Community Connect (formerly Homestay)


The Community Connect initiative had been started as the Homestay Project as part of the Atlantic Philanthropies funding for Rural Academic Excellence, which closed out in 2017. In 2018 the College Management Committee agreed to institutionalize the project as part of a broader approach to build primary and community-based health professional education in the College. As part of this approach, the focus shifted toward integrating a curricular component in the rural block that would require the kind of community engagement that the homestays facilitate.


The institutionalization of the project into the CHS has been focused on finding appropriate means of managing the project – most likely as part of the DCTP, as well as the curricular development of the Rural Block in MBCB6. The module templates have been revised and submitted to the SNPH T&L committee as well as CAAB. They have been reviewed by the CAAB SubComm where substantive comments were received. It raised the issue that the resourcing and orientation of the inclusion of the ‘Homestays’ into the curriculum is at odds with the rest of the MBCHB Program and raised significant questions how both the MBCHB program is being managed and how a more substantive curricular change in terms of pedagogy, orientation and processes could be implemented.

As part of a larger research approach a strategic partnership has been set up between the CRH and the Training for Health Equity Network (THENet) to strengthen the exploration around community-engagement and producing evidence for both the broader value of the approach as well as the transformative health professional education agenda. A project has been set up to explore the social return on investment (SROI) in the Community Connect approach following the visit by Dr Torres Woolley who visited in July 2019. The data collection for the process is commencing in October.

At UKZN the decentralized training platform has formally become a key strategic objective for both UKZN and the DOH and detailed plans for the decentralization are well advanced in all Schools involved with clinical training.