Beyond the Dissertation to Community Projects for LLB Students: A Law Student’s Report on a Community-based Project done as a Form of a Final Assessment for Completion of University Studies

Paper presented at the 2013 CLEA Conference in Durban

Chiedza Simbo
North West University, Potchestroom, South Africa

With rampant poverty in South Africa and the developing world, access to health care is beyond the reach of many, leading to massive dependence on community based care. With such situation, education and training for care givers is one way to ensure access to health care services for the poor. This project aimed to make a difference in the Hawston community by promoting access to health care services though the provision of palliative care training for care givers at Overstrand Care Centre. It used methods of meetings, job shadowing, interviews, research, questioners, e-mails, telephone calls and a workshop to identify the need and ensure a support network for the Centre. The result was palliative training for care givers. The project was coordinated by a law student as part of completing her masters in Social Justice Law at the University of Cape Town. The idea behind this paper is to show that instead of writing dissertations, community based initiatives can stand as part of a final assessment for the completion of an undergraduate law degree. From the perspective of a lecturer some law students have shown that they are incapable of and have no interest in academic writing or writing court submissions choosing and excelling in politics or project management with various organisations. An initiative to make community based projects a form of assessment also breeds a new generation of lawyers sensitive to the needs of the community and have rewarding careers which will be a by-product of the many skills they acquire whilst initiating, managing and finalising a community based project.

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