Ukwanda engages in constructive community interaction. This takes the form of multiple initiatives such as advocacy on important health issues and specific projects that involves rural and underserved communities. The Avian Park Service Learning Centre (APSLC) is the culmination of the aspirations of a number of role-players who wanted to provide the residence of Avian Park with access to basic healthcare. Stakeholders from the local community, the health authorities at provincial and municipal level, Ukwanda, community-based services and clinicians collaborated to conceptualise a model by which research, teaching and other health-related activities have developed.
The APSLC has served as a hub from which the university interacts at the coalface with the community. The relationships with the community and stakeholders have evolved over time. These include collaboration with local clinics and the secondary-level hospital, which refer patients for follow-up at the APSLC.
During previous research done in Avian Park in 2011 a few residents were trained as field workers and they now continue to assist with other research projects in the community. In addition, other initiatives have developed as a result of these research projects and the help of the residents, inter alia: an afterschool life-skills programme for grade 4 – 7 learners; the development of a community vegetable garden; employment and up-skilling of a gardener in collaboration with the local soup kitchen; and a co-ordinated afterschool sport programme. Annually Ukwanda host the Community Partnership Function where students give feedback to community members on all related projects.