Request Proposal

Social and Economic Development of South Africa

Study AbroadStudy Abroad South Africa

Program Overview

How do countries and communities develop? What is meant by development and progress, and how can one measure these? How can one ensure that local voices are taken into consideration? What challenges do civil society organisations face when trying to solve social ills and how can these be overcome? These are just some of the questions that development practitioners face on a daily basis and this 4 week program will encourage students to wrestle with these questions and the various answers that have been put forward over the years.

South Africa provides a unique setting for this module as it is a country of startling contrasts for those who are interested in reducing poverty and increasing human flourishing. It is arguably the most unequal country in the world where the wealthy live in opulence side by side with those who face extreme hardship. The government has a mixed track record of successful development with some amazing successes and cripping failures. For example, it has implemented a world-renowned social grants system that has sucessfully reduced absolute poverty and it also has the world’s largest antiretroviral program to combat the scourge of HIV/AIDS but these successes are outweighed by multiple challenges including corruption, a failing education system, poor primary healthcare and the inability to stimulate economic growth. As a response to these failures, the country has developed a strong civil society that attempts to address key challenges and many non-profit organisations are making significant gains. It is against this backdrop that students will gain exposure to both the theory and practice of development.

The Social & Economic Study Abroad program includes 60 hours of volunteering at a non-profit organisation, 36 hours of contact time where students will be guided through a carefully curated curriculum presented by a course convenor and relevant guest lecturers. There are an additional 20 hours of field trips providing students with the necessary context to understand contemporary South Africa and to gain first-hand experience of successful social and economic development initiatives.

Program Dates

2020: TBC


All lectures and tutorials are conducted in English; hence a good command of the English language is essential. No previous knowledge of development studies is required. Students should be culturally sensitive, willing to abide by the customs of other cultures and demonstrate open-mindedness in order to thrive in this program. Note that many non-profit organisations are faith-based and while students are not required to adhere to any particular belief system, they will need to be respectful of everyone’s beliefs and worldviews. Please also note that many development practitioners in non-profit organisations are required to have a varied skillset and students may have to work on a variety of projects including marketing, fundraising, mentoring, teaching, needs analysis and administration. Lastly, students will be required to provide a police clearance and/or background check as they may be working with children.


This program is based in Cape Town, South Africa. Cape Town is routinely awarded as one of the best cities in the world to visit, with its immense natural beauty, cultural diversity and rich history. The city is known by its most iconic landmark, Table Mountain, as well as various other points of interest including Cape Point Nature Reserve, Boulders Beach and the nearby Robben Island.  Students are housed at a guest house or self-catering apartments, or something similar and lectures take place at various locations.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the 4-week course, students should be able:

  • Discuss how the concept of development has evolved over time
  • Critique the following approaches to development: Capability Approach, Human-Scale Development, Asset-Based Community Development, and the United Nations Sustainability Goals
  • Demonstrate an understanding of South Africa’s history and how that history impacts contemporary South Africa and its development project
  • Give a presentation on the impact that volunteering has had on their professional and personal development
  • Provide a report to their host development organisation that helps them solve a selected problem
  • Apply the skills required to be a development practitioner
  • Elaborate on the how the lessons learned in South Africa translate to their home countries
  • Demonstrate increased cross-cultural connectivity

Key Study Topics

  • The evolution of development as a field of study in the last seventy years
  • Defining and measuring poverty and development
  • People centred approaches to development including the Capability Approach, Human-Scale Development, and Asset-Based Community Development
  • The role of multi-national organisations and governments in development
  • Becoming a reflective practitioner of development
  • The role of Apartheid in creating systemic development issues in South Africa


  • Lectures
  • Field Trips
  • Volunteering
  • Individual reflection journal
  • Recommended reading
  • Assignments and presentations
  • Research project


We will help by supplying you with all the necessary documentation and supporting information you will need to apply for credit through your home university or college.


Kevin O'Donoghue profile

Kevin O’Donoghue

Kevin has a BA (Hons.) in Development Studies, a M.Phil in Program Evaluation and has also taught Global Sudies 355: Principles and Practices of Community Development for four years at Azusa Pacific University’s study abroad campus in Cape Town incuding two years as the instructor on record. He has also undertaken extensive research on homelessness and has published a peer-reviewed process evaluation for an organisaiton that attempts to rehabilitate street people. In addition he has contributed to development initiaves in Cape Town, Zimbabwe and Zambia.


