This website is a record of activities, insights and resources developed largely between 2007 and 2015, during the initial phase of WPI project work in South Africa. We hope many readers will find valuable insights here.

Our Mission: The Cape Town Project Centre brings students and faculty from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, located in Massachusetts, USA, together with Cape Town area partners to conduct projects that advance mutual learning and sustainable community development in informal settlements and other disadvantaged communities. Our projects involve collaborative research, analysis, strategizing, recommendations and often action to implement a program or construction activity to address issues such as water, sanitation and housing provision, children’s needs, recreation, flood prevention, food security, local entrepreneurship and sustainable livelihoods.

Our Strategy – “Shared Action Learning”: The CTPC is both an educational and a social entrepreneurial undertaking pursued through “Shared Action Learning” (SAL), a way of thinking about and engaging in partnerships for personal growth and sustainable community development. SAL emphasizes: Sharing among partners of ideas, knowledge, resources, inspiration and compassion; Action that supports the creative impulses and strengthening of communities and partners; and Learning drawn from research, action, and critical, reflexive practice. More…

About This Website

We hope the site will be useful to:

WPI Students past, present and future: The core of the centre and this website are the projects that student project teams undertake each year with local partners and faculty advisors. Each team’s Project website documents preparatory background research and planning conducted on campus and the process and outcomes of their two months of project work in Cape Town. The website also contains information about Cape Town, WPI’s projects program, and more.

Project Partners: All of our projects are done in conjunction with one or more local partners, including community “co-researchers,” local non-profit and community-based organizations, government agencies and businesses who invite WPI students and faculty to help advance their local sustainable community initiatives. Partners guide and support WPI in their engagement with local actors, while WPI brings research skills, creative energy, enthusiasm, and its own growing network to advancing project goals, and through this website and other reporting helps others better appreciate the strategies and inspiring contribution our partners are making to South Africa’s ongoing transformation.

Educators at WPI and elsewhere may be interested in the CTPC as a distinctive approach to undergraduate project-based, “experiential” learning, and an ongoing experiment in the potential for such programs to positively affect students, communities, and the role of higher education in society;

Community Development Practitioners interested in multi-sectoral partnerships and projects that combine infrastructural and social development strategies will find reporting, analysis and Resources on themes such as informal settlement upgrading, water and sanitation, early childhood development, sustainable livelihoods and more.

We hope you will enjoy exploring these pages. For information about more recent work, click here.

Blog: Where are They Now?

After an intense term of working closely with communities, the time that WPI students have in Cape Town comes to a close. Often we wonder, what happens next? The close connection that we feel with our partners does not need to come to an end, and they can often surprise us with the incredible progress they make. Our blog is an opportunity to see where our projects are now, and to share in the ups and downs that continue long after the students leave. More…