The current director of the Centre, Prof Dewald van Niekerk, established the African Centre for Disaster Studies (ACDS) in January 2002 at the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education (now North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus – see http://www.nwu.ac.za) within the School of Social and Government Studies. The Centre was moved to the Research Focus Area: Sustainable Social Development (now called Social Transformation) within the Faculty of Humanities, in October 2006.
The ACDS aims to address the research as well as training and education needs in disaster risk within southern Africa and the wider African continent.
Since 2002 the Centre has embarked on various research, training and consultancy projects at local, provincial, national as well as international level. The process lead to the development of a considerable network of professionals in the multi-disciplinary field of disaster risk reduction.
Currently, the educational focus of the 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 ACDS aims to bring home the fact that disaster risk is everyone’s business.