Instrumental Access 2019:
University of Eswatini
Department of Chemistry
In Eswatini, expanding local opportunities in research and access to hands-on chemistry education
Meet our Awardee
The University of Eswatini (UNESWA) is the national university of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) and one of only three universities in the kingdom of Eswatini.
The UNESWA Chemistry Department is Eswatini’s only training program for industrial and research chemists; the other existing programs train chemistry teachers only.
Currently, the Department offers a BSc degree, a MSc degree in Chemistry and a MSc in Environmental Resources Management specializing in Environmental Chemistry and Management.
The broad research areas of the department include: carbohydrate chemistry and phytochemical screening of medicinal plants, renewable energy and the environment, water analysis and treatment, environmental resource management, nutrient analysis of food products, inorganic complexes research and their applications in health, in the catalysis and petroleum industries.
"The availability of equipment will be great motivation for me to put more effort in my teaching and research, as there will be minimum barriers as far as equipment is concerned."
Monitoring Eswatini's Drinking Water: Dr. Thabile Ndlovu
There are few things more essential to health and quality of life than safe drinking water.
In Eswatini, however, water is scarce. This is especially true in rural areas of the country, where there is minimal water infrastructure.
Most people have no other option than to drink directly from rivers and springs, clean or not. There’s no way to be sure, because the water supply isn’t monitored.
This situation also means that, even when water-quality problems are identified, nobody is sure how best to respond. There are no baseline data to inform rational decision-making.
Thabile Ndlovu, PhD, senior lecturer and head of the Chemistry Department at the University of Eswatini, is working to change that.
With support from her department, she has launched a water quality monitoring project that she hopes will become national in scale.
"This study will help us understand the quality of drinking water, especially the water used in rural areas," says Dr. Ndlovu. "I am hoping that after understanding the quality of drinking water in the different regions of the country, we can start research on possible materials that can be used to clean the water or improve the quality."
Dr. Ndlovu is slowly deploying undergraduate students to different regions of the country to collect and analyze water samples, but progress has been slow. Equipment from Instrumental Access will help to boost these efforts.
It will also advance Dr. Ndlovu’s other research goal: natural products chemistry and investigation of medicinal plants. The University of Eswatini has a research institute devoted to traditional medicine, but its work has also been hampered by lack of instrumentation.
With an infusion of equipment from Instrumental Access, Dr. Ndlovu hopes to establish new collaborations between this institute and the Department of Chemistry.
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About Instrumental Access
To begin, we identify a pipeline of scientific talent. Then we rigorously screen universities and select those with the most potential to advance education and research through Instrumental Access.