Older women play predominant role in building social ties and preventing violence through Community Work Programme

August 03, 2016

South Africa’s Community Work Programme (CWP) employs predominantly women. In some sites women, especially women over the age of 35, make up 80% of participants. Focusing on women participants’ involvement in community work and local social networks, this policy brief demonstrates their contribution to building social cohesion and driving crime and violence prevention activities through the CWP. It describes how participation in the CWP is compatible with older and younger women’s priorities in terms of their personal, familial, and community responsibilities. It also provides insights on why greater numbers of women are drawn to the programme than men, and it provides recommendations for fostering women’s contributions to the CWP.

The investigation by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) focused on the CWP, a poverty reduction plan that provides two days of work per week to un- and under-employed South Africans. The study found that in addition to reducing poverty, the CWP contributes to an improved sense of community among participants that helps prevent crime and violence.

Read the policy brief (PDF, 6.28MB).

Explore the IDRC-supported project, “Assessing the impact of state-community collaboration to address urban violence in South Africa.”

Learn more about IDRC’s research support to make cities safer through the Safe and Inclusive Cities partnership with the UK’s Department for International Development.