The Evolution of Civic Engagement: South Africa: A Case Study

American University in Cairo



Case Study Sector

In 1992, shortly before democracy in South Africa, the Joint Education Trust (JET) was a private sector initiative (a consortium of 20 leading companies) with a commitment of R500 million over five years. It supported more than 400 NGOs involved in early childhood development, youth development, adult education and training, and teacher development.
In 2000 it began a new life with a commitment of R650 million from local and offshore donors. It has provided key policy support to government. With funding from the Ford and Kellogg Foundations, JET created a special initiative called CHESP (Community Higher Education Service Partnerships). The original pilot programme worked with seven universities to support the conceptualization, implementation and research on:
  • Service-learning academic courses
  • Community, faculty, and service agency involvement in community-higher education engagement
  • Student assessment in community engagement
  • Organizational structures conducive to community engagement
  • Quality assurance of community engagement and service-learning
CHESP has been seminal in making community engagement an integral part of teaching and research—a mechanism to enrich teaching and research with a deeper sense of context, locality, and application.



  • Field Building
  • Strategy


  • Africa

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