Voluntary Community Service
The GC Programme believes that doing voluntary service work is an important component of being a citizen because you are using your skills and knowledge to benefit the wider society, while also building relationships and learning to engage with people from different socio-economic, linguistic, and cultural backgrounds. Engaging locally and understanding the challenges facing our immediate environment is important; learning about them in the classroom, while useful, cannot replace seeing these issues first-hand.
Voluntary Community Service (GC3) is a one-year course that offers an informal and reflective learning space to engage with these issues. It will enable you to do in-depth service work while reflecting on this work within the context of an intimate classroom setting. Through discussion and reflection, we hope to help you transform your service work into a site of learning, one that enables you to recognise the importance of building mutually beneficial relationships and holding a critical stance towards present-day social inequalities.
Over the course of one academic year, you are expected to:
- Complete a minimum of 50 hours of self-organised community service
- Attend two 2-hour workshops
- Attend two 45-minute reflection sessions
- Complete four blog posts (of 300-500 words each)
- Complete one final reflection essay (of 1,000-1,500 words)
How does it work?
You need to complete 50 hours of self-organised community service during the year you are registered for this course. We will provide you with a log-sheet with which to record these hours. You do not have to complete all 50 hours with one organisation. However, we encourage you to commit to doing service for a reasonable period of time with one organisation. The GC Programme does not facilitate the volunteering - you are personally responsible for locating an appropriate organisation, arranging your own transport, and sorting out other logistical issues.
You will need to sign up and register your intended service with the GC Programme. Once you have completed your 50 hours of service work as well as the classroom sessions and reflective writing assignments, you will receive GC3 on your UCT transcript. You can submit your log-sheet with your service hours plus your final reflective essay at the end of the year.
What kinds of organisations fit the bill?
While we appreciate that there are many organisations on campus doing really good work, one of the issues central to the GC programme is confronting and dealing with the gross inequalities facing South African society. Because we believe that direct voluntary community service can provide an opportunity to confront inequality and through this, to work towards social justice, we require that the bulk of the volunteering involves you in face-to-face service relationships with organisations that work with marginalised, under-resourced groups – on or off campus.
Organisations which might fit the bill include:
- Registered NGOs
- Student service organisations
- Faith-based organisations
- Community-based organisations
- Activist/advocacy groups
Please note the following:
- While we do understand that much preparation and travel time goes into these activities, we do not count this time towards the 50 service hours.
- Some students’ service work might involve leadership and administration roles in building and supporting student organisations. Because this is essential work to the functioning of the organisations, we will recognise a portion of this time as part of the 50 hours of service. Please discuss this with the course coordinators.
Note: GC3 is FREE to all UCT students. It is not credit-bearing, but if you fully complete the course it will appear on your transcript as a short course.