THE National University of Science and Technology (Nust) on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Zimbabwe Homeless Peoples Federation and Dialogue on Shelter for the Homeless in Zimbabwe Trust (DOS), in an agreement which seeks to bridge urban planning needs and capacities within Bulawayo.
The MoU seeks to regularise land tenure or voluntary resettlement and facilitating the upgrading of housing and livelihoods, while it creates opportunities for curriculum advancement of urban planning and design studies.
Nust will, through the faculty of Built Environment, be responsible for developing and presenting planning proposals, research, design and training personnel to work on relevant programmes for target communities.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Nust vice-chancellor Professor Lindela Ndlovu said the arrangement would further the university’s mission to contribute positively towards advancement of the community.
“As a result, we challenge the perception that Nust is just a university in Bulawayo rather than one of Bulawayo, which serves the city,” he said.
“This programme also opens up other avenues of teaching, where we can fuse theory and practice and we want to congratulate these organisations for choosing to partner with us and, therefore, helping us to become more relevant to society.”
Faculty of Built Environment dean Virginia Madiro underscored the relevance of the agreement, saying the media had reported on slum dwellings around the city, like in Killarney and Ngozi Mine, but no academic action had been taken.
“We will not just sign this agreement and shelve it, but actively work towards a realisation of the set goals which we will evaluate as time goes on,” she said.
DOS executive director Beth Chitekwe–Biti explained that her organisation did not only work with people living in slums, but with anyone who had no secure tenure including people who do not own houses like tenants.