Youth Inclusion for Violence Prevention 

The Youth Inclusion for Violence Prevention Project, a collaboration between CSVR and the Centre for Human Rights and Policy Studies (CHRIPS), investigates the role of public-sector employment and livelihood support programmes in promoting socio-economic inclusion of youth and preventing violence. It will provide an empirical analysis of the impact and potential of such programmes in South Africa and Kenya to document innovations in how such programmes engage youth and impact on violence prevention. These initiatives will be assessed in terms of the lessons they provide for upscaling and replication in the region and for strengthening regional policy addressing youth inclusion and violence prevention.

The project builds on CSVR’s previous work that documented how the South African government’s Community Work Programme (CWP) prevents violence through building social and civic cohesion that strengthens communities and helps them address the causes and consequences of violence. We now seek to explore whether lessons from this research can be applied to addressing youth exclusion and marginalisation through the development of more effective strategies of socio-economic inclusion. The project also partners with CHRIPPS to conduct similar research in Kenya and explore the applicability of policy insights for violence prevention in the region.

The CWP and other public employment programmes have often struggled to recruit youth and offer them effective avenues for meaningful employment and becoming valued members of their communities. The project will assess the feasibility of socio-economic and livelihood initiatives such as the CWP (especially when they are intentionally designed to also pay attention to social, psychological and political needs of young people), for preventing, mitigate and address the threats of violence, and ultimately contributing towards building safer and more resilient communities.

Through scaling up findings from this and other studies, and assessing their applicability in other settings in Southern and East Africa, the project seeks to share insights and lessons on public employment programs and their impact on urban security, with the anticipation that these lessons can be replicated in other part of South Africa as well other African countries. 

Previous research by CSVR concluded that the CWP programme has been successful in providing a safety net for those facing unemployment by making available a part-time working scheme, which is accompanied by inclusion of CWP participants in social and civic networks and participation in local decision-making processes. The study also found that the focus on building participants’ soft skills in areas such as conflict management, communication, leadership, parenting, self-care and effective responses to gender-based violence and substance abuse, were important elements of rebuilding community efficacy and social capital. This project will examine the potential impact of more targeted youth livelihoods and socio-economic programmes on violence prevention and mitigation, especially if these programmes incorporate elements of building social skills and networks.

The project will pursue this through empirical research and policy advocacy:

  • 1)CHRIPS and CSVR will systematically assess the impact of socio-economic and livelihood support programmes in Kenya and South Africa respectively on promoting social inclusion of youth and preventing violence, as well as in sharing resulting policy lessons with national and regional stakeholders.
  • 2)CSVR will conduct regional comparative research on interventions with youth that address issues of socio-economic exclusion and violence prevention in East and Southern Africa, assess existing regional policy frameworks and share policy lessons with key regional stakeholders.

The project is funded through the generous support of the International Development Research Centre and runs from 2019 to 2021.

Project staff include: [insert link to each staff profile below]



  • Mutuma Ruteere, Director
  • Patrick Mutahi, Senior Researcher
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