Change the world


Professor Darelle van Greunen, the Director of the Centre for Community Technologies at Nelson Mandela University, has received an Honorary Professorship from Amity University (India).

She is honoured for her contribution in using ICT as a means to address societal challenges not only in South Africa, but for low income countries globally.

A Memorandum of Understanding between Mandela University and Amity University was also signed – the first between our university and an Indian university. Amity is ranked the number one research university in India.

In her acceptance speech, Prof van Greunen said:

"Education is the most powerful weapon - Nelson Mandela

As we celebrate the centenary of Nelson Mandela, comes a responsibility that guides the values and vision of our institution. It is my privilege and very special honour to accept an Honorary Professorship at your esteemed institution. It is my wish and earnest intention to enhance the shared values of our institutions further.

It is then also my pledge that we strive to use digital technologies to ensure that we do not wait for the moment, but rather create the moment “to be the change we wish to see in the world" (Gandhi).

Prof Van Greunen also had meetings with prominent NGOs and is investigating a “game-changing solution” to address TB in South Africa.

“The success rate of what we have seen after a visit to the slums is no less than 89%.  Yes, it requires some modifications from a technology perspective, but it has potential,” she says.

“We also have the unique opportunity to assist the National Department of Health to rethink the current implementation model and for us to potentially write a policy brief to support this”.

Prof Van Greunen last year won a R1 million Discovery Foundation Rural Fellowship to boost her development of a mobile application aimed at reducing the high drug-resistant TB burden in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Her research also includes the European Union-funded mHealth4Afrika (Mobile Health for Africa) project which is building a mobile, electronic management system for patient/client data in public clinics and hospitals in South Africa, Kenya, Malawi and Ethiopia, initially focussing on the records and data for pregnant women and their full pregnancy cycle until the new-born phase.

Other research includes mobile applications for tuberculosis and the Common Good First project (co-funded by the European Union and in partnership with Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland). This project supports and grows the emerging South African social innovation sector by creating a digital network to capture and showcase social impact projects in South Africa, connecting them to each other, academics and Higher Education Institutions around the world.

On what the award means to her, she said, “It is not often that a woman is awarded an Honorary Professorship in the largely male-dominated ICT industry.  Given the gap on gender diversity in India makes this award even more significant.”  

Contact information
Professor Darelle van Greunen
Director: Centre for Community Technologies
Tel: 27 41 504 2090