The African Centre for Disaster Studies (ACDS) was established in January 2002 at the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education (now North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus) within the School of Social and Government Studies. The Centre was moved to the Research Focus Area: Sustainable Social Development (currently Social Transformation) within the Faculty of Humanities, in October 2006.
ACDS moved to the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences in 2017 and is housed in the Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management. A sub-programme for Disaster Risk Science was created, incorporating several other disciplines within the Faculty and University to build on interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research on vulnerability, disaster risk and socio-ecological resilience. As the Disaster Risk Science Subprogramme and ACDS, we aims to address the research as well as training and education needs in disaster risk within southern Africa and the wider African continent.
Currently, the educational focus of the DRS Subprogramme and ACDS is on post-graduate level. A number of Masters and PhD students are focussing their research on issues of disaster risk and is enrolled at the NWU through various disciplines (e.g. communication studies, policy studies, political science and public management and administration). Through this multi-disciplinary focus, the we aim to bring home the fact that disaster risk is everyone’s business and disasters are not natural.