May 2017

PMA Goes International

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Contributor: Rory Liedeman

 

March 2017 was an extraordinary month for SLF’s Participatory Monitoring and Accountability (PMA) research team, for two main reasons. Firstly, from 5 March to 10 March, Farida Ryklief, Soeraya Davids, Sinazo Peters, Joanna Wheeler and Rory Liedeman attended a week-long participatory workshop, as part of a larger South African delegation travelling to Italy. The gathering was hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation at the Bellagio Centre and brought together various stakeholders (including academics, government/decision-making officials, researchers, citizen and community-based organisations) from around the world to participate in an exclusive global event that aimed to explore the theme of how to build inclusive and resilient cities. It provided our group with an important opportunity to share the PMA experiences, methods, achievements and future plans with people beyond our South African borders, while allowing for a number of new connections and friendships to be made in the process. Included in the South African delegation were Mr Jonathan Tim (Chief Director at the Department of Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation) and Professor Laurence Piper (University of Western Cape – Political Studies).

 

Creating Inclusive and Resilient Cities participant group, at the Rockefeller Foundation Centre, Bellagio.

 

After returning from Italy, the team dove straight into hosting an international workshop of their own (13 to 17 March). This was the first of two planned International Collective Workshops to be held by partner organisations, as part of the new British Academy work recently awarded. SLF represents the South African partner and the new funding allows for the important PMA work that the Delft Safety Group (DSG) helped to achieve in 2016, to continue for another year. The workshop brought together partner organisations from South Africa, Egypt, Ghana, India, Uganda and the UK, all working on citizen-led accountability. The process was also supported and co-coordinated with the help of the Participate initiative at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex (UK). The meeting provided an important opportunity for all project partners to participate in both the learning of a new participatory research method, but also in an important project peer review and learning process. The workshop aimed to unpack and discuss key issues such as ‘the role of public communication in community safety’ and culminated in a roundtable dialogue discussion that brought together members from partner countries, duty bearers such as members of the South Africa government/local councillors/key decision makers, academics and other civil society stakeholders, each of whom have committed to fostering on-going dialogue between highly marginalised groups such as the Delft Safety Group. The timing of the Cape Town workshop was ideal, as it coincided with a period in South Africa when key actions were being taken to implement laws, in accordance with the vision and objectives of the new White Paper on Safety and Security.

 

Our international guests learn about the SLF PMA power analysis process from the Delft Safety Group.

Developing Effective School Dropout Interventions

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Contributor: Andrew Hartnack

 

Since late 2016, SLF has been part of an exciting and important pilot project, funded by the DG Murray Trust, to examine which kinds of approaches aimed at reducing the drop out of at-risk teenagers from school can be most effective. SLF has a grant from the DGMT to play the role of a knowledge partner to nine organisations working at schools and with teenagers around the country. The work, led by Dr Andrew Hartnack, involves understanding what model of intervention each organisation is developing and what the potential impacts of such models can be over the course of the 18-month pilot and beyond.

 

Of the nine interventions, six are based around the Western Cape, with one each in East London, Pietermaritzburg, and Tzaneen. Some projects focus on academic support to struggling learners, others focus more on psycho-social support, while a number offer both forms of support. One project focuses specifically on after-school programmes, while another tries to improve the school’s support of struggling learners through the strategic analysis of data on school performance.

 

 

In February and March Hartnack visited all the projects to observe their activities and learn about the contexts in which each is operating. He interviewed many school principals and teachers, as well as project staff and young people involved with the interventions. Besides gathering information on each intervention, SLF’s role as a knowledge partner involves helping each organisation to reflect critically on their intervention, and incorporate lessons emerging during the pilot into their practice. Lessons and insights from all nine projects are also passed between the organisations to foster the best possible approach, as well as a ‘community of practice’ as an outcome of the pilot phase of the project.

 

Hartnack will be visiting all nine projects again in May/June, as well as towards the end of the year to learn much more about their exciting and crucial work.