Wayne Eaves

Wayne Eaves

Wayne has first-hand experience of development initiatives in a number of African countries and is currently serving as a grant writer and sanitation advocacy team leader at the Warehouse, a local non-profit dedicated to mobilising the local church to effect transformation. Wayne is an engaging public speaker and is able to speak on a range of development-related topics including self-care, the role of theology in development, fundraising and sanitation.

In addition, Wayne has helped students who are studying abroad in South Africa debrief and contextualize their service learning experiences.

Carol Martin

In addition to being an experienced nursing and midwifery professional, Carol has been teaching UNRS383: International Health Nursing for a number of years to semester abroad students from Azusa Pacific University. She has a reputation for being an excellent educator who is able to facilitate meaningful learning by setting up relevant clinical experiences.

Carol’s breadth of knowledge and experience provides an invaluable contribution to those wanting to learn more about the social and economic issues that plague healthcare in South Africa.

BottomUp logo


BottomUp works in the Grassy Park, Lotus River and Ottery suburbs of Cape Town, and their mission is to effect organizational change so that every child can receive the best possible education. Apart from their myriad educational interventions that have reached over 2000 learners, they also run seminars to educate the public on issues relevant to education and development.

BottomUP has hosted a number of student volunteers from international universities and is a great example of how to engage in asset-based community development.


Educational site visits (included)

  • Robben Island
  • Slave Lodge
  • District Six Museum
  • Exploratory walking tours

Cultural activities (included)

  • Cape Malay Cooking Class
  • Table Mountain
  • Stellenbosch Winelands

Program Cost

Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, EDU Africa reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses as necessary.

Tuition: $2100

The tuition fee covers the following program components:

  • Lecturers and lecture facilities
  • Education and historical site visits
  • Cultural activities

Room, Board and Logistics: $2495

The room and board fee covers the following program components:

  • All accommodation during the entire program period
  • All meals for the entire program period
  • All transport related directly to the program

Additional Costs (not accounted for above):

  • International airfare
  • Visa expenses (vary per country of origin)
  • Immunizations (requirements vary per country of origin)
  • Books and supplies
  • Personal Health & Travel Insurance
  • Optional Activities

Featured Experiences

Dinner and Djembe Drumming

Gold Restaurant caters an experience to the opulent heartbeat of African cuisine and culture. Tailoring it’s menu to the diversity found across the African continent, Gold Restaurant offers a gourmet selection seasonally adapted from North, Sub-Saharan, and Southern Africa. Beforehand, guests have the opportunity to join in a djembe drumming session. Feel the pulse of Africa as you drum and dine.

Cape Point

As the most southwestern outcrop of the African continent, Cape Point rises above the cobalt and turquoise-blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. With the sound of the sea rushing below you, climb up to the lighthouse for a view of misty mountains in the distance at one of Cape Town’s most scenic and significant vantage points.

Cape Malay Cooking Class

Jasmina’s house is part of the colorful and immensely cultural tapestry that is the Bo Kaap district of Cape Town. The Malayan cuisine that she imparts is also a part of the rich heritage of the area, seasoned with distinct spices and created from recipes that have been handed down through generations. In the warmth of her kitchen you can learn how to make a mouth-watering Malayan meal, from traditional samosa starters to decadent chicken curry. Afterwards, you can enjoy the living dish of history you have helped to spice.

Robben Island Overnight

Step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela for a night, staying over in prison accommodation with a private tour of the prison and island. Get a feel for the isolation and challenges that the prisoners faced for decades in one of the world's most famous prisons - Robben Island. This is a unique experience that will bring you closer to understanding the challenges that Mandela and many other historical figures faced in their fight for freedom and equality.

Monks Cowl Drakensberg Hike

Located in the Kwazulu Natal province of South Africa, the trails of Monks Cowl showcase the incredible scenery of Drakensberg in the midst of mountains and valleys. Experience the beauty of South Africa as you explore these picturesque landscapes.

Chokka Trail

Hiking the Chokka trail is a fourteen kilometer adventure, taking you through the Coastal Cradle of Humankind. During the hike, you will have an opportunity to see the second largest blowhole in Southern Africa, and unknown grave, and the remains of the Osprey and Cape Recife. After the hike, there is an included tour of the SANCCOB Penguin Rehabilitation Center. Continuing via Shark Point, there is a calamari tasting at Port St. Francis, then a canal cruise in the late afternoon. The day ends with dinner at Joe Fish Restaurant or a local boma for braai.

