, informality, agency, entitlements, informal settlements, P4 approach.

# 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.

# 432. Employment programme benefits

Evaluate the benefits of an employability programme from the view of the homeless beneficiaries. For the 20 individuals employed to date, what parts of the programme are regarded as most valuable and what may not be working so well?

#438. Policy for participation

Research to support Community-driven policy initiatives for participation at local government level:  map out how participation is structured in different sectors; identify cases of bad and good practice. Desktop review & interviews.

# 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. Improving mother-infant relationships.

Conduct a randomised control study to measure impact of a Home Visitation programme on mother-infant relationships.

# 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.

# 482. Impact of programme for climate resilience

Assess the impact of the SEEDing Futures programme (a skills program that builds climate resilience skills in unemployed youth) in homes and neighbourhoods where it has been introduced. Monitor interventions; conduct M&E against baseline.

# 484. Mental health  of cancer survivors

Assessment of mental health outcomes 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.

# 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.

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. Festival for Greening Areas

Study the impact of using a "Music Festival of Action" format for tree-planting/greening events. 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.

# 474. Changes in fynbos harvesting

Analyse how species utilization has changed for the harvesting of wild fynbos products between 2006 and 2015; use pack shed invoice records.

# 478. Economics of fynbos harvesting

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

# 482. Impact of programme for climate resilience

Assess the impact of the SEEDing Futures programme (a skills program that builds climate resilience skills in unemployed youth) in homes and neighbourhoods where it has been introduced. Monitor interventions; conduct M&E against baseline.

# 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.

# 509. Small business support

Identify the barriers to developing a small business in the informal township economy (Langa). What size of business is viable - and what profitability can be achieved?

# 510. Socio-economics of learners

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

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.

#322. Parenting support for resilient families

Evaluate/study a programme that educates parents to be more involved in their children's lives, pages 3-12.

# 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.

# 364. Training for behaviour change

Randomised control longitudinal study to measure impact of training programme & sustainability of behaviour change of teenage parents.

# 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. Improving mother-infant relationships

Conduct a randomised control study to measure impact of a Home Visitation programme on mother-infant relationships.

# 468. Training for Positive Parenting

Randomised control research on a Positive Parenting Skills training programme in Athlone; measure the impact on parenting skills and parent-child relationships.

# 469. Needs analysis re parenting skills

Conduct needs survey to gauge interest in parenting skills programmes for (teenage) parents and caregivers / Fatherhood Support Group. In each case, identify which local organisations are successfully working on similar issues and the factors/ models/ strategies that contribute to their success.

# 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?

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.

# 381. Services for homeless

Needs assessment: Are the services MES provides for homeless persons in the different areas in the Northern suburbs appropriate to the needs of the target population.

# 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.

# 484. Mental health  of cancer survivors

Assessment of mental health outcomes of cancer survivors staying at CANSA care homes.

# 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.

Category 6: Information Systems / IT

# 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.

# 315. Tree planting as method to restore land

Develop a monitoring system to assess tree planting as method to restore land/forest landscapes after alien clearing. How best to integrate the 2 processes?

# 316. Land owners & restoring forest

Assess the potential of drawing land owners into tree planting as method to restore land / forest landscapes after removal of aliens.

# 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.

438. Policy for participation

Research to support Community-driven policy initiatives for participation at local government level:  map out how participation is structured in different sectors; identify cases of bad and good practice locally and internationally. To inform a Civic-led bylaw on participation, to be tabled to the City Council.

# 443. Socio-ecology of Fynbos

Study the socio-ecological value of 5 pilot fynbos gardens at eco-education sites. Consider pollination, soil, birds, functional diversity, bio-physical, sense of place, stress.

# 445. GIS map of eco-sites

GIS mapping followed by a basic assessment of social interaction and ecological conditions at eco-sites across Cape Town

446 Festivals for greening areas

Study the impact of using a “Music Festival of Action” format for tree-planting / greening events. 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).

# 466. Traffic congestion in Obs

Suburb wide situation analysis of current traffic conditions & design a traffic plan for Observatory to alleviate congestion.

# 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.

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

# 391. Active citizenship

Explore whether the notion of active citizenship contributes to the long-term sustainability of the physical as well as social aspects around a person's home.

Keywords: Civil/civic participation, informality, agency, entitlements, informal settlements, P4 approach.

# 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.

# 473. Process of decriminalisation

Describe the process of decriminalisation of marijuana (in SA?) and consider it as possible model for how to move towards decriminalising sex work.

# 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?

# 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.

This table was updated in December 2018.

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