Eveline Street Exhibition Series

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Contributor: Andrew Charman

 

The SLF ULMEG Project (Unlocking Land for Micro-Enterprise Growth) seeks to investigate and engage with policy makers on land related constraints which hinder the development and growth of micro-enterprises in the township context. One aspect of this project has been to examine the potential of redeveloping high streets to enable enterprise regulation and formalisation, particularly for those enterprises that confront onerous regulatory requirements. To learn about the outcomes from different high street redevelopment approaches, the project undertook a study of Eveline Street in Windhoek, Namibia, where the City of Windhoek initiated a scheme to rezone township high streets, a measure which benefited the many leisure related businesses operating along Eveline Street. The research provides a retrospective insight into the spatial, social and economic transformations which occurred subsequent to the rezoning initiative.

 

The findings from the Eveline Street study were presented in a series of exhibition events under the title: Transformative Leisure Economies. The events took place in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Windhoek. Over 200 people attended the three events, including political leaders, policy advisors, government officials, academics and business leadership. The feedback was extremely encouraging, with stakeholders referring to the research as ‘game changing’ and deserving of ‘serious engagement by city politicians and offices’.  A technical report detailing the main research findings is available on the SLF website. We are currently re-analysing the Eveline Street case material to explain how high street redevelopment can contribute towards Transit Oriented Development outcomes, an emerging outcome in South African metros. This component of the research is been supported by the South African Cities Network.

 

 

The next phase of UMLEG will examine land related constraints in the case of Ivory Park, one of the FIME sites situated in Johannesburg.

Competition Commission Research on the Road

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Contributor: Andrew Charman (on behalf of Leif Petersen)

 

As announced at the end of last year, SLF has been contracted by the Competition Commission to undertake research across all nine provinces on competitiveness within the spaza sector. The study aims to interview 1800 business owners and operators, using (where possible) a modified version of SLF’s small area census approach methodology.

 

As of the beginning of 2017, the field research team has been on the road, surveying urban, peri—urban and rural sites across all nine provinces in South Africa (as of the beginning of May, only KwaZulu Natal and the Eastern Cape sites remained to be surveyed). Some of the research has taken place in previous FIME sites, providing an opportunity to compare the study results with the data collected during the FIME process from 2010 – 2013. One aspect of the research aims to understand value chains in the spaza sector, identifying the different business models, distribution systems, and studying linkages between shops on wholesalers. Another component of the research will examine product integrity, seeking to identify and gain a measure of the role of grey market, illegal and contraband products within the sector (already, very interesting results have been found in this regard). In the course of the research, the team has systematically photographed the research process and taken photographs of interesting business dynamics and products. A selection of these images have been displayed on the SLF Facebook site. For more information on the project, contact Leif Petersen.

 

Community Careworkers Organise Stakeholder Engagement Event

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Contributor: Miriam Waltz

 

“We clock in and out under a tree whether it rains or is hot… we are like goats or dogs,” says Nozuko Fos, a Community Care Worker (CCW) in Nyanga. She adds: “They are playing games with us,” referring to the Department of Health, with whom the CCWs have repeatedly tried to address their working conditions. CCWs do important work by delivering primary health care to communities, but they are systematically underpaid and receive inadequate support from the Department of Health and the NGOs that they work for.

 

Citizen action and government responsiveness were the focus of the Making All Voices Count initiative, a global partnership to research and promote accountability that SLF has been involved in from September 2015 until May 2017. SLF’s engagement in the initiative included four thematic streams. The health case study started in October 2016 and included a CollectiveVoice process (a combination of photovoice and collective filmmaking) with a group of CCWs from Nyanga.

 

The group of CCWs organised a stakeholder engagement event at the Endlovini community hall in New Crossroads on 4 April 2017 and invited care workers and other allies from a number of organisations. As Nozuko puts it: “The first thing to do is to show people who don’t know we work under these conditions and to expose the NGOs.” About fifty people from community and various organisations came together to watch a screening of the movies the CCWs made. This was a very moving gathering that led to mutual support and a call for action to create further awareness of the conditions in which CCWs work. Many of the attendees who worked in primary health care shared their own experiences and the afternoon was filled with tears and songs.

 

For the CCWs involved in the filmmaking, this was encouragement to continue their activities. They have worked to articulate a clear message supported by the short films, which they will use to take their campaign forward and hold government accountable. As they put it: “We are proud, but we are tired. We are the superheroes, because we assist those who cannot assist themselves.” And they want to be recognised as such.