The Department of Science and Technology, in support of the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme, has tasked the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement with the responsibility to implement the Innovation Partnership for Rural Development Programme (IPRDP) Science and Technology Journalism programme. The IPRDP is intended to gather knowledge, evidence, and learning for integrating innovative technologies in improving access and quality of public service delivery.
The IPRDP is a two-year programme that will demonstrate innovative technology solutions in district municipalities that form part of the prioritised 26 district municipalities. The programme demonstrates technologies in various sectors ranging from water, sanitation, energy, and ICT. The scope of the IPRDP business plan is not limited to demonstration only but have aspects of skills transfers to municipalities and communities; promotion of science and technology amongst youth; and capacity building on the management of innovative technologies.
Beyond demonstration of innovative technologies, the IPRDP intends to promote interest in science and technology amongst the disadvantaged youth through a Science and Technology Youth Journalism Programme.
In line with the Science Engagement Framework Strategy 1, the IPRD aims to popularise science, technology, and innovation, and thus contribute to improving public understanding and awareness of science and technology. SAASTA aims to be the leading science advancement agency in the country by promoting and communicating the value and impact of science, technology, and innovation in a dynamic knowledge economy. It also intends to contribute significantly towards building a science, engineering, and technology (SET) human resource base.
The Science and Technology Youth Journalist Programme is being implemented within district municipalities where IPRDP technologies are demonstrated. The programme is primarily aimed at young adults between the ages of 18 and 35 years, residing within these communities; specifically unemployed individuals with undergraduate qualifications in science and engineering, communications, and journalism studies. Some of the published work of the interns enrolled in the programme can be found here.