Research and Projects

The AmaQhawe (Champions) Family Project:

This project focuses on strengthening families of pre-adolescent children and community networks. Evidence shows that in addition to education about HIV and AIDS, communication, parental warmth and active monitoring of children helps to reduce risk behaviour in adolescents. Increased social control at a community level is also emerging as a protective factor against risk behaviour. With this in mind, the AmaQhawe Family Project was adapted from a programme originally developed in the USA: The Collaborative HIV/AIDS Adolescent Mental Health Project (CHAMP).

CHAMP positive:

This is an extension of the AmaQhawe Family Project, focused on working specifically with HIV positive children and their caregivers to assist children to cope with their status as well as reduce risk behaviour in adolescence. The project is in collaboration Columbia University, McCord Hospital and the Human Science Research Council and funded by the National Institute of Nursing in the US.

Mental Health and Poverty Project

This project is a five-year research programme, funded by the British Department for International Development (DFID), to investigate mental health policy development and implementation in four African countries, namely Ghana, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia. It is part of an important effort to understand the relationship between mental ill-health and poverty and aims to develop and evaluate national, provincial and district level interventions in order to break the negative cycle of poverty and mental ill-health. Lead partners include UCT, WHO, University of Leeds, UKZN and HSRC.

Community Projects

Fast Forward programme:

This programme is facilitated by postgraduate students who participate alongside Grade 11 learners from Amangwane and Chesterville Extension secondary schools in a range of group activities, building relationships and critically engaging with developmental issues. The name of the programme entails two metaphorical allusions. It suggests, first, movement, energy and being propelled to achieve; and second, the possibilities for projecting ourselves into possible futures and the active construction of life-stories. The Fast Forward programme, therefore, aims to enable learners to explore aspects of their current and possible identities and to develop their own sense of potential, agency and identity.


Fast Forward learners at a dance and music workshop.

The Fast Forward core team: Tarryn Frankish (masters student); Prof Jill Bradbury; Siyanda Ndlovu (PhD student); Dr Jude Clark.

Community Psychology Projects

As part of the master' course in Community Psychology/Interventions, Clinical, Counselling, Educational and Research students at both sites are required to undertake a community project involving the promotion of mental health, prevention of mental disorders and/or programme evaluation. Interventions conducted to date include (but are not limited to) suicide prevention, fatherhood and caregiving and HIV/Aids Awareness.

HIV/AIDS Service Learning Module

Students registered for the honours service learning module engage in a critical analysis of the South African HIV/AIDS epidemic and prevention interventions aimed at youth. Using a social constructionist framework the students develop a HIV/AIDS / sexuality workshop, which is run with some of the learners who attended the Fast Forward Programme. The students work with the learners in a participatory way, once a week, over a five week period.

International Collaboration

  • Through the AMAQHAWE PROJECT, the School has active collaborations with the HSRC, Mt Sinai School of Medicine (USA), the University of Illinois (USA) and the National Institute of Mental Health.
  • Health Promotion programme: through our membership of the International Union of Health Promotion and Education, and election onto the International Board of Trustees of the IUHPE, the School has linkages in place with a broad range of African and other international universities (e.g. University of Ibadan, University of Bergen), research institutes (e.g. Centers for Disease Control- CDC, USA), and NGO's (e.g. Victoria Health, Australia) active in the field of health promotion
  • Mental Health and Poverty Project partnerships: World Health Organization, Nuffield Centre for International Health and Development (UK), the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and the Human Sciences Research Council.

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