Apartheid Museum

The Apartheid Museum, the first of its kind, illustrates the rise and fall of Apartheid. The museum is a superb example of design, space and landscape, offering the international community a unique South African experience. A series of 22 individual exhibition areas takes the visitor through a dramatic emotional journey that tells a story of a state-sanctioned system based on racial discrimination and the struggle of the majority to overthrow this tyranny. The exhibits include provocative film footage, photographs, text panels and artifacts illustrating the events and human stories that contribute to the saga of Apartheid.

Pilanesberg Safari

Pilanesberg National Park is set within the crater of an ancient volcano, formed 1.2 billion years ago by overflowing magma. It exists in a transition zone between the dryness of the Kalahari and the wet vegetation of the Lowveld region. This rich transitional zone attracts an incredible variety of game animals, flora and fauna that are not often found living side by side. Virtually all of the animal species native to southern Africa can be found here, including the “big five,” wild dog, Roan, Tsessebe, Sable antelope and more than three hundred and sixty species of bird.

AWOL Bicycle Tour

This international, award-winning, socially responsible bicycle tour in Masiphumelele, Kommetjie is a new take on township tours, providing guests the opportunity to meet and interact with the local community from a bicycle seat. A qualified local guide will escort guests around the township, visiting interesting places and explaining Xhosa customs. The tour includes lunch at a local township restaurant that serves delicious authentic African food.

Boulders Beach

Step through the entryway to this beach and find yourself face to face with one of Africa’s quirkier inhabitants: penguins. A colony of African penguins resides on Boulders Beach, a stretch of sand dominated by giant seaside rocks and penguin nests.

Bo-Kaap Walking Tour

This tour winds its through jewel-toned houses and mosques, providing commentary on the history and tradition behind the iconic architecture of the Bo-Kaap district. As you follow your guide through this segment of Cape Town, we invite you to explore a side of South African history defined by cultural fusion and crossover. Watch tradition unfold into a modern landscape of vibrancy as East meets West at the southern point of Africa.

Soweto Tour

A Soweto day tour takes in the highlights of this iconic township including Nelson Mandela’s former home and the Hector Pieterson museum. You will get close to Soweto Culture, meeting the people, trying local foods and maybe even some Omqombothi (traditional beer) at a shebeen. This tour is one of a kind, taking you through the smell of pavement cooked meals and the buzz in the streets of people going about their daily chores. Come and experience the humanity, hospitality, and warmth of township life humanity - the "ubuntu" of South Africa

Abseiling Table Mountain

Abseiling is one of the best ways to explore the rocky crags of Table Mountain. This thrilling activity includes a relatively technical hike, so a moderate fitness level is required to experience this adventure!

Table Mountain

Find out why Table Mountain is one of the seven natural wonders of the world as you climb to the top. The mountain stretches gloriously on the Cape Town horizon, rising effortlessly from the lights and bustle of the city. As you ascend, the rugged terrain becomes a world in and of itself, age-old rocks, grasses, and shrubs covering the mountainside. The top of Table Mountain provides astounding views of the city on one side and the sea on the other, with rolling clouds over rocky peaks. A cable car provides a scenic descent, suspended gracefully over jagged rock and the famous flora of the mountain.

Moholoholo Rehabilitation Center

This center provides a sanctuary for many wild animals that are the victims of habitat loss, such as leopards, cheetahs, rhinos, and vultures. While Moholoholo is directly involved in research, breeding programs and rehabilitation, it also helps tribal communities and farms by adopting and relocating 'problem animals’ that would otherwise be poisoned or injured. The aim of this rehabilitation facility is to promote awareness about environmental upheaval and to support endangered wildlife.

Class in the Clouds

Did you know that Table Mountain is believed to have more plant diversity than the British Isles put together? Class in the Clouds gives learners the chance to learn all about the amazing fauna and flora found in the Cape Floral Kingdom while enjoying the view from the top of Table Mountain.

Induna Adventures

Induna offers a wide variety of adrenaline-racing activities such as white water rafting, ziplining, and quad biking. Only twenty minutes away from Kruger National Park, Induna’s pristine location provides an unforgettable setting for adventure sports and outdoor team activities.

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