This special feature provides access to a number of publications that have been produced as part of a Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation research project on the Community Work Programme (CWP) and its impact on violence and crime prevention.

CWP is a public employment programme intended as a safety net that provides a basic stable income to people who are unemployed or underemployed.

CSVR’s interest in CWP and its potential to prevent violence was motivated by research carried out in 2009 and 2010. This research, part of a study on collective violence conducted by CSVR and the Society, Work and Development Institute (SWOP) at the University of the Witwatersrand, indicated that CWP in Bokfontein in North West Province promoted community resilience against violence.

At that point CWP was still in a pilot phase. Since then CWP has been formally established as a government programme located in the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA). During the 2014-2015 financial year over 202 000 people were involved in the CWP and there are now more than 180 sites at which CWP has been established.

From 2013 to 2015 CSVR conducted research at six CWP sites in Gauteng, the Western Cape and North West. This research was funded by the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the British Department for International Development (DFID) and forms part of the Safe and Inclusive Cities (SAIC) research programme.

The research findings, which were presented at a national policy workshop (co-hosted by COGTA and GIZ), demonstrate the extensive and multi-level contribution that CWP is already making to violence prevention. CWP contributes by addressing underlying causes of violence (through providing income and employment opportunities), addressing immediate causes of violence (through patrols and safety campaigns) and building social cohesion and community capacity to act collectively.

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