Highlights of ongoing projects initiated by staff of the Population and Health RFA. 


The Young Motherhood project in North West

A study on “young motherhood” was launched in 2013, which focused on the important issue of teenage pregnancies.  This has been identified as a social problem in many countries. In order to understand this phenomenon in North West better, four RFA members formed a team in 2013 to study sex, contraceptive use, pregnancy and motherhood before marriage.  This was a qualitative study that collected data using both in-depth interviews (with 49 interviewees) and focus-group discussions (with 30 participants) in all four district municipalities in North West. Data was collected towards the end of 2013 and the transcripts were processed and analysed in 2014.

Correlates of Knowledge of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Attitudes and Beliefs among North-West University Students

Three postdoctoral fellows attached to the RFA initiated this research project in 2013.  The project aimed to ascertain the student perceptions of HIV/AIDS prevention at the Mahikeng and Potchefstroom campuses of the North-West University. The project included an evaluation of the HIV/AIDS programmes that had been initiated by the university since 2002. In 2013 data was collected from the Mahikeng Campus, while data was collected from the Potchefstroom Campus in 2014. Plans are underway to conduct a similar study on the Vanderbijlpark Campus in the near future.

The Role of Spirituality and Religion in Positive Youth Behavioural Outcomes in Contemporary Society

This project began in 2014/2015 and is ongoing.  The aim of the study was to examine the effect of spirituality and religion in the lives of contemporary youth in South Africa, using a sample of undergraduate students from the three campuses of the North-West University in the North West and Gauteng provinces of South Africa.  The study has since been expanded to include the University of Ghana in West Africa. This is a quantitative study that exposes students to a battery of questions in such diverse areas of youth development as academic performance, self-esteem/self-worth, political participation, moral development, civic engagement and leadership.  The data for the study is collected via face-to-face interviews with a random sample of students on the three campuses of the North-West University. 

Partnerships or collaboration

The RFA: Population and Health continued working with existing international collaborations and established new ones. International collaborations include links with the University of Botswana, the University of Nairobi in Kenya, University of Ibadan in Nigeria, the University of Ghana, University of Malawi, University of Southampton and Oxford University in the United Kingdom, Makerere University in Uganda and three USA universities, namely Brigham Young University, University of Missouri, Columbia and the University of California, Los Angeles. Prof Amoateng spent three weeks as a visiting scientist at the University of Missouri, Columbia, USA, whereas Prof Idemudia spent some time in Germany doing research.