State-Community Collaboration for Safe Communities - Urban Violence Prevention through Public Employment Programs

With one of the highest homicide rates in the world, and high rates of other forms of violence, South Africa is struggling to reduce crime and violence, particularly in its cities. This high level of violence in urban centres undermines economic growth and opportunities for human development. One promising avenue for addressing high rates of both public and private violence is through public sector employment programs, which address both immediate and root causes of urban violence. In earlier IDRC-supported research, South Africa's Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) identified the pathways through which one such program - the Community Work Program (CWP) - helps reduce poverty and violence. These pathways include providing a basic income for families to reduce stress and incentives for crime, engaging directly with perpetrators, building a sense of, and commitment to, community, strengthening community resilience, and supporting the community's capacity to work together to prevent violence. Building on these results, CSVR will develop and pilot violence prevention policies that draw on new research and are implemented in collaboration with policymakers and practitioners. The project seeks to develop evidence-based programming that can be scaled up across the more than 185 CWP sites across South Africa. In addition, researchers will identify lessons that can be shared internationally. The project will test and evaluate how civil society and the state can work together to reduce and prevent urban violence.

Project ID


Project status


End Date

Tuesday, December 3, 2019


36 months

IDRC Officer

Martha Mutisi

Total funding

CA$ 716,300


South of Sahara

Project Leader

Themba Masuku


Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation

Institution Country

South Africa

Institution Website