Since April 2019, all spheres of government and civil society partners within the South African-German Development Cooperation have been working together to co-create a platform for exchanging knowledge, based on their experiences in the field of violence prevention. So far, participants have held two exchanges to share their practices, opportunities and challenges on the job:
Exchange 1: Spatial interventions and intra-governmental partnerships
When: 03rd and 04th April 2019
Where: Cape Town
Who: City of Cape Town's Mayoral Urban Regeneration Programme (MURP), City of Tshwane's Safety Promotion through Urban Upgrading (SPUU-Tshwane) and Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading (VPUU NPC)
Exchange 2: Early interventions
When: 13th and 14th June 2019
Where: Port Elizabeth
Who: Inclusive Violence and Crime Prevention Programme (GIZ-VCP), Helenvale Centre of Hope, Helenvale Youth Enrichment Progamme, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s Safety and Peace through Urban Upgrading programme (SPUU-Helenvale), Nelson Mandela Bay NGO Safer Schools Forum and Partnerships for Prevention of Violence against Women and Girls in Southern Africa (PfP), SPUU-Tshwane and VPUU NPC
At these exchanges, participants have explored challenges, debated solutions and documented good practices. Their goal is to provide insights to those replicating interventions to increase community safety and reduce violence and crime in South Africa.
While the programmes that have participated thus far experience many unique challenges, their shared aim of integrating long-term interventions for effective violence prevention has been a starting point for dialogue about lessons learned. Several key findings have already surfaced through deep discussion at the first two learning exchanges:
- Programmes implemented directly by municipalities and programmes implemented by intermediaries experience different challenges in financial management and community participation.
- Strong community ownership has the potential to mitigate the threat of vandalism to infrastructure interventions.
- Migration patterns within informal settlements populations impact the community participation processes of violence prevention interventions.
- Data collection, capturing, and management for M&E presents unique challenges to data collectors’ safety in communities with high levels of crime.
- Community participation in knowledge management requires deeper interrogation by all role players.
- Teachers and practitioners require support from multiple angles – such as peace education training, solidarity and institutional mechanisms – in order to make an impact on learners’ violence-related beliefs and behaviours.
- In neighbourhoods where violence has compromised local resource hubs, schools – as safe spaces – often double as basic community centres.
- A non-centre-based ECD approach may be the most effective vehicle for universal ECD as a violence prevention mechanism.
- Parents need awareness and training from ECD centres in order to play strong roles in ECD.
These insights need to be taken up by government implementers and partners in order to drive evidence-based practices across the country. This uptake should be led by municipal, provincial and national government decision-makers committed to:
- Allocating resources to overburdened schools;
- Implementing area-based, integrated interventions in neighbourhoods affected by high levels of crime;
- Developing more robust knowledge management mechanisms;
- Facilitating community ownership of violence prevention interventions through meaningful, government-supported community participation; and
- Supporting innovative, sustainable ways to bring ECD to every child.
Where will the learning exchanges go next?
This process of exchange and collaborative work will culminate in a book of case studies, a guide for designing and planning integrated violence prevention interventions, and a high-level political roundtable. All of these final outputs are intended to advocate for the spread of successful approaches and practices of violence prevention interventions.